Nick Nurse's time as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers has officially begun. The former Toronto Raptors head coach has been brought in by the Sixers with the hopes that he can elevate the Joel Embiid-led team into champions.
Nurse has earned a reputation as an innovative coach and someone who isn't afraid to call players out when they need to step up. He led the Raptors to the 2019 championship and has been touted for his innovation on both sides of the floor. After firing Doc Rivers, the Sixers conducted a coaching search full of other veterans and champions. Rumored for a while to be the favorite to land the job, Nurse ended up making Philly his next stop in a long coaching career.
“I’m honored to be named head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a storied franchise in a tradition-rich city,” Nurse said in the Sixers' press release. “Thank you to Josh Harris, David Blitzer and the ownership group for this incredible opportunity. It’s been a fun challenge coaching against this group over the last five years. Now, I look forward to coaching the Sixers and doing my part to deliver for this tremendous fanbase.”
Nurse and the Sixers have a bit of history. He had a verbal dust-up with Embiid during the 2022 playoffs after Nurse complained about how the big man got so many calls. This past December, Embiid said that Nurse's Raptors cared more about slowing down stars than winning games. The Raptors and Sixers have faced each other twice in the playoffs, with the most notable series being in 2019 when Kawhi Leonard's four-bounce buzzer-beater from Game 7 vanquished Philly.
All those previous run-ins are water under the bridge now. Nick Nurse will look to build stronger schemes around Embiid and work with Daryl Morey to improve the Sixers.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Nick Nurse as the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers,” Morey said in the release. “His championship pedigree and diversity of experience mixed with his uniquely creative approach made him our top priority. We are confident that his leadership and expertise will help us unlock the full potential of our talented roster and bring an exciting new era of championship basketball to Philadelphia.”
Morey and Nurse worked together with the Houston Rockets. While Morey put the pieces in place to turn Houston into a beacon of offensive efficiency, Nurse toyed around with his ideas and schemes with the G League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, winning the league championship in 2013. Their experience together was a big factor in their reunion in Philly.
Sixers owner Josh Harris said that Nurse is the right man for the job, which is to win a title.
“Nick has solidified himself as one of the NBA’s best coaches and I’m excited to welcome him to Philadelphia,” Harris said in the release. “Throughout his career, he has won at multiple levels, including on the biggest stage when he led Toronto to the 2019 NBA title. He is a smart, innovative and determined coach who really stood out in this process. No matter the hurdles we’ve faced, our goal remains to bring a championship to Philadelphia and Nick is the right coach to lead us forward.”
Nick Nurse will be formally introduced at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, NJ.