Nick Nurse’s refusal to adjust on defense isn’t very promising
Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors went from one of the more promising surprises in the 2021-22 season to a completely disorganized mess that was one sensational Fred VanVleet performance away from losing seven consecutive games. A tough defeat against the Utah Jazz handed Toronto their sixth loss in seven contests following a 6-3 start.
This roster was constructed with the idea of being nearly impregnable defensively due to all of the youth, length, and switchability. Not only has the defense looked lackluster over the last three games, but they’ve struggled when it comes to defending the perimeter and preventing 3-point shots.
While this team is playing without OG Anunoby due to a hip injury, Toronto still had issues defending against the Pistons and Trail Blazers. Rather than hinting his team will make adjustments to counteract the way teams have been exploiting them in the last few games, Nurse appears ready to stick with his same old scheme.
Nurse was quoted after the Utah loss as saying that this team needs to “stick to what we do” with an emphasis on protecting the paint. Considering how this team is surrendering nearly 17 3-pointers per contest over the last three games, Nurse needs to figure out what went wrong with their perimeter defense.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse needs to change his defense up.
The Raptors are allowing teams to shoot 43% from 3-point range in the last three games. The Jazz has the lowest 3-point percentage of any Raptors opponent in the last week, and they still managed to hit 19 triples and dominate Toronto in the second half.
The lowly Pistons got hot against Toronto, as did a Portland team that featured one of the best backcourt tandems in the game.
The Raptors have tried to be as aggressive as possible, switching nearly everything to cause chaos and turnovers. Sometimes, that overaggression can lead to open shots on the perimeter. Perhaps this is where Nurse should focus his energy.
This unit is not going to be this bad all season long, but it’s rarely a good look for a team that was billed as a defensive juggernaut to be performing like this in some winnable games. Rather than banging his head against a wall and sticking with his old tactics, Nurse needs to switch things up as soon as possible.
Nick Nurse has been rightfully praised in the past for his ability to make adjustments on the fly. Stubbornness is not going to get him anywhere, especially without Anunoby on the floor to cover up some individual mistakes.