lebron stopper wrote:Ibaka and Powell are two players Nurse successfully reclaimed after Doofus Casey's horrible coaching chops left them for dead.
Ibaka was forced into playing stretch 4 under Casey. This took him out of the interior where he was at his best (ie. rim protection + better rebounding position + unusually great mid-range), and put him on the perimeter full-time, making him a very streaky and often unreliable "shooter" and poor perimeter defender who couldn't really contribute anything else if his shot wasn't falling. By the time Casey was fired, Ibaka's contract was seen as extremely toxic and he was viewed negatively by the majority of the fanbase. Under Nurse, a lot of his weaknesses as a perimeter player are no longer on display, he's able to contribute something every night, and he's a huge fan favourite among Raptors fans.
Powell is another case of Casey misuse. Doofus loved overplaying washed up veterans like Carroll over Powell, who usually got 25 min in one game and played well, and then received DNPs over the next three. Casey's mishandling of Powell was particularly egregious in his third season: Casey wanted a 3-and-D player at SF, so instead of starting Anunoby who was already showing out in preseason, he went with the ball-dominant undersized SG who could barely shoot at the time. Then after Powell waiting in the corner for kickout passes all game predictably failed in spectacular fashion to start the season, he got glued to the bench and was given scrap garbage time minutes for the rest of the season. Nurse, on the other hand, has not only given Powell lots of minutes consistently and let him play his natural game, but he's deployed him in many ways on-ball and off-ball: driving, cutting, running off screens, even occasionally playing point. Under Nurse, Powell plays with way more confidence than he ever did under Casey, and it shows whenever he plays nowadays.
Look at JV in Memphis. He is actively involved in initiating, screens he set are different from whose in Toronto. I can write ~50 pages what a moron and imbecile Casey was. But that's history. Piston's head coach job is the last he will have in the NBA. Still, pretty sad that he derailed JV's development (and many others, Ross comes to mind). In Memphis JV looks happier, he has purpose - to guide young, talented teammates. JV plays with flair, unstoppable in the paint on offense, hits long shots and mid-range shot from any place om the floor. Defense? Sure PnR or PnP still a HUGE problem for him, but not for his teammates. They help JV fighting through screens and attacking the passing lines. While JV collects rebounds and takes care of elite NBA bigs one on one.
Still, my hat goes to nick Nurse. He inherited team, but with DD trade and JV's trade raptors became his team. This season we see results. Raptors defense isnasty, good specialist in all positions, and offense - Raptors have plenty of elite fire power in that department too.
Good job Nurse, it's sad, that Casey was kept too long.