Why Nick Nurse should not be the next Milwaukee Bucks head coach

Feb 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nick Nurse
Mar 4, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Why Nick Nurse should not be the Milwaukee Bucks next head coach: Scathing indictment by Masai Ujiri

Researching why Nick Nurse was let go by the Toronto Raptors turned up some not only discouraging reasons to not hire him to replace Mike Budenholzer but also some reasons that are just plain troubling. The Toronto Sun gave a lot of Raptors team president Masai Ujiri’s quotes and what the subtext of those quotes meant in the minds of Toronto media personnel.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri gave several quotes that were scathing indictments of the way the Toronto Raptors performed this year, and while he tried to sugarcoat them a bit in the interest of professionalism, the quotes ring just as loud and read just as concerning.

“To watch us play this year was not us. I did not enjoy watching this team play. I think that spoke loud and clear to everything that went on this year.” Those few sentences alone could be enough to scare some off of hiring Nick Nurse. That’s not all Ujiri had to say, however. Ujiri also said, “We’ve got to build spirit back here, the culture, we need that back.”

If there’s one thing that Mike Budenholzer brought to Milwaukee back in 2018, it was a winning culture. Many players have said that the Bucks have built a winning culture, even most recently Jae Crowder, who, despite being frustrated about not knowing his role when joining the Bucks, would still consider re-signing in Milwaukee because of the culture. For Nick Nurse to be dismissed from Toronto and not having a strong culture is an unsettling prospect were Nurse to be hired by the Bucks.

Despite his lack of development of younger players, team president Masai Ujiri did say that he observed that some players got better individually but didn’t improve as a team. “We saw players would rise, but never collectively.”

There were reports from Raptors management that Nick Nurse had a tense relationship with at least one of his assistant coaches, prompting that assistant to not accompany the team on a road trip in January. Mike Budenholzer’s relationship with his assistants has resulted in two getting head coaching jobs (Taylor Jenkins and Darvin Ham), with a third likely to find a head coaching job soon (Charles Lee).