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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Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr, Nick Nurse, Fred Van Vleet
Jan 4, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Why Nick Nurse should not be the Milwaukee Bucks next head coach: Hiring Nick Nurse invites trouble that the Bucks do not need

On the surface Nick Nurse looks like a worthy candidate; he’s won a championship, he makes adjustments, and he coaches defense. However, there are far more concerning reasons to not hire him that more than cancel out any redeeming qualities.

One glaring problem is that players don’t have the benefit of their coach coming to them to tell them what to improve. Yahoo! Sports’ writer Amit Mann transcribed Gary Trent Jr.’s conference, capturing some troubling quotes.

Gary Trent Jr.’s comments after the season scream to me “Milwaukee, do not hire this man”. Following their loss to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, Gary Trent Jr. was asked how he felt about how comments are received when they’re said to the media and not to the players, Trent said: “That’s the thing. Usually, at the time, or most of the time, it’s not-I don’t hear it till you hear it. So, I didn’t-I wouldn’t know that it was an issue or a problem until you put it out there.”

The fact that players found out they had work to do by their coach saying things to the media and not addressing potential improvements with the players themselves is an absolutely massive red flag for a potential head coach candidate.

In addition to Trent Jr.’s comments, he also mentioned that more players had issues with Nurse privately.

Looking on the court, Nurse likes to use his starters heavily, which harkens back to not developing young players because they’d be even less likely to see playing time if Nick Nurse were to be hired. Also, then comes the concern of injury. Under Budenholzer, the Bucks were usually over-cautious and gave players rest when things like inflammation, soreness, or bruising were concerns.

Playing your starters more minutes in the regular season could win those players some regular season awards, but let’s be honest, as Bucks fans we would trade regular season awards for championships in a heartbeat. There is a concern that overworking in a long NBA season could result in burning out in the playoffs, something Nurse’s teams have done since his championship team in 2019.

Also, during the 2022-23 season, in which the Toronto Raptors had Pascal Siakam, Fred Van Vleet, OG Anunoby, the NBA steals leader, and the reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, the Raptors never won more than four consecutive games.

Not to mention that in the five years previous to Nurse being hired as the Raptors head coach, he was an assistant under Dwane Casey, who Toronto fired, and has now left the Detroit Pistons head coaching job vacant after little improvement over the past half-decade.

Yes, there are some reasons that Nick Nurse would make a good head coach, but he is not the man for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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When the Milwaukee Bucks begin their head coach search, stay tuned with Behind the Buck Pass for an analysis of the candidates.