Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses the status of a few injured players, the battle for rotation minutes and O.G.'s evolving offensive skills.
- Totally completely off topic, but when you do so much motion before some of your sets, is any of that a little bit of-- I remember you used to talk to press and follow a little bit of CFL with your strategy. Like, is that just--
NICK NURSE: Yeah.
- --completely irrelevant, or?
NICK NURSE: No, it's not irrelevant. That's where we kind of got the idea, was going early one day to a Argos game one of the few hours early. And we're watching them do their plays and stuff before the game, and that kind of where we got it. And that's-- yeah, we do it. We do it. Well, on out of bounds and dead ball things as you can start moving before. You can move whenever you want to. Yep.
- Anything up on Delano?
NICK NURSE: He's-- didn't practice. He's out. Or not as bad as we thought, as I kind of was given the impression after the game the other night. I don't think he's walking, right? There's no damages, right, it's a sprained ankle. It shouldn't be too long, but he's out for tomorrow.
- Kind of puts the focus on to Malachi a little bit to filling that void, perhaps.
NICK NURSE: Yes.
- How do you see his game, how's it been lately, you think?
NICK NURSE: Been pretty good, right? I think he's been pretty confident and aggressive and made some plays. He's ready to go. I know he's itching to get more minutes and play. He's ready to go. Also like what we see in Jeff. So I would imagine. I mean, it looks as of now, we're heading down there with 9 or 10 guys. So I would imagine everybody's got to play tomorrow.
- Does Pascal have a doctor's appointment schedule?
NICK NURSE: He's resumed on court activities, and probably maybe another update in a week or something like that. A little less than that.
- Did they ever tell you what grade that strain was? Because, I mean--
NICK NURSE: Two.
- It was a two?
NICK NURSE: I believe so, yes.
- When you-- you were talking about Juancho the other day. But I mean, as you've seen him more, has he looked like someone who could last in your rotation as soon as he gets back to full health?
NICK NURSE: I mean, I think that he's capable of being a rotational player, right? As is [INAUDIBLE], as is Dalano. As is-- I mean, there's a lot of them. It's just a matter of-- so they are capable of lasting.
But when you get-- I hope to god this becomes a problem again, that when you get everybody back, you can't play everybody. You just can't. I mean, that's just the bottom line, so. But yeah, I like a lot what Juancho's done a lot. So it's good that those guys are stepping up. I mean, that's kind of the point of being a little deeper. Yep.
- When you look at a guy like OG who's we talked about your bench, that sort of anticipatory defenses is key. Do teammates feed off that as well, or do they have to cover up for him, or how do-- how does it work on the back side of him being-- guessing like that?
NICK NURSE: Well, I would say there is some gambling involved there, right? And there's not always coming up with stuff. So that leads to the next situation. So there's some of that. And I think, again, I think there would be a mindset of hey, let's not gamble so much, if that's what you believe. We kind of believe in, hey, let's gamble more, but let's be ready. Just because we gamble and miss doesn't mean we've got to break down. We got to recover and try to get back solid.
- When you do it consistently enough with the guys on the backside can recover quickly. They sort of know what they're doing now, or?
NICK NURSE: Well, listen. I think that we would say that the premise of our defense is to always make up for a mistake. There's mistakes going on, people are getting beat.
There's straight line drives, there's global-- there's all kinds of things happening where you can't just say, oh, whoops play over, dunk or layup or whatever. So I think the premise of what we do is to always cover that stuff up. So I think that probably gets us a little more ready to handle the missed gambles.
- Is that an area where you especially miss Pascal? Like, he's just one of the best sort of scramblers behind the scenes.
NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, we certainly-- he's really good at that, right? He's really good at reading and playing, knowing who he's playing, knowing what the situation is, for sure. But he also gives us another on ball lockdown guy that we don't have to do so much scheming. I mean, we can say, hey, we don't care.
If Scottie's on him, Freddie's on him, OG's on him or Pascal on him, we don't care. Right? And so we're missing one of those guys, and then you do care. So it just changes the schemes a little bit.
- is Gary expected to play home?
NICK NURSE: Gary's out as well and not traveling today.
- What have you thought of OG, you're talking about him getting a seat and getting to the rim. But he's made some passes off his penetrating moves as well. I mean, is that something you've been-- he would go over with coaches making reads, or is that just him handling better, being set up more?
NICK NURSE: Well, we certainly-- again, talk about, you're going to have to score to be able to pass something, right? If you've got one on one matchups, you got to score. And then you know how it goes in this league. When you're doing that, all of a sudden you've got help to contend with.
And then we also say that you've done a good job of creating offense if you've drawn more than one defender. Then you have to make the right play, which is out. We drill it, of course. But there's nothing can't be drilled anything like it looks in the game, right? So I think it comes with the territory of more reps and seeing different teams and different schemes that they throw at him, and making some good plays.
- I mean, do you track-- I know you track everything. Do you track that kind of stuff? Is he grading better in those kind of areas? Is there a way to quantify that?
NICK NURSE: Well, in general, the touch the paint kick out to a catch and shoot 3 is a super high percentage play. And he's doing those very well, yup. That's it? All right. Let's go, Argos.
- You didn't move up in the rankings. Still-- US went to number one-- Spain went to number one in FIFA, and you guys stayed at 15th. Gained some points, apparently.
NICK NURSE: It's hard to believe.