The 2020 NBA Bubble brought many teams unforeseen challenges to NBA teams. Coach Nurse gives his experience with the Toronto Raptors and what he hopes to see in the 2021 NBA season. Nick Nurse's book: Rapture: Fifteen Teams, Four Countries, One NBA Championship, and How to Find a Way to Win - Damn Near Anywhere is available on hardcover Oct. 13th, 2020.
ZACH SCHWARTZ: We are lucky to have Nick Nurse here, joining us today on "Dunk Bait." Coach Nurse, it's an absolute pleasure to have you. How you doing so far? What-- how's life outside the bubble? How you been?
NICK NURSE: Life outside the bubble is good and bad, right? You, you need to be in that bubble if you're going to keep playing. That was, that was the only thing.
It's nice to get out. And looking back, it was, it was a little rougher than maybe it seemed when we were in there, because you get to go to play, and practice. And the basketball was awesome.
LAJETHRO JENKINS: Well, we saw some pictures floating around of Jimmy, like, already in the gym. We talked about how incredible he was before the interview. I don't know if that's even healthy. But at what point do you and your guys start, you know, preparing for next year?
NICK NURSE: I think in this year, especially, there needs to be a little bit of break in the action. Mentally recharge a little bit, obviously, physically for some of the guys that logged the heavy minutes. But then you want to-- you know, then you want to get back in there.
There's, there's always-- I think there's, for us, and probably, probably what's fueling Jimmy is, there's a little bit of a, man, it was good, but a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth when you get bounced out.
JOSIAH JOHNSON: Before entering the bubble, you know, several players and coaches, including Giannis, who's obviously the MVP Defensive Player of the Year this year, were very adamant that this would be one of the toughest, if not the toughest championships to win. You were a coach of, obviously, the last team to win a championship outside of the bubble. After playing in the bubble, and playing in the playoffs, can you say that this was the toughest championship, arguably in NBA history, and in your experience?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, it was difficult. There's no-- I mean, there was so much stuff going on, I think. And, and there was just-- it was so abnormal, right? It was so abnormal. You, you got to, you got to say that. And it was just no-- you know, no fans, no energy, no, no feel, you know.
Like, like I say-- well, got people asking me like, you know, you should have had game 7 at home. Was that a big factor? And I said, yeah, that's a big factor for the people who live in the city. Man, the, the electricity that goes into a city for a couple days leading into a game 7, and the people out in the streets before and after the games, and-- that's, that's the people I felt bad for. I mean, we got the basketball done.
JOSIAH JOHNSON: So the coronavirus pandemic still isn't over. There's been some talks, potentially about the '20-'21 season being in a similar type of bubble. You know, would you be on board with that? Or do you think it would be too difficult to have to play an entire season and postseason in a situation like you guys did?
NICK NURSE: My thoughts are this-- is we've got to play. We got to, we got to-- everybody's got to-- we've got to figure out how to continue to move on through this thing a little bit, until, until, till we can get squared away, right? We just-- so, so, you know, I'm up for anything to try to, to play. And I think that somehow, we got to be able to-- we've got to be able to get out of there once in a while, the bubble. Or get our, see our families once-- you know, something's gotta give where there's a little bit of, uh-- you know, I don't know what it is. I wouldn't want to try to play a whole season in a bubble. That'd mean what, we're going to go in there, and be in there for six, seven months? I think that's hard to do.
ZACH SCHWARTZ: Coach, we are joined here because you are-- you've got your book coming out, "Rapture-- Fifteen Teams, Four Countries, One NBA Championship." How, how did your process of putting together the book go? How much of it did you-- like, how much of this current season did you pull from to put into the book? What was kind of your process for putting all that together?
NICK NURSE: Originally, I come from a little, small town in Iowa. And the sports editor from there, it was his idea, when I first got the head coaching job. And he said, hey, you want to do a book?
And I kind of said, maybe, I don't know. And it turned into a much bigger project after we-- we got started on it right away. And then, obviously, we had the success, and were fortunate enough to win it. And it became a little bit bigger project, with Little Brown Publishing getting involved, and wanting to publish it. And they kind of take over from there.
Not much from the second season. It pretty much goes from the start of my coaching-- well, started growing up in Iowa, to my, my first year with the Raptors after winning it. There is, there is-- there was a little bit of time to throw in a little bit about the pandemic, and, and et cetera, but not, not a whole lot. It kind of goes, ends at the, the first championship season.
ZACH SCHWARTZ: You have the foreword written by Phil Jackson. How, how are you-- what's your kind of connection with Phil, and what was it like having him put something in for the book?
NICK NURSE: My-- when I got the job, literally the next day after I got the job, our, our head of sports science is a guy by the name of Alex McKechnie, who worked for the Lakers for five of the titles with Phil. He said, you want, you want me to put you in touch with Phil? I said, yeah, sure.
And then I-- we start texting, he said, come on out to Montana. And I, and I went out to see him, and spent three days with him. And--
JOSIAH JOHNSON: I just want to ask you, texting with Phil Jackson, is Phil an emoji guy? Is he, is he sending you , you know, multiple paragraph texts? Like, how-- what is, what is Phil? Is he, is he shorthand? How is Phil as a texter?
NICK NURSE: He's seriously, incredibly funny. Like, like, like, incredibly funny. And then, and then a lot of times, like, head-scratcher funny-- you know, like I got to kind of interpret, interpret what are you, what is he talking about. Maybe ask somebody else what they think this-- you know. No, he's, he's really, he's really funny.
LAJETHRO JENKINS: Well, it was great having you. Appreciate you, Nick. It's been great talking to you. Best of luck with the book.
I see the hat, what-- do you want to promote the hat? Is that, is that for sale?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, that's the foundation, all this stuff. I got the box-and-one. All this stuff goes on the foundation, it all goes to helping kids in Toronto with sports, and music, and books.
LAJETHRO JENKINS: All right, you take care. And best of luck next year.
NICK NURSE: Thanks a lot, guys. Enjoyed it, man.