Nick Nurse did his introductory press conference in Camden on Wednesday, flanked by Josh Harris and Daryl Morey. It wasn’t super exciting, and he kept things close to the vest, but some bulletpoint takeaways:

  • Josh Harris said that Nurse was the Sixers’ top target among available head coach candidates
  • Nurse noted that he hadn’t been in front of the media since leaving Toronto, so he used an opening statement to thank Masai Ujiri and the Raptors’ organization.
  • First question from Keith Pompey was about picking Philadelphia over other job openings. Nurse spoke of Daryl Morey’s ability to build a title contender and pointed to quality in ownership.
  • Nurse was asked about his penchant for criticizing players in front of the media and delivered a generic non-answer about the importance of communication.
  • RE: the Sixers not getting past the second round – “My first thought is that this team could be playing tonight (in the first game of the Finals)… that combination of staying healthy and the ball bouncing your way, figuring out the long grind.. all of those things are very difficult.” Not some revealing answer. It was similar to Doc Rivers saying he didn’t care about past failures when he arrived in 2020. I’d love for someone in that organization, anyone, to actually answer this question and show that they understand that fans are 100% focused on that and nothing else.
  • Nurse talked about the idea of continuity but didn’t give away anything in regard to James Harden’s player option. He did note that he’s spoken to Harden, and he would be happy to have him back, though “James has a decision to make.”
  • Working with Kawhi Leonard in 2018 and 2019 should be helpful in determining how to use Joel Embiid this year. A load management question and answer.
  • He didn’t go into any Xs and Os kind of stuff. Very generic answers, but did talk about “guarding” a bit and noted the important of defense.
  • Nurse did not say he was thinking about taking a break from coaching, so that’s an upgrade over Doc’s intro.

As far as the more interesting quotes, I picked out two. The first was on Tyrese Maxey (my emphasis in bold):

“First of all, from afar, playing against him was very difficult. Just the sheer speed and quickness that he has. It was tough to game plan against him. Sometimes you just can’t beat the speed. You can’t come up with anything to beat the speed. Then it wasn’t just speed and layups, he started shooting the ball really well, then he started making (layups from further away/floaters) and we were trying our best to get him away from the rim but he’d still make a lot of those. He’s got a tremendous chance to improve and take a step forward. From all indications, he’s hungry to do so. A good worker, good person, really wants to get better. There are some specifics I would say, be more of a creator. What is creating? Well you’re scoring or you’re drawing more people than one and creating for others. So can he make the reads? That’s the first place I would start offensively, is give more reps in the pick and roll so he can make the reads to all the other players on the floor depending on what he sees.”

Nurse spent much more time talking about Maxey than anyone else in a singular response, so if you wanna read between the lines here, it would seem as though Maxey in a primary ball handler roll in the case of Harden’s departure is definitely “a thing.”

The other decent answer was about his minor, public beefs with Joel Embiid:

“It’s a little bit entertaining for me because I understand there were some exchanges and things. When you’re out there and in the heat of really competing I don’t really remember (the exchanges), but I accidentally, I had my TV on and I saw a couple of them and they were pretty good. I was like ‘man I don’t even remember that, but now I know what everybody’s talking about.’ And then it kind of grew to such a respect level of him. We’d throw one thing (at him), and even in that playoff series, a game later, he’d adjust to what (we threw at him). We were banking on this and he’d adjust to it. I guess again it was a tremendous amount of respect level for me. As far as building the relationship, I think he really wants to compete and really wants to be great. It’s a collaborative effort. How do you see it? How do I see it? Let’s figure this out. For me, I just want him to have as much success as possible and that translate to team success as well.”

Full presser here: