Nick Nurse evaluates first Sixers season, says there’s work to be done

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers finished up the first season under coach Nick Nurse with some positives. Yes, they lost in Round 1 to the New York Knicks in six games, but Nurse instilled a lot of confidence and resilience into this group.

The Sixers battled through a lot of adversity as a group. The injuries to not only Joel Embiid, but De’Anthony Melton, Robert Covington, and even Tyrese Maxey for stretches made it tough to get everybody on the same page. Throw in the big James Harden trade and then the deadline day moves and Nurse had to juggle a lot in his first go-around.

“The season was kind of like that series,” Nurse said. “It was really difficult. I thought we had a lot of injury issues and stuff like that all year long, but I thought we fought. We tried to figure out a way to fight. Listen, when you’re coaching and you’ve got so much movement with who’s in and who’s out, you never get quite as organized or in sync or connectivity you’d love to have as a coach.”

Nurse isn’t wrong. There were a lot of moving parts for the Sixers throughout the season and he had to manage a lot of different pieces and how to handle everything.

“It felt like we had to do a lot of stuff on the fly,” Nurse added. “A lot of stuff off the board. A lot of stuff like that. That makes it tough, but again, it is what it is. You gotta figure it out. That’s what it is. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Nurse is a guy who runs a lot of unorthodox schemes. He needs everybody to buy into what he’s preaching and it relies a lot on trying to get everybody to understand their parts in the team’s success. They didn’t have a chance to have that continuity.

“There was a time we had a whole bunch of guys out,” Nurse added. “All anyone kept talking about was Joel was out, but we had a whole fleet of guys out, and the challenge was, can we get them to a compete level? Can we get out there and compete? We had to raise up our level of just competing. So I thought we did a really good job of that. We just keep teaching and coaching and filming and all that stuff, just trying to push them to get better and play harder.”

With that being said, Nurse definitely got the Sixers to compete. They battled on a nightly basis and Philadelphia was certainly competitive in a lot of games they shouldn’t have. They just needed to execute things much better than they did. That will come with time.

“I thought we did a good job of that,” Nurse finished. “But no. I feel like nearly as enough of just–special situations, end-of-game stuff, ATO stuff, it was just probably not as sharp as I would’ve liked to have had it, right? I think they did really good. Even in a lot of these games, we ended up executing a lot. We got a lot of good shots and a lot of good buckets late in the game, so they were doing a lot of that off the board and they did a good job.”

Nurse will head into his first full offseason as coach of the Sixers. He knows the work that must be done. So does the front office. It will be interesting to see what happens next as Philadelphia moves forward.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire