• Mon. Nov 23rd, 2020

Raptors’ Nick Nurse impressed by players’ fitness level, excited about tough schedule | CBC Sports


Jun 30, 2020

In the greater than three months for the reason that Toronto Raptors stepped off the courtroom, the gamers have been scattered overseas.

Besides common weight checks and digital exercises, it has been on them to remain in form in lower than excellent situations. In these unprecedented instances, many gamers stated it has been the longest they’ve gone with out enjoying.

Coach Nick Nurse — who had seen a couple of weeks in the past how match Marc Gasol appeared on crew Zoom calls — nonetheless did not know what to anticipate when his crew convened final week in Naples, Fla., to hopefully resume their quest for a second consecutive NBA championship.

“Players look fantastic, I mean absolutely,” Nurse stated on a convention name Tuesday. “When you see them with the eyeball test they look great.

“I got here in right here open-minded. I did not know if we have been going to be probably not in the fitting way of thinking or no matter… But I’m pleasantly stunned with the way of thinking, I’m pleasantly stunned with the conditioning, and I simply assume you will have a bunch of men who’ve a excessive care issue.

“They love to play, they’re concerned about getting better individually, about their own careers, it just seems like they are doing a really professional job. I just think there is a strong love of the game there for a lot of these guys.”

Gasol, Lowry staying match

Gasol, who missed 28 video games this season with a hamstring harm, and veteran guard Kyle Lowry have seemed noticeably leaner in current pictures circulating on social media.

“The chiselled Marc. Cut up. He looks great,” Nurse stated of the large Spaniard.

Nurse stated as extremely as he already thinks of the cerebral Gasol, his improved health is motivating for Raptors teammates, would possibly get him a couple of extra rebounds an evening and will give his legs extra life down the stretch of video games.

“If his conditioning improves him as a player it’s going to be a super added bonus for us,” Nurse stated.

Raptors guard/ahead Norm Powell known as the bodily change in Gasol “drastic.”

“I make fun of him all the time, looking like a soccer player in Barcelona,” Powell laughed. “He looks great, man, he’s moving great, he’s feeling great.”

Powell and Gasol have a tennis match scheduled for the subsequent couple of days.

“Hopefully I’ll still be able to give him a run for his money,” Powell stated.

Because of Canada’s requirement of a 14-day quarantine interval for folks coming into the nation, the Raptors have been the primary crew to reach in Florida forward of subsequent month’s restart at Disney World.

Despite the Raptors’ constructive mindset, Powell stated there was some trepidation travelling to Florida, which has seen a startling surge in COVID-19 circumstances. The greater than 6,000 new circumstances reported Tuesday pushed the overall over 150,000 within the Sunshine State. Deaths have climbed previous 3,500.

More than 8,500 new circumstances have been recorded on three consecutive days late final week.

Increase in circumstances trigger for concern

The NBA introduced final week that 16 gamers had examined constructive for the coronavirus. ESPN reported Tuesday that the Nuggets had closed their observe facility after constructive assessments inside Denver’s group travelling to Orlando.

Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan have additionally examined constructive. Jordan will not be with the crew when it resumes play whereas Dinwiddie continues to be experiencing signs, so his standing is unsure.

Powell stated he isn’t notably involved about his well-being or that of his teammates, as a result of the Raptors are following coronavirus security tips “to a T.”

“I’m concerned about it just from a general standpoint of numbers increasing,” Powell stated. “Outside [the NBA’s planned quasi-bubble], I’m very concerned about just how dangerous it is. I’m more concerned about my family members that are out, having to deal with going out in public, going back to work and putting themselves in danger of catching the virus.”

Per week into what might be three months in Florida, Nurse stated the Raptors have managed to stave off homesickness and tedium.

“The first week has gone by in a snap of a finger. That’s a really good sign,” he stated.

BBQ, ping-pong, pool to maintain busy

The coaches are up early, and spend all day within the gymnasium, with gamers arriving in staggered teams of 4 to practise — one participant and two coaches per internet.

“The days go by pretty quickly, we’re trying to mix in some days off, we’re trying to mix in a lot of different activities,” he stated.

The crew had a barbecue not too long ago. They play ping-pong and pool.

“There are a few other things we’re trying to mix in, too. I don’t really sense much anxiety or people worrying about, ‘Man, this is going to be a long time,”‘ he stated. “They seem really good. You can ask me that again in a month if you want. I’ve said that a lot, how much I’ve missed coaching these guys. I just sense that these guys like being around each other and like to play.”

The Raptors have been 46-18 and second within the East when the league shuttered on March 11. They tip off the restart on Aug. 1 versus the Los Angeles Lakers, and face among the many hardest eight-game seeding schedule of the 22 groups that shall be in Orlando.

“I like the schedule, I think it’s great to see the Lakers again, [No. 1] Milwaukee again, just to get a feel for them again,” he stated. “We’re playing really quality teams, I think every team we’ve got is a playoff team, so that’s going to be obviously those are good teams, so I like it.”

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