San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the most respected coaches in the league, if not the most. Under his tutelage, several coaches have blossomed and become great head coaches themselves. Doc Rivers, Mike Budenholzer, and Brett Brown all worked under Popovich. Pop is known for his championship pedigree and milking the most talent out of his personnel.
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is on a different side of the spectrum. He has only been an NBA head coach for one year. Granted, the one year he has coached has been a respectable showing. Nurse led the Raptors to a 58-24 record, good for second place in the Eastern Conference this year.
Raptors guard Danny Green has had the pleasure of playing for both coaches. When asked to compare the two coaching styles, he had an interesting response:
Green was asked to compare/contrast Popovich & Nurse: "It's different. I wouldn't say worse or better, but very different. Nick likes to see what we're comfortable with, get our feedback, which I like a ton. Little different with Pop."
Would Pop ever ask you for feedback? "No."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 6, 2019
Pop is notoriously stubborn, but he has earned the right to be. He is frequently seen yelling in his players’ ears, whether they be a veteran or a rookie. If you make a mistake on the court, Popovich is not afraid to give you an earful.
Nurse has more of a laid-back coaching style. He hasn’t earned the right to publicly berate vets on the floor, and he takes a softer approach when it comes to nailing home lessons.
Obviously, Gregg Popovich is a surefire Hall of Famer, and Nurse is not on his level yet. Leading the Raptors to a championship this year would help him take a big step in the right direction.