76ers’ pitch to James Harden keys on ability to ‘win it all’

76ers' pitch to James Harden keys on ability to 'win it all'

Tim BontempsESPNJune 1, 2023 at 5:11 p.m. ET5 minutes to read

What does it mean to hire nick a nurse for empied, harden

Alan Hahn thinks Nick Nurse is a good fit for the 76ers, but wonders if he’d be a good fit for James Harden.

Camden, NJ – New Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse was asked about the status of suspended free agent James Harden, and how he will sell the star guard when he plays him next season.

“Win has got to be selling, right?” Nurse said during his introductory press conference at the team’s training facility on Thursday. Can we be good enough to win everything? That should be his goal.

“And if that’s the case, then he should stay here and play with us, because I think there is potential for that.”

Nurse, who was hired by the Sixers just weeks after his successful five-year run with the Toronto Raptors ended, said he’s already spoken to Harden and plans to meet with him — as well as every other player in the game. Including Joel Embiid, who sat with him during the interview process.

And while a championship is the natural expectation for this team, Nurse inherits a group that has made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in five of the past six seasons.

It’s been a generation since Allen Iverson led Philadelphia to the NBA Finals, and two since Julius Erving led the 76ers to their last championship, but Nurse said none of that matters moving forward.

Instead, the focus will be on what lies ahead.

“I look at it that way,” said the nurse. “I don’t really rock the frequency of the past. For me, when we get a chance to start and dig into this thing a little bit, we’ll just focus on what we’re trying to do going forward. [The past] It doesn’t matter. Next season, no matter how many years in the past I don’t care.

“You mentioned the second round to me twice already, and we’re going to get it straight. We also know we’re going to be judged on how we play in the playoff. It was the same in Toronto; we didn’t play well, some guys didn’t play well and all those kinds of things.” So the reality is, this is, this is the truth. So, I imagine from day one, we’re going to talk about this and we’re going to try to attack that, you know. We’re going to have to face it, we’ve got to rise above it.”

Part of rising above it will boil down to whether Nurse can help Embiid, the NBA’s MVP, take his game to a new level in the postseason. And he will do so from a familiar setting, given the number of times they have come face to face over the past five years.

The Raptors and 76ers, besides facing each other four times a year in the Atlantic Division, have also met twice in the playoffs: an epic seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal game in 2019, when all-time hitter Kawhi Leonard in Game 7 let Toronto go ahead. , and a series of six first-round matches last year.

Along the way, Nurse and Embiid had some colorful exchanges on the sidelines, and Embiid took a few shots at Nurse in the media — including comparing Brooklyn Nets coach Jack Vaughn to Nurse after Vaughn complained about foul calls against Embiid during his in-round series last month. .

However, those fights led Nurse to gain a newfound appreciation for his new star.

“I thought it was an interesting experience training against Joel,” said Nurse. “We threw just about everything I think you can throw at a guy, because it was so hard for us to try to stop him. So we threw a lot at him. So I think at least we can say offensively that’s what we did and here’s how we can beat it. And we’ve got you covered.” almost [almost everything].

“The rest of that, it’s just, well, it’s a little fun for me. I understand there were some exchanges and stuff… [but] When you’re out there and really in the middle of the competition, I didn’t really remember it. But I accidentally turned on TV yesterday and saw two of them, and they were very good.

“It kind of grew into a level of respect — for me anyway — for him. We were throwing one thing in, and even in this playoff series a game later, he was adjusting to it and we couldn’t do that.”

Nurse opened his press conference by thanking everyone in Toronto for their “10 amazing years,” after spending five years there as an assistant before taking over as head coach ahead of the 2018-19 season.

He went on to win a title that first season with Leonard, won Coach of the Year in 2020 when Toronto lost in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Boston Celtics in the NBA bubble, and made the playoffs in three of his five years. With the franchise, they lost to the Chicago Bulls in Championship Play this year.

Nurse, who is also a candidate for open coaching positions at Milwaukee and Phoenix, said the combination of talent and stable ownership made the 76ers the top choice in his mind.

“Obviously, championship pedigree on multiple levels is a big, big factor,” Daryl Morey, president of Basketball Operations, said in explaining why Nurse was chosen to replace Doc Rivers. “I think his creativity and the fact that he’s a partner in how we achieve results together is a big factor.

“I think it kind of checks every box.”

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