‘A Smart Son of a Bitch’: Can Nick Nurse Out-Think Raptors’ Biggest Rivals?

hi-res-0d8e23bd0196bf628d5dba7be55baa88_crop_north

Nick Nurse was a 40-year-old former mid-major point guard and longtime British Basketball League coach when he found the idea that would change his life.

He heard the NBA was in the midst of expanding its developmental league.

This, Nurse thought, was his chance.

He approached Jerry Crawford, a fellow Iowa native he had known for nearly two decades. Nurse met Crawford in his Des Moines office one day in the summer of 2006 and shared what he had cheap nike nfl jerseys from china heard, knowing that Crawford, a prominent lawyer and bigwig lobbyist for the Democratic Party, was a basketball fanatic and also the kind of guy who knew the right people in the right places.

“We should bring a team to Iowa,” Crawford recently recalled Nurse telling him.

Crawford agreed. That February, the NBA D-League awarded an expansion team to Des Moines, the Iowa Energy. Nurse was named head coach. cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“He had to create a team in order to coach,” Crawford said this week in a phone interview, “to lead to what has happened today.”

Crawford was speaking a few hours after learning that his old friend had been named the new head coach of the Toronto Raptors. ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Nurse reached a three-year, $10 million deal with Toronto, and Raptors team president Masai Ujiri has since nfl cheap nike jerseys confirmed the hiring to The Athletic’s Mike Scotto.

The team will officially announce the hire during a press conference Thursday.

Nurse, who has been a Raptors assistant since 2013, now inherits a team standing on shaky new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap ground. The Raptors are coming off a franchise-record 59-win  cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys season, one in which they were the only team to rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping But a humiliating playoff loss to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight year cost Nurse’s predecessor, Dwane Casey, his job.

The Raptors have since turned to Nurse, who players and executives credited with overhauling the team’s offense last season, transforming it into a ball-moving, three-point-heavy attack.

Sweden

20. Sweden (+2)

Sweden won’t wow anyone this tournament, but they’re capable of getting results—as evidenced by the play-off win over Italy, and their solid, if unspectacular, build-up to the finals.

They look third-strongest in Group F, but qualification isn’t out of the question. They’ll need to make an effort to score a few more goals than usual if they’re to usurp Mexico, though.

19. Morocco (+9)

If you’re looking for a potential group-stage upset, Morocco to qualify ahead of Portugal should be on your radar. They’re defensively excellent, have a coach in Herve Renard who knows how to eke out victories, and are close to a year unbeaten.

The Atlas Lions rarely concede, mix defensive quality (Medhi Benatia) with attacking zip (Hakim Ziyech) and are our first of three dark-horse candidates.cheap nfl jerseys china

18. Senegal (+5)

Perhaps results didn’t go their way during this preparation period, but what Senegal offered on the counter-attack against Croatia in their 2-1 defeat on Friday should scare anyone preparing to play them.nfl cheap jerseys

They defend crosses well and launch attacks quickly, feeding the ball to Sadio Mane and asking him to create. It’s a good strategy!

17. Switzerland (+7)

For Switzerland, see Sweden (20): They won’t blow you away with their football, but they can be solid when required and boast a couple of genuine difference-makers—Xherdan Shaqiri and Breel Embolo—in attack.nfl jerseys cheap china

The group they’ve landed in, alongside Serbia and Costa Rica, will be a gritty one, but that almost plays to their strengths.

16. Peru (+5)

Things are looking pretty rosy for Peru right now. They haven’t lost a game in over a year, have won five of their last six and have welcomed talismanic striker Paolo Guerrero back into the fold nfl jersey after his doping ban was temporarily lifted.nfl jerseys

8. Oklahoma City Thunder: 40-1

hi-res-7a271c1c8dbeadc550cfde69ba59f778_crop_exact

Year one of the superteam(ish) Thunder will be remembered as a disappointment. Slotting Paul George and Carmelo Anthony alongside Russell Westbrook only increased OKC’s win total by one and couldn’t prevent another first-round playoff exit.

But there were enough elite women nfl jersey moments before Andre Roberson’s season-ending injury to make one wonder what might be possible if George sticks around.

The Thunder had a 4-3 record against the Western Conference finalists, Golden State and Houston. OKC also posted an eye-popping plus-14.2 net rating in the 539 minutes china nfl jerseys nike George shared with Westbrook, Anthony, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams.

“That definitely changes a lot,” George said in April of Roberson’s injury, per Royce Young. “Andre is a big piece, and him going down, it definitely was a big blow to us. … You’ve got to look at where we can be, imagine what we would be if Andre was here playing with [us] now.”

If the Thunder keep George, they might be closer to contention than most realize.

While Utah finished a perfectly average 15th in offensive efficiency, there were times this attack felt held together by frayed yarn.

Donovan Mitchell was by far the best scorer while also being a 43.7 percent shooting rookie. Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio were nominally the second and third point-producers, respectively, but each did his best work on the opposite end.

At full strength, though, this defense is the Association’s most suffocating unit. It finished the season second in efficiency, but it was tops in 2018 and nearly where to get nfl jerseys  five points stingier per 100 possessions than anyone after the All-Star break.

The Jazz are one of the rare teams with both a winning record and spending money for this summer. The key will be shrewd handling of that flexibility. Utah might consider keeping most of its focus in-house, both to retain its most critical free agents (Derrick Favors, Dante Exum) and to potentially realize the value of continuity.nfl jerseys china nike

The Lakers’ success in free agency will determine if these odds are too high or far too low.nfl jersey for sale

LeBron James and Paul George will discuss potentially teaming up on the Lakers, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman). Marc Stein of the New York Times mentioned LeBron and Chris Paul as another possible Lakers duo. If the San Antonio Spurs ever field offers on Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers are expected to place a bid, sources told Sporting News’ Sean Deveney.

Even with the Lakers coming off a 47-loss season, there’s too clearance nfl jerseys much superstar smoke to leave them out of the top 10.

James can single-handedly transform teams into contenders. Paul, George or Leonard would all fit the superstar sidekick role that Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving filled on previous champions. That might not make L.A. the favorites, but it would get this organization on a short list of realistic championship hopefuls.nike nfl jerseys on sale

There’s also a chance no one comes, and the Lakers load up on one-year contracts again to roll over their cap space to next summer. That’d make 2018-19 a developmental season, during which they wouldn’t sniff the playoff picture.where to buy nfl jersey

Jake Guentzel’s 4 Goals Propel Penguins to 2nd Round with Win vs. Flyers

The Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs with an 8-5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.cheap nfl jerseys online

Jake Guentzel was credited with four goals, including three in the third period. His offensive explosion couldn’t have come at a better time for Pittsburgh, which was without Evgeni Malkin.

According to the Penguins’ official Twitter account, entering Sunday only two other players in franchise history had scored four goals in one playoff game: Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens. Guentzel joined that group.nfl gear for kids

Sportsnet’s Dimitri Filipovic contrasted Guentzel’s unremarkable regular-season scoring record to his impressive postseason numbers:

Philadelphia owes the defeat largely to its meltdown in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the second period. Sean Couturier (who finished with three goals and two assists) and Scott Laughton scored to give the Flyers a 4-2 lead 12:14 into the period, with Matt Murray looking shaky between the pipes for Pittsburgh.nfl gear cheap

Then, a pair of Radko Gudas giveaways led to two goals for the Penguins, who tied the game at four.

First, a misplaced pass from Gudas found Brian Dumoulin, who quickly got Pittsburgh on the counterattack. Guentzel, who entered Sunday with a team-high six assists, left Patric Hornqvist with an easy finish nfl gear for men to register the Penguins’ third goal of the game at the 13:35 mark of the second period.

Gudas was at fault again for Pittsburgh’s fourth goal. He failed to clear the puck, which allowed the Penguins to gain the advantage. Guentzel was credited with the tally, but it appeared Olli Maatta’s wrist shot eluded Michal Neuvirth nfl gear for women without any help from Guentzel.

2018 NFL Draft Rumors: Browns Have Considered Drafting 2 QBs in 1st Round

hi-res-58184ac3d59b4c3bcabda2bbe802e8c8_crop_north

The Cleveland Browns have considered selecting two quarterbacks in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, according to Kevin Clark of The Ringer.

Cleveland holds picks No. 1 and No. 4, and Clark said he asked “multiple members” nfl jersey for cheap of the organization if they have “considered ignoring all norms and drafting two quarterbacks high in the draft.”

“The answer is yes. The people I asked have thought about it, discussed it and investigated it,” Clark wrote. “This is not to say it will happen, but the Browns have considered it. In fact, one person I spoke with could immediately rattle off every previous instance of teams drafting two passers high because he’d done the prep work on the idea.”

f the Browns selected a quarterback with their first-round picks at No. 1 and No. 4, it would be nfl jerseys cheap authentic unprecedented. It’s also fair to question if it would actually be logical.

The obvious benefit is that it would double the team’s odds of landing a franchise quarterback, a position that has been the realm of failed draft picks, washed-up veterans and journeymen placeholders since Bernie Kosar hung up his cleats.

On the other hand, Clark outlined the reasons it wouldn’t necessarily make sense:

“The people I spoke with, however, were quick to outline the downsides—not enough practice reps to develop two quarterbacks and the inability to trade a rookie midseason because of a clause in the CBA. One person I custom nfl jerseys cheap spoke with mentioned how many unintended consequences you’d face if you upended the draft in such a way (specifically in the far-fetched scenario in which they took two passers in the top four), but that he’d still thought about it plenty.”

Remember, the Browns have Tyrod Taylor on the roster, and he’s expected to be the starter in 2018. There are only so many reps to go around.

And what if the Browns whiffed on both quarterbacks they selected? What if they wasted not one,customized nfl jerseys cheap  but two draft picks on a position and neither player became a long-term solution? The organization would never live it down. General manager John Dorsey’s reputation would forever be stained, and the team’s rebuilding strategy would be set back years.

AFC East

a811c578eb114a227d3531858fedede0_crop_exact

Buffalo Bills

The football gods finally smiled upon the Bills, allowing them to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. A repeat appearance likely isn’t in the cards this year, though. AJ McCarron is not an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, and the offensive line remains in flux. LeSean McCoy turns 30 in July, while the team’s leading tackler, Preston Brown, signed with the Bengals in free agency. The schedule-makers didn’t do the Bills any favors, either, by placing the Chargers, Vikings, Packers and Titans—all of whom are playoff contenders—in Weeks 2-5.

Prediction: 7-9

Miami Dolphins

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Dolphins after head coach Adam Gase decided his team needed a new direction. Landry, Ndamukong Suh and Mike Pouncey—arguably the team’s best three players—are all gone. In their place, Miami targeted veteran free agents with winning experience. However, Frank Gore, Danny Amendola and Josh Sitton nfl jersey for cheap can only do so much, as they’re all on the downside of their careers. Each of the Dolphins’ last five games is against a team that made the playoffs last season.

Prediction: 4-12

New England Patriots

Cracks are starting to show in the Patriots’ once-pristine exterior. Tom Brady veered from his normal preparation this offseason. Rob Gronkowski is still contemplating retirement. The team traded its top receiver, Brandin Cooks, to the Los Angeles Rams. The Patriots no longer seem to be on the same page as an organization. nfl jerseys cheap authentic Even so, they’re still the AFC East’s best squad and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Once again, a December (Week 15) meeting with the Steelers could determine the AFC’s top seed. The end of the dynasty does appear to be in sight.

Prediction: 11-5

New York Jets

The Jets didn’t tank last season, but their 5-11 record wasn’t good, either. The organization hopes to build on last year’s surprising campaign with the additions of Tremaine Johnson, Avery Williamson, Isaiah Crowell and custom nfl jerseys cheap Teddy Bridgewater. The roster still has a long way to go, but New York is already through the difficult teardown portion of the rebuilding process, and it has some talented young players on its roster. Another should be forthcoming after the Jets traded up to the third overall pick in an attempt to land a customized nfl jerseys cheap quarterback of their choice. Said signal-caller could be in the lineup against the No. 1 overall pick when the Jets face the Browns in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football.

2016-2017 club Monterey special edition White AAA+Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 club Monterey special edition White AAA+Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 club Monterey special edition White AAA+Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 club Monterey special edition White AAA+Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 National Germany Confederations Cup home White Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 National Germany Confederations Cup home White Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 National Germany Confederations Cup home White Soccer Jersey

2016-2017 National Germany Confederations Cup home White Soccer Jersey

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 34 Matthews White Jerseys

2016 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 34 Matthews White Jerseys

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 34 Matthews White Jerseys

2016 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 34 Matthews White Jerseys

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 16 Marner Blue Jerseys

2016 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 16 Marner Blue Jerseys

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 16 Marner Blue Jerseys

2016 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 16 Marner Blue Jerseys