Before the NBA season started, the Toronto Raptors had problems. As the lone NBA team outside of the United States, the Raptors were going to run into isolation and quarantine issues with teams coming in and out of Toronto. The solution? Play their home games in Tampa, Florida. Tampa had an NBA-ready facility and no team, plus Florida has allowed fans at home games for the entirety of the pandemic. It was a match made in heaven… until it wasn’t. The Raptors’ struggles early in the season clearly were tied to playing no true home games. When teams came to Tampa, they had as many fans (if not more) as the Raptors did. But the Toronto Raptors of Tampa Bay adjusted, and now they’ve had one of the best February’s of any NBA team. So, what comes next? More obstacles.
Houston at Toronto (in Tampa) tonight will be the first instance in the NBA that a head coach and multiple staff members have been forced to miss a game due to the league’s health and safety protocols.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 26, 2021
The team has now formally announced it: pic.twitter.com/adYJvci1Aq
Now the homeless Raptors are homeless and coach-less. It’s early, but they may be without the majority of their coaching staff, and Head Coach Nick Nurse, until after the All-Star break. So what do they do?
Promote Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors of Tampa Bay
First and foremost, Kyle Lowry is a true NBA vet. He’s been in the NBA for 16 seasons. Lowry is a noted culture setter, and a key part of what’s been built in #WeTheNorth culture. He is the kind of player notable for taking multiple charges in an All-Star Game, many coaches’ dream player. But if he’s on the floor, how will they make up for it?
Well, it appears they’ll live.
Red Auerbach is the face of the Boston Celtics dynasty in many ways. The cigar-smoking architect built the league’s longest-lasting dynasty as a coach and general manager. But in the last few years of the Celtics, Auerbach was in entirely the office. Bill Russell, the captain, served as a player and coach.
Russell was known as a defensive presence and “glue-guy,” much like -but to a much more historic degree- Lowry’s role. “Whiskers” Russell was dominant on the floor and on the chalkboard. All the Toronto Raptors of Tampa Bay need Kyle Lowry to do is coach. If the Raptors can play this well without him, let him focus on leading instead of playing.
The Raptors are in a bind, but the answer is already on their sideline. Lowry and Nurse have a close relationship, and who better to be the front of the franchise?