There have been a few times over the course of the pre-season when Nick Nurse has talked about the kind of personalities he likes to have on his roster, putting aside for a moment the ability to shoot, defend or handle the basketball.
The Toronto Raptors head coach talks about positive attitudes, smiles, pleasant demeanours for the most part.
And given the demands of a long and arduous season, the close quarters that players live in for almost 200 days a year, the need to have men who are adaptable and friendly and smiling more often than not makes entire sense.
“It’s certainly serious business, but it’s no sense that we all have to be miserable doing it. … I think there’s some certain attitudes and certain guys that can feed some positive energy and that keeps you going through an 82-game schedule.”
Now, the ability to shoot, defend, pass and dribble are, of course, desirable but if the conversation is about someone who might be 13th or 15th or even 17th on the roster, the ability to get along with everyone is paramount.
“There’s a lot of long moments, travel, and games, and stretches, and to have some of those guys around to bring positive energy is great,” Nurse said.
His discussion of those traits has often centred on veteran big man Greg Monroe, who seems to have the personality the coach appreciates. But Monroe has a guaranteed contract which basically assures he’ll be around. It’s the rest of the end of the roster players who have to have that combination the coach seeks.