The NBA summer league is winding down, as the preliminary round of games ends on Thursday.

Only the top eight seeds will advance to a single-elimination tournament set to begin on July 13, so quite a few prospects will have to wait until the preseason begins in October to return to the court.

Some players have surpassed expectations in July while others have not. Success in the summer league does not necessarily translate to the regular season, but let's take a look at who is hot and who is not so far.

 

Hot

Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Herro's criticism ahead of the 2019 NBA draft was based on his poor defense and lack of efficiency, despite his reputation as a sharpshooter. The summer league has allowed him to showcase that he has more to offer than shooting, though.

The 6-5 guard initiated the Heat's offense early and often and helped lead the team to a 3-1 record in the preliminary round. He showcased his playmaking ability out of pick-and-roll sets and has averaged 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

Herro probably is not close to becoming a primary option for the Heat, especially since Miami already have Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow on board. But Herro's versatility is a good sign.

Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs

Walker had his rookie season derailed by a meniscus tear, but he appears like he is poised to have a great sophomore campaign.

The 6-5 guard entered Thursday tied for first in the summer league in points per game (30.0) and he has been ridiculously efficient. Walker shot 58 per cent from the field in his two appearances.

His team went 2-2, so it is not likely he will play again in the tournament.

The Spurs will have some serious battles in their 2019-20 backcourt, as Walker will compete with the likes of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan for time after playing in just 17 regular season games last season.

Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have found yet another diamond in the rough.

Boucher, 26, has played in 29 regular season games and is routinely dominating the summer league by averaging 22.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. Toronto have the NBA's reigning Most Improved Player in Pascal Siakam, and Boucher could be up next. 

The 6-10 big man is fresh off a season in which he was crowned MVP and Defensive Player of the Year of the G-League, playing for Toronto 905. He won his second straight NBA title with the Raptors in 2018-19, as he played for the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard could clear space for him to break into Toronto's rotation.

Not

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

New York were initially favoured to win the summer league championship but went an underwhelming 1-3.

Barrett, the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds but shot 30 per cent from the field with genuine rotation players around him.

The Knicks could be in a lot of trouble if his shooting struggles linger.

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers

Many felt Portland got a steal when they selected Little with the 25th pick in 2019 but he definitely has some work to do.

The 6-7 wing has tallied 22 minutes per contest through three games. He is averaging 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 33 per cent from the field. 

Little has shown flashes of his athleticism and is still figuring out how to fit in offensively.

Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers

Wade went undrafted after four years at Kansas State, so there were not lofty expectations for him.

However, the Cavaliers have not received much from him in the 27 minutes he has averaged through three games.

The 6-10 forward is averaging 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds but is only shooting 26 per cent from the field. That is a big drop off for a player who was the first option in college and hovered around 50 per cent shooting.

The balance of power continues to shift in the NBA, as Kawhi Leonard's decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers makes the league a lot more interesting.

At the beginning of 2018-19, many seemed to believe the road to the NBA Finals ran through the Boston Celtics. Then the Milwaukee Bucks posted the best record in the league just a year removed from finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. 

But it was the Toronto Raptors who dethroned the
Golden State Warriors in the end, and now they will have a new look without their superstar. Plenty of other teams are hungry for glory and now is the perfect time to strike.

Here are three teams that could now take over the Eastern Conference:

 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Eastern Conference is now wide open, but the Bucks are ahead of the pack. After all, they retained two All-Stars — one being reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee underwent a serious transformation under Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer last season. Antetokounmpo has put up historically strong numbers in the paint, but the Bucks were also among the league leaders in three-point attempts.

Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez will likely be constants, but it remains to be seen how the chemistry will be after losing Malcolm Brogdon.

Milwaukee simply have the centrepiece every other team wish they had in Antetokounmpo, so there is no reason to count them out just yet.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers may have lost an All-Star-calibre player in Jimmy Butler this offseason, but they will be just fine.

Philadelphia were one circus buzzer-beater away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last season and are bringing back plenty of talent in 2019-20. The 76ers flipped Butler to the Miami Heat in exchange for Josh Richardson and lured Al Horford away from the Celtics, giving them what might be the best defensive line-up in basketball.

Small Ball? Philadelphia have never heard of it, as the shortest wingspan on their current roster is 6-10. 

The 76ers' starting group will likely feature Richardson, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. And then there is second-year guard Zhaire Smith, who was voted the most athletic player in the 2018 NBA Draft by his peers but missed most of last season due to an unfortunate allergic reaction.

Philadelphia have size, playmaking, strong defense and four players that could get legitimate All-Star consideration in the coming season. Embiid's questionable health could be a facto but getting a versatile big like Horford that can fill in if he goes down will definitely keep the 76ers in contender conversations.

Brooklyn Nets

Even if Kevin Durant cannot play until 2020, the Nets should be better this season. They lost D'Angelo Russell to the Warriors, but Kyrie Irving can be a considerable upgrade if the pieces come together just right.

Both Russell and Irving are high-usage guards, but Irving is more efficient and poses the kind of threat that makes every player on the opposing team watch him when the ball is in his hands. 

Brooklyn added veterans in DeAndre Jordan and Garrett Temple that should pair nicely with returning pieces like Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris, who was one of the most prolific three-point shooters in 2018-19 — converting 47.4 per cent from beyond the arc.

But the wild card is Caris LeVert, who arguably was the Nets' best player before a leg injury sidelined him last November. The 24-year-old guard was establishing himself as Brooklyn's go-to guy and now he has had a whole offseason to recover after showing flashes of his potential in the 2018-19 playoffs.

Adding Durant to a group like this could prove to be lethal and would certainly make the Nets a force to be reckoned with.

The Toronto Raptors sent "nothing but good wishes" to Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green after they agreed moves away from the NBA champions in free agency.

Both stars played key roles in the Raptors' 2018-19 success, with Leonard the NBA Finals MVP, but the two will move on ahead of next season.

Leonard is set to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Green is going to the same city with the Lakers.

The Raptors acknowledged the two big departures in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, including a statement from president Masai Ujiri.

"We are very thankful for the year Kawhi and Danny played with us here in Toronto," he wrote. "And I know the city and the entire country of Canada are grateful for everything they did to help us win our first NBA Championship.

"On behalf of the Raptors, I say a very heartfelt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their families nothing but good wishes.

"As an organisation, the Raptors will focus on the future and continue our pursuit of a second championship."

Leonard is yet to discuss his move, but Green posted a video message on social media.

"I had a fun time in the city of Toronto, love the organisation," he said. "Thank you, guys. Thank you to my team-mates. Thank you to the fans. Always have a great place in my heart. Never forget obviously the historic run we had."

Kawhi Leonard shook up the NBA with his decision to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency just a few weeks after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first title.

While the Raptors remained confident Leonard would re-sign with them and continue to build a legacy, the star ultimately chose to return to his hometown of Los Angeles and pair up with Paul George. 

Leonard's decision made a huge impact on the league as a whole, but how will it affect the Raptors, the city of Toronto and the East?

 

No outrage for Toronto, just disappointment 

After waiting until late on Friday night - or the early hours of Saturday for the East Coast - Leonard finally made his free agency decision. Much to Toronto's disappointment, he decided to move on after just one season with the Raptors. 

Some may question whether this taints his legacy in a city where he made such a significant impact in such a short time, becoming an icon throughout Canada, but the overall consensus and initial reaction in Toronto is that it will not.

Yes, the Raptors would have loved to have Leonard back. But no, there will not be outrage. 

It will be a hard goodbye, but there should not be hard feelings.

 

Raptors likely will stay the course and develop

The Raptors had a couple options entering free agency: stay the course with their young talent or to make drastic changes in preparation of losing Leonard. So what are they going to do without the NBA Finals MVP?

It is likely they go for the first option and keep building around their young core. Toronto might try to add two or three mid-level players to fill the void because there are no clear stars left.

The Raptors have done a good job drafting in recent years so it makes sense to keep investing in the talent they already have. A player like Pascal Siakam could have to step up and be a consistent playmaker, and let us not forget about OG Anunoby, who was sidelined for much of the playoffs. 

There is no way to replace a player like Leonard, but the Raptors will stay in the mix if Siakam and Anunoby step up.

 

The East is wide open again

The story in 2018 was about how wide open the East would be without LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. It is the same story this year. 

The Raptors surprised everyone by beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and they would likely have been among the favourites to win the championship again with Leonard still on board.

Now, it is anyone's title to win as the West continues to build. 

Remember when the Toronto Raptors created history by winning the NBA title? You should do, as it was less than three weeks ago when the Finals finished.

However, with the playoffs over and the draft done and dusted, it is now time for the NBA to move on to the next major event - free agency.

At 18:00 ET (22:00 GMT) on Sunday, the negotiating can officially begin. Those out of contract get the chance to hold meetings with prospective new employers, and this year's list of available players includes some of the biggest names in the league.

The Los Angeles Lakers created waves by acquiring Anthony Davis, and now it is time to sit back and see how that blockbuster deal ripples through the rest of the NBA. It only takes one big trade – or two major injuries to deposed champions – to create a completely different landscape.

So, before the madness starts, we look at those who can expect to be making the headlines in the coming days and weeks.

 

THE TEAMS

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have grand plans but are light on numbers. Trading for Davis came at a high price and they have gutted the roster with the clear aim of another superstar to combine with Davis and LeBron James. However, the desire to hit the jackpot has forced them to mortgage their long-term future.

Los Angeles Clippers

Yes, that's right, there are two teams hoping to make it big in LA. The Clippers reached the playoffs last season and landed a couple of haymakers on the Golden State Warriors in the first round, yet that was all a welcome bonus. In the shadow of their city rivals, they want to land one of the big fish in the free agency pond.

Brooklyn Nets

Like the Clippers, the Nets surprisingly reached the postseason. They did so with a collection of players cobbled together through trades and the draft. There is room to add superstars (note the plural there) to those still under contract in Brooklyn, but that will alter the dynamic of a group that gelled so well together.

New York Knicks

The Knicks are hoping the lure of New York can help add a star to make them a headline act again. But, much like the Lakers in Los Angeles, they suddenly have noisy neighbours. It will be a major blow to the Knicks if any of their leading targets opt to relocate to Brooklyn instead.

And the rest...

While Kyrie Irving failed to pan out as planned, the Boston Celtics still have young talent and enough cap room to work something out. Then there is the New Orleans Pelicans, minus Davis but with top draft pick Zion Williamson and a number of the Lakers' cast-offs. Watch out for the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers as well, two teams with serious title aspirations.

 

THE PLAYERS

Kevin Durant – The ruptured Achilles suffered in the NBA Finals could cost him an entire season but will not hurt him in terms of his next contract. Long linked with the Knicks, he could still yet opt to stay with the Warriors. Even with his injury, Durant is going to be in high demand.

Kawhi Leonard – Toronto's gamble to trade for Leonard paid off in spectacular fashion. The lure of defending the title with largely the same roster may sway Leonard to remain in Canada a little while longer, though Los Angeles has always been rumoured as his likely long-term destination.

Kyrie Irving – The point guard did not perform as expected in Boston, but that will not deter teams from showing interest. Could he join up again with LeBron at the Lakers? Possibly, though Brooklyn are thought to be heading the queue to secure his signature.

Kemba Walker – Irving is not the only All-Star point guard up for grabs. Charlotte can offer Walker more money to remain a Hornet, yet their former first-round pick could decide the time is right to buzz off. Boston and the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly keen.

Jimmy Butler – The 76ers leaned heavily on Butler in the playoffs, and the presence of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons makes Philadelphia a genuine contender in the East. Both Los Angeles franchises could call, while the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are rumoured to be exploring sign-and-trade possibilities.

Klay Thompson – After Durant went down in the Finals, Golden State suffered a second serious injury blow when Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. So, could we have seen the last of the Splash Brothers in tandem? The Warriors will be loath to lose Stephen Curry's back-court partner, particularly to a Western Conference rival.

And the rest…

Malcolm Brogdon, Kristaps Porzingis and D'Angelo Russell are all restricted free agents, giving their teams the chance to match any offer they receive. Khris Middleton, JJ Redick and Bojan Bogdanovic are shooters who can expect to be well paid, while big men Al Horford and Nikola Vucevic will not go short with their next contracts. Then there is DeMarcus Cousins, who showed flashes with Golden State after returning from injury.

The Toronto Raptors may or may not be able to entice Kawhi Leonard to re-sign, but center Marc Gasol is returning.

Gasol is exercising his $25.6million option and will return for next season, the NBA champions announced on Wednesday.

The 7-1 center averaged 13.6 points, 7.9 points and 4.4 assists per game last season, splitting time between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Raptors, who acquired him in a deal in February.

He averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the NBA Finals as the Raptors knocked off the Golden State Warriors for their first NBA title.

On the free agent front, Leonard has already reportedly opted out of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, although Toronto hope to re-sign the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Guards Danny Green, Jodie Meeks, Jeremy Lin, and forward Eric Moreland are also unrestricted free agents.

The team have reportedly tendered a $1.8m offer to restricted free agent Patrick McCaw.

Danny Green believes there is a "higher percentage" of Kawhi Leonard re-signing with the Toronto Raptors than leaving the NBA champions.

Leonard is set to become a free agent after leading the Raptors to their championship by dethroning the Golden State Warriors.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP – who was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs along with Green in 2018-19 – has been linked to the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

However, Green feels the Raptors are the frontrunners to retain Leonard.

"I don't know the percentage [of chance that Leonard stays]," Green said during Hoops Talk, via Sportsnet. "But I think it's a higher percentage for him to be here than to leave."

Leonard almost singlehandedly carried the Raptors to their first title in franchise history. He averaged 30.5 points in the playoffs and was named the Finals MVP.

He also helped Toronto avoid elimination in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by knocking down a crazy bouncing buzzer-beater against the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter of Game 7.

"The city, the fans have done their job, the organisation's done their job. It's going to be a hard place [for Leonard] to turn down," Green said. "[You] have a great team and have a city, people, fans that love you and are willing to give you almost everything. … They give you everything, the world, and then some."

Green, meanwhile, shot a career-high 45.5 per cent from three-point point range on 5.4 attempts per game during the regular season. He will also be a free agent this offseason.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Green said earlier this month. "I would like to be back in Toronto and hopefully get everybody to run it back again. When you have a group like that, it's special."

Two people were injured in a shooting during the Toronto Raptors' championship parade on Monday, police have said.

The shooting occurred in Nathan Phillips Square near Bay Street and Albert Street.

Toronto Police said two people suffered "serious but not life threatening" injuries and two people were taken into custody while two firearms were recovered.

Last week the Raptors won their first ever NBA title, beating the Golden State Warriors in six games of the Finals.

There were estimated to be over one million people at the championship parade.

 

 

NBA championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse plans to lead Canada at this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

Nurse guided the Raptors to their first title after dethroning two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

With a championship under his belt, Nurse is now set to coach a Canada team potentially boasting Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray and Cory Joseph when the World Cup starts in August.

"I'm getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach," the 51-year-old – who landed the Larry O'Brien Trophy in his rookie season – told reporters on Sunday.

Pressed on whether he was talking about Canada, who are looking for a new coach after Jay Triano stepped down in March, Nurse confirmed a deal was "just about done".

Nurse added: "It's something I'm looking forward to doing... I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I'm hoping this experience will do the same.

"It's a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I'm just giving up some vacation time."

Canada will come up against Australia, led by Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, Lithuania and Senegal in Group H at the World Cup.

Fred VanVleet said there is nothing more the Toronto Raptors can do to keep Kawhi Leonard as the two-time NBA champion enters free agency.

Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP as he led the Raptors to their first championship at the expense of the Golden State Warriors.

The 27-year-old, who was traded by the San Antonio Spurs at the start of 2018-19, averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 49 per cent from the field in 24 playoff games.

The Los Angeles Clippers have been linked to Leonard, while the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers will also reportedly pursue the Raptors star.

Discussing Leonard's future, Toronto guard VanVleet said: "I think that for us, at least speaking for myself, there’s nothing more that we can do.

"We've done it, the city's done it, the coaches have done it, the team-mates have done it. We've done our job. The best way to recruit somebody is to just be yourself over the course of the year."

"I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special," VanVleet said as the Raptors look to re-sign Leonard. "And, if it's enough it'll be enough and if it's not then it's not. So, it's not the biggest deal in the world.

"He came here and did what he was supposed to do. He brought this city a championship and I think he's earned his freedom in his career to do what he wants to do and we'll all respect and admire him."

Marc Gasol, who was sent from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Raptors at the deadline, praised Leonard when he met with reporters on Sunday.

"I don't think there's any other player of his calibre in the NBA right now," Gasol said. "He's on a pedestal by himself."

The Raptors acquired Leonard — along with Danny Green — from the Spurs for a package centred around DeMar DeRozan in a blockbuster trade last offseason.

Green will also be a free agent this offseason and said he would like to return to Toronto. But, he added Leonard's decision will have an impact on his.

"He can change a whole organisation," Green said.

As Klay Thompson writhed in pain on the floor of Oracle Arena, laying with him in ruin were the Golden State Warriors' hopes of completing a three-peat of NBA titles.

Thompson, having landed awkwardly on his left leg after a foul by Toronto Raptors swingman Danny Green as he attempted a dunk, was helped from the court with what was later revealed to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

At that point, the Warriors were leading 83-80, but with Golden State minus Thompson as well as Kevin Durant, the odds were stacked against them preserving that advantage and forcing a Game 7. However, Thompson – knowing not taking the resultant free throws would prevent him from being allowed to return if able – limped back out of the tunnel to nail both – his brief re-emergence sending a raucous home crowd into hysteria.

It was yet another indelible moment in the history of a 53-year-old building that has been the scene of so many for the Warriors and, as Golden State bid farewell to their Oakland home ahead of a move back across the bay to San Francisco and the glistening new Chase Center, epitomised the spirit that has defined this battered and bruised team's efforts in an absorbing Finals series.

Fittingly, the Warriors did not collapse after Thompson left the game for good and they led going into the final five minutes. A bad pass from Green even gave the Warriors a potential last shot to win and force Game 7, but Stephen Curry's 27-foot three-point effort bounced off the back of the rim.

With Curry – the Warriors' only healthy primary scorer in the closing minutes – being hounded by a swarming Raptors defense, Kevon Looney battling a fractured sternum and a bench woefully lacking in depth compared to that of Toronto, Golden State's success in staying in the game until the bitter end is worthy of the effusive praise head coach Steve Kerr delivered after the game.

"It's amazement that we're sitting in this position with, during the game we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7 and go back to Toronto," Kerr said. "And you just think, how? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it?"

The pride the Warriors and their fans may feel in the immediate aftermath will soon have to give way to a realisation of the extremely challenging situation they now face heading into next season.

Thompson and Durant are scheduled to be two of the big prizes on offer in free agency, but the Warriors will be determined to try and keep one if not both, with Thompson much more likely to remain with Golden State. Yet, even if they somehow hang on to both, the Warriors will be paying lucrative contracts to players largely unable to contribute in 2019-20.

Durant will likely miss most of next season with his ruptured Achilles suffered in Game 5 while Thompson is unlikely to return until early 2020. Any salary cap space the Warriors allocate to re-signing Thompson or Durant will have a knock-on effect on their ability to add to a bench in dire need of reinforcements, meaning the severely depleted side that fell short on Thursday could form the basis of next season's team.

The burden will therefore fall on Curry to carry the Warriors' hopes for their first year back in San Francisco but, with a lack of other scorers around him, there is a blueprint to minimising his impact executed to near-perfection by the Raptors that others will surely look to replicate and make Golden State's path to the playoffs an arduous one.

As the scene of five straight NBA Finals appearances, Oracle was a home built on the spirit encapsulated by Durant's ill-fated decision to return from a calf injury, Thompson's memorable free throws and the Warriors' refusal to go quietly in the face of a deck heavily stacked against them. Yet this final show of grit in Oakland was an incredibly costly one that may turn what should be a celebratory first season at Chase Center turn into a damp squib.

Kyle Lowry struggled to comprehend what he had achieved with the Toronto Raptors after taking the long road to an NBA title.

Point guard Lowry scored 26 points and provided 10 assists as the Raptors secured a 114-110 victory in Game 6 on Thursday to dethrone the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

The 4-2 series success secured Toronto a maiden championship in the franchise's history, while it was also a first ring for Lowry, who arrived from the Houston Rockets in a trade in 2012, in his 13-year NBA career.

"Words can't explain how I feel. It's been a long, long time," he told the media.

"Thirteen years of NBA basketball. A couple [of] years of college. A couple [of] years of high school basketball. And to be able to say I'm a world champion, it makes me feel great.

"To do it with the group of guys that we did it with is amazing, like it's just kind of still surreal. Kind of, it hasn't hit me yet.

"I'm still kind of in this moment of just like, 'Is this real yet?' And for me just at the end of the day, I work extremely hard on my game, I work extremely hard on myself, and I am extremely hard on myself.

"And I'm happy to be able to say I'm a champion - it's been a long time coming."

Lowry was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round back in 2006, spending three years there and in Houston before joining the Raptors.

The 33-year-old has thrived in Toronto, making the Eastern Conference NBA All-Star roster for five successive seasons. He also won a gold medal as part of the United States' squad at the 2016 Olympics in Rio too.

Asked in his post-game press conference if he ever wondered about "keeping the battle going", he replied: "No. I always wanted to keep working, I love this game, I love this job, I love my life.

"I just continue to grow, just continue to get better as a man, as a basketball player, as an individual."

Lowry struck up a close friendship with DeMar DeRozan during their time together in Canada before the latter was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the deal to acquire Kawhi Leonard last year.

While the trade was disappointing from a personal point of view, Lowry understood the decision taken by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and quickly buckled down to make it work with his new team-mate.

"When he made the trade as a friend of mine, my emotions were there, but I understood that I had to go to work, and I still played for the Toronto Raptors," Lowry said. 

"So I knew that that's my job, my job was to go out there and to be the best basketball player I could be."

Nick Nurse hopes his incredible journey to winning the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors will "inspire" other coaches.

The Raptors were crowned NBA champions for the first time on Thursday after a 114-110 triumph over the Golden State Warriors sealed a 4-2 series success.

Steve Kerr's Warriors came into the Finals looking for a third straight Larry O'Brien Trophy, but inspired by offseason trade recruit Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors upset the odds.

For Nurse, it completed one of the more unusual coaching stories, with a career that has seen him lead teams like the Birmingham Bullets, Manchester Giants, London Towers, Brighton Bears and Telindus Oostende.

He returned to North America and coached in the G League from 2007 until 2013, before spending five years as a Raptors assistant and finally landing an NBA top job with the same franchise in June 2018. 

"Well, I would hope it inspires some people that are in those situations to keep working," Nurse told reporters after the famous victory at Oracle Arena.

"I always say that all those jobs meant the world to me at the time, winning with Birmingham in 1996, winning with Rio Grande Valley, whatever year that was. And those games and jobs meant the world to me and I loved all those jobs. 

"I think you can't do very good work if you don't love what you're doing. I never really got discouraged. I didn't really care about the level I was coaching at, I was just trying to learn and get better. That's it."

Nurse feels the way the beaten Warriors battled all the way through the postseason despite the injuries suffered by the likes of Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson will have increased the level of respect they hold around the league.

"A hundred percent," the 51-year-old said. "That was hard on them. I think they had a rough year injury-wise, and they kept playing. 

"They got through some playoff rounds and guys in and out. And obviously a lot of things, a lot of bad breaks in the Finals, to be honest.

"Like us, they kept on playing. They were super-intense, high-level games and both teams desperately trying to win. I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach [Steve] Kerr and his staff and their players, for sure."

Stephen Curry admitted it was tough to watch Golden State Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson suffer a serious injury on a "freak play" during Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Thompson was hurt in the closing minutes of the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, landing awkwardly when fouled by Danny Green in the process of attempting to dunk.

The five-time All-Star initially headed towards the locker room but returned to the court to shoot two free throws, hitting both to put the Warriors 85-80 ahead.

However, the Raptors went on to win 114-110 and clinch a 4-2 series triumph, with Golden State later confirming a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Thompson's left knee following an MRI scan.

"It's just tough in terms of a guy like Klay that left it all out there. He was playing amazing tonight," Curry told the media prior to the official injury update from the Warriors.

"And to see a freak play like that where he lands awkwardly. I don't know the diagnosis yet, but you think about the person and the guy and how much he loves to play the game and that's the only thoughts you have." 

The Warriors had the chance to take the lead in a dramatic finish to the contest, only for Curry's three-point attempt to stay out.

Yet the two-time NBA MVP had no regrets with the attempt from deep, stating: "The shot was one I take 10 out of 10 times.

"We ran a play that was kind of - we got a decent look off of kind of a bobbled catch, and I could see the rim, so I shot it.

"I'll live with that. We always talk about that, myself and Klay, in terms of shots that we take, you live with it. I would shoot that shot every day of the week."

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