Coaching an NBA championship team holds a lot of pressure. The Toronto Raptors' Nick Nurse hasn't seemed afraid of making tough calls and he's happy to call things as he sees them, too. That's certainly what he's done with Norman Powell, anyway.
Powell, generally a bench player for the Raptors, had enjoyed some more time as a starter in the injury absences of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.
However, Lowry's return against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, December 2 sent Norm back to the bench. Nurse told reporters on Wednesday that he's been straight up with Powell about his role in the team.
In fact, it sounds like he didn't hold back.
Nurse explains that while he appreciates Powell's work, in reality, he remains an "off-the-bench guy."
"I just kind of told him, I said 'Norm, great job, you know, great job filling in but this is, in reality, your role,'" Nurse said, as shown in a video shared by Yahoo Canada Sports.
"'Your role is an off-the-bench guy for this team so let's go kick some butt in this role and start getting used to it.' And I was proud of him for doing that last night. And he was huge. He led the comeback, I thought."
Nurse has shown in the past that he's not the kind to pull punches.
He notably told Pascal Siakam, who has emerged as a leader in the Raptors roster this season, that he was giving away too many fouls as a result of being "not smart."
Raptors fans seemed to agree with Nurse on that occasion, despite their high opinion of Spicy P.
There's evidence of a strong bond between the coach and his players, though, despite his frank way of talking. Siakam made some jabs at Nurse's coaching but it was all taken in good fun.
Whether or not remaining as a bench player is Norm's calling, it seems to be working for the team as a whole.
The Raptors are 15-5 so far this season as they look to defend their first-ever championship.
Powell seems likely to line up as a replacement again when the Raptors take on the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.