Birch was one of the key pieces of Canada’s squad during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and felt playing under Nurse did wonders for his professional development. After spending some time learning from him, Birch now understands why Nurse is viewed as one of the NBA’s top coaches.
“Team Canada has a lot of potential, especially with coach Nurse. With the roster we had, I think he did a really good job, and I imagine if we had all our guys I think we would have won the whole thing,” Birch said during an interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show Monday. “It’s a really good benefit and individually it was good as well, to see my potential. I’ve never had a coach tell me to do those types of things…
“He’s a great guy and down to earth. He’s kind of different from the other coaches I’ve had. He’s really new-school and I see why the Raptors are a very good team.”
Birch has struggled to consistently crack Orlando’s rotation this season, but he is still averaging a career-best 19.4 minutes per game while starting 24 contests. The 27-year-old doesn’t offer much in the way of offence, but is a very capable defender.
Canada’s bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics will have to wait, but expect Birch to eagerly accept another opportunity to soak up Nurse’s wisdom when the time comes.