Michael Malone once coached Demarcus Cousins and I couldn’t believe the Kings got rid of the one coach Demarcus Cousins was able to form a connection with. Malone’s
tenure on the Nuggets has been good, he led the Nuggets to 54 wins last season and they lost in 7 games to the Portland Trailblazers. Nurkic is no superstar but the Blazers were going with Kanter at the 5 and still beat the Nuggets last year. This season the Nuggets are third out West with a 43-21 record and no one is taking them seriously. Everyone is figuring the League will give us a Kawhi-LeBron showdown to boost ratings which have dropped this season but we might be in for a surprise. Either Michael Malone shocks me and leads the Nuggets to the Conference Finals or they lose in the first round to a team like the Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks. Most would say the Mavericks and Rockets have more star power since the Rockets boast Westbrook/Harden and the Mavericks Luka/Porzingis but the Nuggets have continuity on their side.
I believe if Michael Malone can not get this team in the Conference Finals the season is a fail. I understand the Nuggets have young pieces in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray who are seen as the cornerstones of the franchise but they have a player coming off that bench that Michael Malone is not managing right in Michael Porter Jr. I know the kid has struggled with injuries but he is not even logging 20 minutes a night which is ridiculous in my opinion. Michael Porter Jr might be the best offensive and defensive player the Nuggets have and it is mind boggling that Michael Malone does not realize this. He DNP’s Michael Porter Jr against the Hornets not too long ago and I really just don’t know what to make of his decisions anymore. If you are a Nuggets fan do you applaud how Michael Malone is handling this? Looking at the Western Conference I never just look at big names, I look at team chemistry,unselfishness, and obviously you need a superstar and the Nuggets have one in Nikola Jokic.
I’ve loved Nikola Jokic ever since he came into the league, he is leading the Nuggets in points,rebounds,and assists and has a PER of 25 which is really good. When I think of Nikola Jokic I remember Vlade Divac,Arvydas Sabonis,Bill Walton,and Tim Duncan. All those bigs were all-around players, they could all rebound at a high level,make their teammates better, and score in a multitude of ways. None were super athletic and relied on fundamentals a lot like Nikola Jokic currently does. If you have not been keeping up Nikola Jokic got off to a slow start this season due to being out of shape but it seems he is getting better and better as the season prolongs. The NBA expects a decent amount of coaches to get fired this season and I believe Michael Malone should be on that list. Sometimes the locker room needs a new voice and what if Michael Malone is really holding back Michael Porter Jr?
I kid you not last season I never really cared that the Nuggets won 54 games because I knew they needed one more piece and that piece was Michael Porter Jr. They needed a wing who can create his own shot and get a consistent 20-30 points a night. Michael Porter Jr is 6’10,can shoot from all over the floor,can handle and make plays for others, not to mention his wingspan and athleticism which make his potential on defense something I’ve been craving to watch but I can’t because Michael Malone refuses to put him in the game. I remember watching the Nuggets playing in Boston about a month ago and the moment Michael Porter Jr was put in the game the Nuggets looked like the Golden State Warriors out there with the off-ball movement and spreading the ball around 6-7 times before taking a shot. Michael Porter Jr went on a short scoring spree and looked like Kevin Durant out there for a couple minutes. I really believe if Michael Porter Jr is given a featured role he could become an all-star next season easily.
To conclude what if the Nuggets lose in the second round once again or maybe they lose in the first round? What happens with Michael Malone? The Nuggets need a new voice in the locker room, Malik Beasley was traded way and has blossomed into one of the Timberwolves main scorers now, on the Nuggets he was used as a 3 and D wing only. What does that say about Michael Malone? He’s been preaching defense and unselfishness all season and there is no excuses for these coming playoffs for Michael Malone. He has the superstar in Nikola Jokic and a high scoring wing in Jamal Murray, the Nuggets also added Jerami Grant over the off-season to help Nikola Jokic on the defense side of the ball and provide rim-protection which isn’t one of Jokic’s strengths. Michael Porter Jr wanted to take the league by storm this season and has not been able to due to Michael Malone, I would ship Malone out of town and give Kevin McHale a call. He was part of what is referred to as the best NBA team of all-time the 1986 Celtics which went 67-15, McHale could help take Jokic to legendary status. It’s West Finals or fail for the Nuggets, till next time.