During the first round of the playoffs, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was sure that his team would send the series. Back to his hometown of Denver.
Even after his team’s 4-1 loss to the Warriors in the best-of-seven series. Malone remained confident in his team’s ability to compete and was still mulling over what he may have done differently.
At the opening of his playoff press conference on Wednesday. He remarked, “I genuinely thought we were going to return home for a Game 6 here.”
The team’s seventh-year head coach discussed player growth. The possibility of Nikola Jokic winning the MVP award, and the team’s roster. On the other hand, the attitude was one of hunger after the Nuggets’ fourth straight playoff appearance and a 48-win season.
Since he’s been here, Malone believes this summer has been the most exciting for him. “… I think that windows can only be left open for a certain amount of time. We’ve got a 27-year-old superstar on our hands who should be able to make it two MVPs in a row. We need to make the most of Nikola while we have him. And do all we can as a team to surround him with the most significant players, which I know we will do.
Malone set the tone for the championship
Malone established a championship tone, even if the attention will be on the return of Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery). The Nuggets can’t anticipate that the return of those players would instantly raise the club to the top of the Western Conference standings. ‘ The Nuggets need to focus on the peripheral guys around Jokic, and they can do it with the No. 21 lottery selection and marginal free-agent signings. For example, a backup center and a wing defender might help solidify their franchise cornerstone’s defensive weaknesses.
Denver’s attack will be even more lethal with Murray and Porter on the field. Still, neither can provide the defensive resistance necessary to improve the league’s No. 15 defense from last season. However, both will be constrained because they have missed the most of this season.
According to Malone, this season, the Denver Nuggets’ defense was the worst in the NBA, who cited his team’s poor rim protection.
Although Malone discussed his team’s defensive fortitude, he was also talking about the Warriors’ open driving lanes. The Nuggets must strengthen their on-ball defense to reduce the amount of time Jokic spends close to the basket.
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