‣ Head coach Michael Malone expressed dissatisfaction with the Denver Nuggets‘ performance after a 1-4 road trip, particularly highlighting the struggles of the second unit.
‣ Malone indicated that changes will be made to the second unit, with players like Justin Holiday potentially seeing increased playing time.
‣ Despite recent struggles, the team remains confident with the imminent return of Jamal Murray and the strong performance of Nikola Jokic.
Michael Malone, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, was far from pleased after a 1-4 road trip. He specifically pointed out the struggles of the second unit. “I just told them,” Malone said, “I’m gonna start playing different people. You can’t just go out there thinking you’re gonna play and do nothing. You’ve gotta bring something to the party.”
He had more to say, too. “I thought Justin played pretty well,” Malone commented. “So we’ll see. We’re going home. Very disappointing road trip… That’s the challenge when you have so many young, unproven players off the bench. But we also have games to win, and that delicate balance is a tightrope. But we need to win, and I’m gonna play the guys that are gonna help us get a win.”
Malone also touched on the issue of playing without a true point guard. “We’re playing lineups out there with no point guard,” he said. “We probably had quite a few minutes of that tonight… Reggie, I think, has done a really good job in place of Jamal. But just like if Nikola goes down, we don’t have another Nikola Jokic. We don’t have another Jamal Murray.”
So, what’s the takeaway? Expect a different looking second unit as the Nuggets return home.
Michael Malone to Make Changes to Second Unit Following Disappointing Road Trip
Who might see more playing time? As Malone hinted, Justin Holiday could be one. He’s a veteran who’s been on many teams, and his experience could be valuable for the younger players. Denver also has DeAndre Jordan and Hunter Tyson on their roster. Don’t be surprised if they get some time as the Nuggets look to rebound after their disappointing road trip.
It’s worth noting that Malone said the team is expecting Jamal Murray back soon as November wraps up. Remember, these are the defending champions. With Nikola Jokic leading the way, they’re still one of the most feared teams in the league. A couple of hiccups aren’t going to deter them from defending the crown.
Can Michael Malone and Company Right the Ship?
With Murray set to return soon and Jokic playing at an extremely high level, the Denver Nuggets should be just fine. Remember, it wasn’t until mid-December last season that they found their rhythm and solidified themselves as the top seed in the Western Conference. Denver has a history of hitting some bumps in the road to start their campaigns, so fans shouldn’t worry.
This is a core team with championship pedigree that’s been together for a while now. Jokic is looking like the MVP, Michael Porter is showing signs of growth in defensive areas, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is making a case for All-Defensive Team honors. Don’t expect the defending champions to be down and out for long.