Head coach, Michael Malone, was not happy with the Denver Nuggets after a 1-4 road trip. One key point he highlighted was the struggles of the second unit.
“I just told them,” Malone said. “Minutes, I’m gonna start playing different people. You just can’t go out there because you think you’re gonna play, and go out there and do nothing. You’ve gotta bring something to the party.”
Malone also had this to say:
“I thought Justin played pretty well,” Malone said. “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.”
In terms of playing without a true point guard, Malone also added this:
“We’re playing lineups out there with no point guard,” Malone 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.”
All in all, expect a different looking second unit as the Nuggets return home.
Michael Malone to Make Changes to Second Unit Following Disappointing Road Trip
Other Players Who Could See Increased Playing Time
As Michael Malone alluded to, Justin Holiday is a wing who could see extended playing time. He is a veteran who has been on many teams and his experience could be valuable for the younger players. Denver also has the likes of 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 should also be noted that Malone stated the team is expecting Jamal Murray very soon as the month of November comes to an end. Remember, these are still the defending champions and with Nikola Jokic leading the way, they are still one of the most feared teams in the league. A couple hiccups in the road is not going to deter them from defending the crown.
Can Michael Malone and Company Right the Ship?
With Murray set to come back soon and Jokic playing at an extremely high level yet again, the Denver Nuggets should be more than okay. Remember, it was not until about mid December last season when they found their rhythm and truly 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 should not fret.
This is a core who has championship pedigree and has been together for awhile 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.