Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has revealed that he was in Mike Malone's corner back when it was thought that he could be fired by the Denver Nuggets.
Malone has done a splendid job with the team this season and has them sitting pretty atop the Western Conference with an impressive 29-13 record. But things weren't as rosy not too long ago.
Last season, the coach had to deal with several injuries and the team struggled as a result. It was suggested that he would get the boot if the team missed the playoffs. But, after falling short in that regard, missing out by just one game, Denver kept him around and signed him to a new deal before the start of the current term.
Warriors test their mini momentum tomorrow night in Denver against the West-leading Nuggets: 29-13 overall, 18-3 at home. Here's Draymond Green last night when asked about Mike Malone and his Nuggets. pic.twitter.com/UQoIxmnJCl— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 14, 2019
Their faith looks to be paying off. And, ahead of their clash with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, Green has praised the 48-year-old, whom he says he didn't want the Nuggets to fire as he felt that he was the right man for the job.
“Ah, man, he’s done great with them,” the player said, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
“It’s funny, because when you look at last year, I was hoping they didn’t fire him. I honestly felt in my heart that that was the coach for that team. He’s showing that this year. He’s got those young boys rocking.
"The confidence he’s instilled in (Nikola) Jokic - and no one will say, ‘Oh, this guy helped give him confidence’ - but he did. And that’s the difference in their organization right now is they’ve got a guy who’s a guy, if that makes sense.”
What This Means
The Warriors trail Denver by 0.5 games and could gain an advantage with a win on Tuesday. But they must know that it will be a huge task, given the way Malone's men are playing this season.
The Nuggets will also be playing on their home turf, where they've only lost three times so far. And they will be looking to hand the Dubs another loss, having beaten them back in October.
Malone, who has had a challenging start to life as a head coach, is finally showing what he's made of and there's no doubting his credentials now.