Mike Malone was hired as the Sacramento head coach to help change the team culture. In the final years of the Maloof ownership things had spiraled out of control, Malone was brought in to right the ship.
He did that. He built a defensive identity for the team, connected with DeMarcus Cousins and created a structure, one that was just starting to result in wins on the court. Then Cousins got hurt, the Kings went on a losing streak, and the new Kings ownership decided what they really wanted was a running team. So Malone got axed.
Denver could use some culture shock after the Brian Shaw era. Malone could provide that, and he’s getting a second interview, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Melvin Hunt is considered the clear frontrunner here. Players like him and the team responded and played well for him — so well that it started to mess up their draft pick, so management forced Hunt to rest guys down the stretch.
The Nuggets still seem to be undecided on a direction — the defensive-minded Malone and the offensive-minded Mike D’Antoni are radically different in style and would require radically different rosters.
The Nuggets want to have their new coach in place before the draft. Then on draft night and into the summer expect Denver to be active trading partners as they try to reshape that roster and culture.