Returning NBA Coach Profile: Michael Malone (Denver Nuggets)

Ryan Loftis By Ryan Loftis, 26th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Basketball

A profile of Michael Malone, the new head coach of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

Early Years

Born in Queens, N.Y., in 1971, Michael Malone is the son of Brendan Malone, who has nearly 30 years of NBA coaching experience. The younger Malone spent a season at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts and two seasons at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey before playing at Loyola College in Maryland. He graduated from Loyola in 1994.

College Coach

Malone began his coaching career as an assistant at Oakland University in Michigan in 1994. The following year he became an assistant coach at Providence College, a position he held until 1998. He spent the 1998-99 season as the University of Virginia's director of basketball administration and then returned to coaching as the lead assistant at Manhattan College.


The New York Knicks hired Malone as a coaching associate in the summer of 2001 and promoted him to assistant coach in May 2003. After four years in the Big Apple, Malone headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers won 66 percent of their games during Malone's five years as an assistant coach and recorded the NBA's best record twice. Cleveland advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2007 and won a franchise record 66 games in the 2008-09 season.

Malone became the New Orleans Hornets' lead assistant coach in 2010, and during his one season in the Big Easy the Hornets were the NBA's most improved defensive team, posted a 46-36 regular-season record, and made the playoffs. He followed this by serving as the Golden State Warriors' lead assistant coach from 2011-13. The Warriors were a remarkably improved defensive team in 2012-13, a season that saw them post a 47-35 regular-season record and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings announced Malone as their new head coach on June 3, 2013. His father Brendan was hired as a Kings assistant coach three weeks later but resigned in October 2013. The Detroit Pistons hired the elder Malone as an assistant coach in May 2014 (he won two championship rings during a previous stint as a Pistons assistant).

The Kings had never won more than 46 percent of their games and gone through six coaches in the seven seasons before Malone's arrival. There was no noticeable improvement in Malone's first season, as the Kings went 28-54 in 2013-14. The 2014-15 season got off to a promising start as the Kings won nine of their first 15 games, but Sacramento went into a tailspin after a case of viral meningitis took star center DeMarcus Cousins out of the lineup. The Kings were 11-13 and tied for 10th in the Western Conference when Malone's firing was announced on Dec. 15, 2014.

Denver Nuggets

Malone was announced as the Denver Nuggets' new head coach on June 15, 2015. The Nuggets had made nine straight playoff appearances under Coach George Karl (although they only advanced past the first round once), but the team struggled after Karl's firing in June 2013. Head coaches Brian Shaw and Melvin Hunt compiled a 66-98 record, and the Nuggets missed the playoffs both seasons. Ironically, Karl is the Kings' current coach.


Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Michael Malone, Sacramento Kings

Meet the author

author avatar Ryan Loftis
I graduated from Central Michigan University with a journalism degree and have been a freelance writer for various print and online publications since then.

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