Daily Nugget: Michael Malone’s thoughts on coach’s challenge

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@Eric_Spyros

“I think that coaches are still trying to figure it out. The intent is that they want to get the calls right, but there are so many things that go into it.”

“It may cause some friction because the player says ‘I didn’t step out of bounds’ or ‘I didn’t foul him’, but you know it’s probably better to hold onto that challenge for an end-of-game situation.”

“As you see it kind of play out, most coaches like to keep it (the challenge) in their pocket for late game situations. The only time I can see using it early is if you’re trying to protect a great player (from foul trouble).”

Those were the words of Nuggets head coach Michael Malone ahead of his team’s 116-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Malone was asked several questions related to his thoughts on and use of the newly-instated coach’s challenge.

Through Denver’s first 15 games, Malone is 0 of 3 on challenges, with all three being challenges on called fouls. That follows a serious trend that has developed league-wide this season, as there have been 118 challenges on foul calls, compared to a combined 25 challenges on out-of-bounds or goaltending calls (per the NBA’s tracking of challenges through Nov. 23).

Overall, there is a 39 percent overturn rate this season, with out-of-bounds (67 percent) and goaltending (57 percent) calls having the greatest chance of being overturned. 34 percent of called fouls have successfully been challenged this season, which given the volume of those challenges, lowers the overall success rate.

Malone also follows a league-wide trend by holding on to his challenge for late-game situations. 75 percent of challenges have come in the second-halves of games this season, including 49 percent in fourth quarters. It will certainly be interesting to see how the coaches continue to use the challenge system.

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