Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone nominated for Rudy Tomjanovich Award

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

After leading the Denver Nuggets to a 54-28 record in the regular season, Michael Malone has been nominated for the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which is given to a head coach each season by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). According to the Association, the award recognizes the coach who best combines excellent in his craft with cooperation with media and fans.

In his fourth season as head coach of the Nuggets, Malone led his team to 54 wins, the best record the team has had since the 2012-13 season. With a rotation full of quality players, Malone had to balance playing time, lineups and strategies as Denver suffered through several injuries to key players throughout the season. Ultimately, the Nuggets still finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference.

"(Malone) has done a great job,” Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said late in the regular season. “I don't think any coach in the league right now has this many guys that can start. He's done a great job of managing everyone's minutes and managing rotations. He's done a great job of doing what he has to do and making tough decisions."

The Nuggets had fallen short of the playoffs by just one game in each of the past two seasons, which has made the success they have enjoyed this season that much sweeter.

"This is four years in the making,” Malone said after Denver clinched a playoff spot in mid-March. “Two years in a row coming up just shy, one game short. I'm so happy for all of our guys. We put a lot of work into this.”

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Over the course of his tenure with the Nuggets, Malone has developed a strong reputation and connection with the media and fans. Malone will respond to all questions asked of him and will regularly address media members by their first name when responding to a question. Of course, Malone is also known to throw in a witty one-liner here and there. It is that dedication and cooperation that is honored by the Rudy Tomjanovich Award each season.

The other finalists for this season’s Rudy Tomjanovich Award are Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn Nets), Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets), Nate McMillan (Indiana Pacers) and Doc Rivers (LA Clippers).

The award is named for Rudy Tomjanovich, a former Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers head coach who was always professional and respectful while dealing with the media. Tomjanovich coached 13 seasons in the NBA and amassed a 527-416 regular-season record and a 51-39 postseason record during that span. His Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

The PBWA is composed of more than 200 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.

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