Nuggets Notes: Thomas' Voice Already Paying Dividends in Practice

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

SAN DIEGO – Sometimes Isaiah Thomas is the hype man. Sometimes he is the smack talker.

Rarely, however, is the Nuggets newest addition silent.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone doesn’t want him to be. Thomas has two main roles on the team. First, to be as devastating a scorer as he has been in the recent past. Second, to be a fountain of information to the younger players on the roster.

Tuesday, the first day of Nuggets training camp, he dove right in to the vocal side.

“Well, we’ve had one practice,” Malone said. “And, I talked to Isaiah before practice. And he said, ‘What do you need from me, coach?’ And I said, ‘Listen, right now you can’t do a lot of stuff on the court. But that’s not the only reason you’re here. I need you to be involved in practice. I need you to pull Jamal (Murray) and Monte (Morris) to the side and tell them what you see. And I need you to be a leader.’

“And he was all of that, and then some in practice number one. Sometimes he’s going to be a hype machine, get everybody hyped up. Sometimes he is going to be the guy talking smack. But one thing I know for sure, Isaiah Thomas is never going to be quiet, and I don’t want him to be quiet. Because he does a great job of being a vocal presence for this group, and I think that’s sorely needed.”

First day impressions: Tuesday was the first day of Nuggets training camp at San Diego State, and coach Michael Malone was pleased with what he saw.

“Today’s first day was like every other first day that I’ve been a part of,” Malone said. “What I mean by that: The energy was great. The guys were excited to be on the court, finally, to start training camp. … But everybody tries to do too much on the first day. So, it gets a little bit frenetic, it gets a little bit sloppy at times. And that’s to be expected. … But all in all, it was a very good first practice.”

Who are the Nuggets?: It seems a simple question: What is the team’s identity?

Many coaches and players dismiss the query in a few words. Not Nuggets coach Michael Malone. He had a detailed, poignant answer about who the Nuggets are going into this season.

“I think we’re one of the most exciting teams in the NBA to watch,” he said. “We talked about our team and our identity, trying to be a team that defends and rebounds at a high level, that will allow us to get out and run with discipline, and we’ve got to value and share the basketball. Those are things that we talk about all the time. But if you’re just an average fan, we are a team that is really unselfish, that plays up-tempo, that plays the game the right way. You’re not going to see 17-dribble possessions with one-on-one (isolation). The ball is going to move. And we’ve got guys that genuinely care for each other. You can see it. I can say it but I think you as a fan when you watch us play you can see us on the floor, the way we play, that we’re really invested in each other. We don’t play just with each other, we play for each other.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter

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