Michael Malone brilliantly campaigns rival Lakers to commit organizational mistake

Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone in the first quarter
Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone in the first quarter / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of reasons why the Denver Nuggets triumphed over the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs for the second straight season, and in 11 out of their last 12 games overall. Not least of which was coaching, and the advantages created by Michael Malone and his staff. Darvin Ham looked overmatched at times during this series, and throughout his brief head coaching tenure.

Darvin Ham has not been a good coach for the Lakers

Ham has been slow to adjust, has poorly managed his timeouts, and his rotations have been questionable at best. That’s not even to mention the overall schematics and X’s and O’s and the way he utilizes the talents of his stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Simply put, Darvin Ham is not a good NBA head coach right now, or at least not a good coach for this Lakers team. So perhaps it was a little tongue and cheek and perhaps some gamesmanship on the part of Coach Malone when he so vehemently defended his coaching brethren.

"“I think Darvin Ham is a hell of a coach. That’s not an easy job. I think Darvin does it with class. He’s a good man, good coach, and I wish him all the best. Hopefully, he’ll be around there for a long time because he deserves to be.”"

Michael Malone

Of course you are never going to hear a coach being overly critical of one of his peers, but you don’t often hear this type of praise either. It really seemed like Malone was going to bat for Ham and committing his public support of his fellow coach.

It was a classy move by Malone, but what if he meant that last line a little more literally than it seemed? Malone surely realizes that he has a major advantage over Ham and has been coaching circles around him for a couple of seasons. One of the biggest things the Lakers can do this offseason to improve their chances of contending would be to hire an elite coach.

Genius move by Michael Malone

That isn’t going to happen if Ham keeps the job and Malone knows it as well as anyone. So while it’s no guarantee that a better coach than Ham would be available, and it’s no guarantee a better coach would even improve the Lakers’ ultimate destiny, it does seem that they won’t be getting over the hump with Ham at the helm. 

Hopefully, this was another crafty move by Malone to try and beat the Lakers yet again, this time by convincing them not to fire their floundering head coach.