NBA insider offers unique look inside a Michael Malone timeout huddle

Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets / Brendall O'Banon/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages

After leading the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship last season, Michael Malone has established himself as one of the best head coaches in the league. Since taking the job in 2015, Malone has led the team to a 410-290 record in the regular season and a 37-31 mark in the playoffs.

This will be the sixth straight season that Malone has the Nuggets in the playoffs, and they’ve won at least one playoff series in four of the last five years. The run - that is very much still going - culminated last season with a 16-4 playoff record en route to a title.

TNT sideline reporter gushes over Malone

On a recent episode of ‘#thisleague UNCUT’, a podcast hosted by NBA insiders Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, Haynes shared some inside details about Malone’s coaching style. Haynes, who is a sideline reporter for TNT can listen into the teams’ huddles during timeouts and worked the Nuggets’ recent games against the Suns and Celtics.

After listening in, Haynes opined that Malone is, “if he’s not number one, he’s definitely one of the top two as far as inspiring, motivating coaches in those timeout huddles”. This certainly doesn’t come as a shock, but it’s still great as a Nuggets fan to hear such high praise for the team’s coach from someone so familiar with the league.

Haynes went further in depth about Malone’s motivational tactics, including how he cusses players out in “a loving cussing out way, if that makes sense”, showing that Malone can be blunt and harsh when delivering his message while keeping the players connected and engaged.

"“I thought I was part of the team… like I was in it. I was transformed like I was about to get in there and help them through this five-minute stretch.”"

Chris Haynes

Haynes also relayed a story he picked up from speaking with Malone after the game about how he will physically touch the players during the huddle, perhaps just a little pat on the leg or the arm. He believes this adds a personal touch and helps establish focus and attention.

Whatever Malone is doing, it’s clear that he has his players motivated and inspired. The team plays with confidence and poise that appears reflective of their coach. Again, none of this is particularly surprising, but it’s good to hear the coach get his flowers and be appreciated for the incredible job he’s doing.