Nuggets’ Michael Malone wins NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for April

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was named Western Conference Coach of the Month on Monday after guiding his team to an NBA-best 13-3 record throughout April.

Despite a season-ending ACL tear to Jamal Murray and extended absences to starting guards Monte Morris and Will Barton (hamstrings), the Nuggets actually moved up in the Western Conference standings.

On March 31, the Nuggets were sitting at No. 5 in the West. Heading into Monday’s showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nuggets were the No. 3 seed after knocking off the Clippers on Saturday night.

Under Malone, the Nuggets navigated a brutal stretch of injuries and seamlessly incorporated new guards Shaq Harrison (two-play player), Austin Rivers (formerly a 10-day contract), while elevating the roles of both Facundo Campazzo and P.J. Dozier. Malone also had to manage a difficult frontcourt situation featuring Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and JaVale McGee. Despite the obstacles, the Nuggets kept winning.

Of course, without MVP favorite Nikola Jokic, Malone wouldn’t have been able to handle such a turbulent month. Jokic averaged 24.3 points on 56% shooting from the field, 10.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists. He and Michael Porter Jr. (23.9 points per game on 55% shooting) carried most of the offensive burden, though Denver got uplifting nights from players up and down the roster.

Malone is the first Nuggets coach to win coach of the month since George Karl in March of 2013.

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