Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone says Jamal Murray became the leader of the team

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ahead of the NBA Saturdays game between the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings this weekend, Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone talked about his team.

On the leaders in the Denver Nuggets team

Michael: “Jamal [Murray] has really taken on the challenge of assuming those responsibilities. Being more vocal, being more of a leader and it’s great to see. This is Jamal’s fourth year and obviously we want him to be a great player but we also want him to assume that leadership mantel. And he’s trying. It’s not something where he has arrived yet. For some of our other guys they’re learning to find their voice and get comfortable with their voice.”

On the Denver Nuggets’ defense in the lane and guard against the 3-point shooting

Michael: “It’s hard to take away paint and 3; only the truly elite defensive teams are able to do that at a high level. The last couple of years there have only been a handful of teams that have been top 10 in paint defense and 3-point defense. That’s one of the challenges we’ve had going into this year — trying to be both. It requires a multiple effort, fly-around mentality. It’s not always going to be perfect. There will be breakdowns but do you have third, fourth effort behind that to cover up any mistakes that have been made.”

On Jerami Grant

Michael: “Him settling for 3s earlier wasn’t just on him, it was also on me. How can I put him in different spots? I even went back after maybe our first 10 games and watched a bunch of film of him in Oklahoma City and how they used him. Now, we don’t have Russell Westbrook and Paul George or Steven Adams but I wanted to put him in areas where I feel and believe he can attack. He’s done that and the last four or five games we’ve seen a more aggressive Jerami Grant, and that’s great for him, but more importantly it’s great for us.”

On Will Barton

Michael: “He’s a complete player. That’s what you love about Will. He can create for himself, he can create for his teammates. He’s our second-leading rebounder and I can’t say enough about that because he’s been really good on both ends of the floor in all areas.”

On the reserve players

Michael: “The activity, the defense, the pushing the ball, attacking the basket, when those guys play downhill we’re a much different team. Sometimes we get caught playing side-to-side and that’s when we struggle as a second unit.”

NBA Saturdays presented by NBA2K20 on Sky Sports – part of a record 48 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 8.00pm every weekend. This week on 30 November the Sacramento Kings host the Denver Nuggets on Sky Sports Arena from 10.00pm.