DENVER — Michael Malone was straight forward when talking about the importance of the 2022 offseason at his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday.
"I think this might be the biggest offseason, at least for me, and my perspective since I’ve been here,” the Denver Nuggets head coach said.
Malone continued, saying it won’t just be about a healthy roster,.
"Everybody wants to say, 'Well it’s just Michael (Porter Jr.) and Jamal (Murray) coming back healthy.' I think that’s a starting block but it doesn’t end there," Malone said.
"We have a window. And I think windows are only open so long. We have a 27-year old phenom, we have to capitalize while we have a player, a special player, in Nikola (Jokic) and do everything we can as an organization, and I know we will, put the best players around him."
But does that challenge of finding those best players create pressure for Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth?
Both he and Nuggets president Tim Connelly will be tasked with piecing together a roster fit for a championship run.
"I don’t know if pressure is the right word," Booth said. "To have a legitimate top guy, a top-3 guy in the NBA, and be bestowed the task of trying to put a roster around him that he can get the championship and go all the way … I think it’s an honor."
And as Jokic approaches winning his second consecutive league MVP, coach Malone says the Joker can still improve.
"He’s got to find his voice even more. I think he could be a great leader," Malone said. "If he was willing to just be more vocal, in good times and more importantly in bad times, it would be a profound impact."
Both Booth and Malone mentioned the upcoming NBA draft in June as a way to improve their roster, but Booth also said that they are not married to the pick and could potentially offer it up in a trade for a more established player.
The Nuggets extended Malone’s contract in March and will have the ability to sign Jokic to a “super-max” contract extension this summer.
So with their head coach and superstar in place, the Nuggets now look to find the pieces that will take them to the next level.
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