View Full Version : Warriors assistant Michael Malone preaches defense

06-27-2011, 07:46 PM
Rusty Simmons

-- Michael Malone gave us a telling glimpse into his personality, even before his first face-to-face meeting with the Bay Area media.

During a phone interview with the Warriors' new lead assistant coach this month, a crying child acted as background noise. After about five minutes, it had to be asked which of his young daughters was having the temper tantrum.

"Come on, that's not one of my kids. I wouldn't allow it," Malone said. "They would be running suicides right now, and they know it."

Malone, along with new head coach Mark Jackson, plans to bring that kind of discipline to the Warriors this season in an attempt to change decades of lackadaisical defense, backbiting and losing.

"We're not just going to talk about defense. We're going to live it," Malone said. "I don't think defense has been taught there, because of the way they played - trying to outscore opponents. We're going to teach it, and, as we teach it, we're going to hold guys accountable."

The Warriors are hoping Malone's resume will prove to speak louder than the past handful of coaches who have come here talking defense yet walking offense. He's taking a flat-out leap of faith that the franchise is finally serious about making the switch in philosophy.

Malone, 39, is married (Jocelyn) with two daughters (Caitlyn, 6, and Bridget, 5). He has 10 seasons of experience in the NBA after seven years in the college ranks - following in the footsteps of his father, Brendan, who coached in the league for 23 seasons.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won 66.3 percent of their games while Malone acted as Mike Brown's top assistant from 2005 to 2009. The Cavs went to the playoffs all five seasons, including the 2008-09 season, during which they won 66 games and allowed an NBA-low 91.4 points a game.

Malone is widely considered as the mentor who got through to LeBron James and made him understand the importance of defense. What the coach did in his first season as Monty Williams' lead assistant in New Orleans, however, may be as impressive. The Hornets allowed 94 points a game last season, trimming opponents' scoring by 8.7 points a game and leapfrogging 17 teams in the defensive rankings from the previous year.

"We took a team that wasn't given any chance, but we maximized what we had," Malone said. "I'm more proud of that than all the games we won and everything we did in Cleveland. We changed the culture in one year."

Malone certainly had an impact on New Orleans' progress, but he also was working with one of the league's best defensive point guards in Chris Paul, an inside presence in Emeka Okafor and a handful of defensive-minded wing players.

Without major roster changes in Oakland, Malone will be working with two guards who haven't consistently proved willing or able to stop dribble penetration, a center who hasn't shown up for the past two seasons and little depth.

"Can you play defense with two small guards? It's a very interesting question, and I don't have a definite answer," Malone said. "Can they defend? Are they willing to defend? It could be hard to break those habits, but, if they want to win, they'll be willing."

Malone doesn't believe that there's a certain roster formula that equates to success. He's defended and won with small teams, big teams, slow teams and fast teams. The common denominator in all of his successes has been an efficient offense that makes opponents work for every shot on the other end of the court.

All of that becomes quite a bit easier with an eraser or two on the backline. That's why Malone is excited about Ekpe Udoh, why he can't wait for Andris Biedrins to return to form and why he hopes David Lee's competitiveness can translate to better defense.

Malone wouldn't be here if he didn't think it has a chance of working. He had an offer to go to the Lakers and reunite with Brown. He was a finalist for the Warriors' head-coaching gig and probably could have gotten into the running in Detroit, Minnesota or Toronto.

"It is very apparent that this group of guys is committed, passionate and enthusiastic about building something special. I had some great opportunities, but I saw that the Golden State Warriors were beginning a new journey," Malone said. "This is an opportunity to build something special, to change a culture, to change a team's identity and hopefully to change their fortunes.

"My girls have no idea what California is all about, but I have convinced them to be excited about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, the redwood trees and the ocean. They're as sold as I am, and that makes my life a whole lot easier."

Especially since there won't be any tears.


06-27-2011, 07:49 PM
yawn... so weve heard

06-27-2011, 07:54 PM
Yeah this is nothing new.At least not thread worthy imo.I read this article earlier today.:yawn:

06-27-2011, 10:47 PM
nothing new but still good to hear it being said

Lloyd Christmas
06-28-2011, 01:47 AM
If he can get our defense to leapfrog 16 teams like New Orleans last year then he will most likely get a head coaching job next year.

06-28-2011, 03:05 AM
:clap: as if none of us already knew this..