Nuggets coach Michael Malone calls NBA’s guest policy “criminal in nature” after 60 days inside bubble

The virtual question cut in and out, but Nuggets coach Michael Malone did exactly what he wanted with the topic.

When asked about having spent “a month and a half or so,” inside the “bubble” before the question cut out, Malone clarified the timeframe and issued a scathing rebuke of the NBA’s bubble policies. He called it “criminal in nature” that coaches weren’t allowed to have family members in the bubble.

“Today is Day 60,” Malone said. “So we have been here, the guys that came down here on July 7 – and there weren’t many of us because we were ravaged with COVID. For the original crew, this is day number 60. And the reason I bring that up is because the players have their families here, which they deserve, which is the right thing to do. The referees are allowed to bring one guest, which is great for the referees. The coaches, the coaches are not allowed to bring anybody. I say, shame on you, NBA. This is crazy.”

Before the Nuggets even arrived at the bubble, Malone raised the issue with local media and said he hoped the NBA would adjust its policies. That hasn’t happened after two months inside the bubble.

“I miss my family, and I think I speak for me, I speak for my coaches and probably all the coaches down here,” he continued. “Sixty days and not having access and not being granted the privilege to have my family come here, to me, is criminal in nature. And that shouldn’t be. That shouldn’t be at all. So, I wanted to get that off my chest.”

While that was Malone’s primary point, he was also asked about adjustments heading into Saturday’s Game 2. For the Nuggets to compete against the Clippers, there needs to be a marked improvement on both ends of the court.

On defense, that means better containment, more effort in fighting through screens, greater help defense and an urgency that their season is on the line.

“It was like layup lines out there at times,” Malone said.

On offense, Malone said the Nuggets need to take more pride in running actual sets.

“As the game wore on, especially in that third quarter, we just came down and jacked quick shots, took too many threes,” he said. “You just can’t come down and run random offense and jack up shots because you’re gonna hurry up to an (butt) kicking.”

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