Mike Malone reunion with Isaiah Thomas a result of ‘honest’ relationship
The impending reunion between Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone and point guard Isaiah Thomas was one that stemmed from a sincere relationship early in their careers.
Malone had been Thomas’ coach during the 2013-14 season in Sacramento, only two years into the 5-foot-9 dynamo’s career.
Nearly halfway into July, no deal was imminent for a point guard that was only one year removed from being the third-best scorer in the league, putting up 28.9 points per game. When the opportunity arose, Thomas saw a familiar face in Malone.
“I say this with all sincerity: I love the kid,” Malone said before Thomas left for Boston, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. “We hit it off, and what I learned from those relationships was that if you are honest and you are real, it’s going to go a long way.”
“The bigger picture was we had a lot of people around the (Kings) organization trying to get him to be somebody he wasn’t. I didn’t want him to be John Stockton. I think he respected that and admired that, because I wanted him to be the best Isaiah Thomas.”
It is because of that relationship that Thomas, who has said in multiple occasions that he is a starting point guard in this league, is willing to take a sixth man role in hopes to hit the bank in 2019, as the salary cap will expand once more.
Thomas will be used as a scoring punch off the bench, and likely thrive under a coach who knows his skill set very well and is willing to put him in situations to succeed and make the most of his abilities after coming off two hip surgeries in the past year.