The Denver Nuggets suffered a crushing defeat at home to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. After the game, head coach Michael Malone and forward Danilo Gallinari did not see eye to eye on what could be a massive problem on this Nuggets team: veteran leadership.
Following the defeat, Malone unleashed what he believes is the truth about the state of the Nuggets leadership.
“It’s a joke.” Malone said. “Right now we have no leadership. We have no veteran leadership on this team stepping up. Don’t hear anybody speaking, taking the lead … We need some leadership to shine and step up when we are struggling which we are.”
That’s a pretty bold statement for a coach to say about his vets, and when Danilo Gallianri, a seven-year vet of NBA, got wind of what his coach said, he did not hesitate to disagree with his coach.
“I don’t agree with that.” Gallinari responded to reporters questions about his coaches remarks. “I don’t agree with that. That’s definitely not the problem.”
Gallo does not agree with Malone's assessment and says every veteran will agree with him on that.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 4, 2017
Some teammates seem to agree with Gallinari’s assessment, as both Wilson Chandler and Jameer Nelson re-tweeted video of his postgame statement.
So, both sides clearly disagree with one aspect of the Nuggets struggles, leaving the question whether this Nuggets team at a crossroads?
It sure seems like it. After tonight’s loss it was fairly clear that there was some disagreement between players and coaches. Even on the court towards the end of the game players seemed disengaged, drained, and out of sync with what coach Malone was trying to instill in his team.
It’s one game, but it’s been a boiling issue all season for the Nuggs. The Nuggets are losers of three straight with this now being the fourth time this season they have lost three or more games in a single stretch.
This is the first real time this season we have seen a player, specifically an established NBA player like Gallo, straight up disagree with his coach on record.
This is certainly a developing story and one that will surely clear up as the next couple of days and games pass by, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on.
The Nuggets may be at a crossroads, one that may not just define the team this season, but one that could affect this team longterm.