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February 16, 2019

Michael Malone

Charlotte, North Carolina

Q. On ball-handling and player development:
MICHAEL MALONE: We've had player development coaches who -- Dee Brown when I was in Sacramento and our coaching staff in Denver, John Beckett, and we do a lot of work with ball-handling, player development, one-on-one. We start most practices with ball-handling and finishing drills, at all positions, not just our guards. We have a shooting coach named Mark Price. I don't know if we'll ever get to a point where it's getting that specialized where we need a passing coach, we need a dribbling coach, we need a shooting coach.

As far as the importance of dribbling, I think obviously the ability to handle the ball is always important. As the NBA becomes more and more positionless, like our starting center might be one of our best ball-handlers and passers in Nikola Jokic. And the way positions are guarded now, everybody switches everything. So you have to have the ability to break your man down off the dribble to take advantage of the switch.

I think having the ability to break guys down is more important now than ever just because of the way teams are guarding. You watch the playoffs last year, everybody switches everything, and it turned into a one-on-one matchup every night. Not great basketball, in my opinion, but that's what Houston and Golden State did in the Western Conference Finals. If you can't break down that matchup, they'll keep on doing it. So I think having the ability to break people down off the bounce is more important than ever.

Q. On All-Star honors for the Nuggets:
MICHAEL MALONE: Yeah, I think anytime you can be a part of All-Star Weekend, Nikola Jokic, our coaching staff, I definitely think people view you in a different light. They give you a little more credibility, a little bit more respect. But one thing I love about our group is that we don't need it. If you don't want to give it to us, so what, man? We don't care. We're going to create our own respect. We're going to do what we do, and ultimately teams will take notice, people will take notice. I think you're starting to see that more and more.

Nikola is finally getting the national and international recognition that we've known about for the last couple of years. The fact that we as a staff are lucky enough to be here representing the Nuggets is just even a little further testament to that.

Q. On having his family in Charlotte:
MICHAEL MALONE: Yeah, I got my wife, I got my two girls here. We came here to watch Wes [Unseld Jr.] and the coaches coach last night in the Rising Stars game. I had a hard time watching the game. I'm not lying. I sat there with the wives and the kids, and I'm like, I can't watch this. I was getting angry [laughing]. So I hope tomorrow's a little bit better.

Yeah, we're definitely having fun, making the most of it. Very honestly, I feel very fortunate to be a small part of this weekend.

Q. On the All-Star experience:
MICHAEL MALONE: The NBA, it's the players' league. The All-Star Game is players all the way. I feel really fortunate just to be around these guys. I mean, like last night, a small thing, but Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest players to ever play, he's an assistant coach on Wes Unseld's Rising Stars team. Just hanging out with him in the back in the locker room, being around those guys is amazing.

Dirk is one of the most humble superstars you'll ever meet. I think it's great for our staff to be around all these guys, learn from them, get to know them. And I'm using this as a weekend for people to get to know us, you know what I mean? We think that Denver is on the verge of something special, and hopefully people are going to want to be a part of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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