sacramento kings

The Sacramento Kings today named Michael Malone as the team’s 25th Head Coach (14th of the Sacramento era), according to team owner Vivek Ranadivé. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Michael Malone is one of the best and most talented coaches in the game,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. “As Vice Chairman of the Warriors, I developed a great relationship with Coach Malone and witnessed first-hand how instrumental he was to the success of the team.  His work ethic, passion, and vision for the game will create an entirely new culture and style of play. Hiring Coach Malone is our first step in giving the best fans in sports the excellence they deserve.”

Malone brings 12 years of NBA coaching experience to Sacramento, having most recently served as the lead assistant for the Golden State Warriors under Mark Jackson the past two seasons. Malone helped pilot the Warriors to a 47-35 record and a trip to the 2013 NBA playoffs, where they upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round as the sixth seed and took the eventual Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs to a hotly-contested six games in the semi finals.

The Warriors were one of the most improved defensive teams in the NBA under Malone’s tutelage last season, as evidenced by huge statistical jumps in rebounding (from 28th to 3rd), defensive rebounding (24th to 1st), opponent field goal percentage (20th to 3rd) and opponent three-point field goal percentage (28th to 7th). The Warriors had not finished in the top half of the league in opponent field goal percentage since ranking seventh in 1998-99.

Prior to Golden State, Malone worked as the lead assistant in New Orleans and helped the Hornets achieve a 46-36 record and a trip to the 2011 NBA Playoffs.  The Hornets were the most improved defensive team in the NBA in 2011, allowing a league-best 8.7 fewer points per game than in the previous campaign (94.0 ppg, after giving up 102.7 ppg in 2009-10).  Additionally, the Hornets limited their opponents to 45.7 FG% in 2010-11 compared to 48.3 FG% the previous season.

Malone also served as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons, during which the Cavs posted a 272-138 (.663) record, third-best mark in the NBA over that span.  The Cavaliers made five consecutive playoff appearances during Malone’s time on the bench, reaching the NBA Finals in 2007 and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.  In 2008-09, the Cavs notched a franchise record and NBA-best 66 wins.

Malone’s NBA coaching career began with a four-season stint with the New York Knicks, where he originally joined the team as a coaching associate in the summer of 2001, and was promoted to assistant coach in May 2003.  Prior to joining the Knicks, Malone spent seven years coaching in the college ranks.

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner says: The Kings have a lot of roster work to do before any head coach, no matter how talented, can turn this team into a winner.