A day after the Denver Nuggets clinched their playoff spot and in the week in which Nikola Jokic should finally have solidified his hold on the MVP, coach Michael Malone took home some well-deserved hardware of his own. Malone was named the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for April, after leading his squad to a 13-3 record despite suffering more team injuries than a blindfolded logging crew.

It’s Malone’s first Coach of the Month award, and the first for any Nuggets coach since George Karl won the award in 2013. That 57-win team ended in catastrophe, with Danilo Gallinari getting injured in much the same way that Jamal Murray did, and Denver losing in the first round of the playoffs to the nascent powerhouse that was the Golden State Warriors.

If the Nuggets would like to avoid a first round exit and losing both coach and GM after the season that would be great. Too many wonderful things are happening with these Nuggets, who are just starting their own climb to powerhouse status – and Malone is a huge part of that. Congratulations to Coach Malone and the entire Denver staff for their work overcoming adversity, securing a playoff spot and continuing to push forward with their goals for this team. No excuses asked for, and none required.