clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Orlando Magic Coaching Candidate Power Rankings

Plenty of names have been mentioned as possible replacements for Frank we decided to rank them

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

According to NBA experts, the Magic’s future coach will likely be one of the 15 names below.

We’ve assembled all of the candidates that seem to be popping up on the web and social media as possible replacements for Frank Vogel. Some have history with Orlando, others have ties to the Magic’s current decision-makers: Jeff Weltman, the president of basketball operations, and John Hammond, the general manager.

The rankings are based on one man’s opinion of 1) who the Magic would select if they had their choice of the rumored candidates, and 2) how likely the candidate would be to accept the job. Heavily factoring into the ranking is my belief the Magic are intent on bringing in a candidate with no prior head coaching experience in the NBA, allowing the front office to implement a system of their choosing and control develop a young coach.

Feel free to agree, disagree or add any names that may have been left out.

Introducing the candidates to become the Orlando Magic’s fifth coach since 2012....

15. Darrell Armstrong

Darrell Armstrong #10

A longtime assistant under a respected and accomplished head coach. A beloved figure in the city of Orlando. If the Magic were looking to make a PR move, he would probably be their guy. But that’s not the case.

14. Doc Rivers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Seems unlikely that the former Magic coach would go from Los Angeles, where he essentially has autonomy, to Orlando, where Weltman and Hammond are seeking a coach they can groom. But perhaps Doc would welcome an opportunity to make up for that whole Tim Duncan airplane thing.

13. Monty Williams

Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Yet another Magic alum. During his three-year stint with Orlando, he was a member of the beloved “Heart and Hustle” squad in 1999-2000. Unlike many on this list, Williams has head coaching experience in the NBA and in the postseason.

12. David Blatt

Cleveland Cavaliers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In the states, he is known for clashing with LeBron James. In Europe, he is known for the championships he has captured. It would be interesting to see how Blatt does on the sidelines without a domineering puppet-master like LeBron running the show. His interest, thought, might be elsewhere....

11. David Fizdale

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

One of the most eligible coaching candidates on the market. After years as an assistant coach with Atlanta and Miami, Fizdale had success in his first season as head coach of Memphis before things went sour in year two, particularly with Marc Gasol, his clash with whom played a large role in his termination. Not sure he has the temperament for a rebuilding project...or for Aaron Gordon’s shot selection.

10. Adrian Griffin

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Was considered for the Magic job before the team hired Frank Vogel. A longtime assistant coach currently with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He spent one season on the sidelines with the Magic in 2015-2016 as an assistant and was once hired by Hammond in Milwaukee.

9. Steve Clifford

Atlanta Hawks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Recently fired by the Hornets, where he helped old friend Dwight Howard resemble his old self at times. Having served as an assistant coach under Stan Van Gundy in Orlando from 2007 to 2012, ownership is familiar with him. Weltman and Hammond, not so much.

8. Brian Shaw

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, Brian Shaw was considered the Jerry Stackhouse of in-demand coaching candidates. But after a dismal stint as head coach of the Nuggets, the former Magic point guard is now a member of Luke Walton’s staff with the Lakers. A return to the sideline as head coach, and a reunion with Orlando, isn’t far-fetched. And Shaq would approve (tweet from 2012)…

7. David Vanterpool

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A highly-regarded assistant coach for the Portland Trailblazers who was ranked the fourth best assistant in the league in the NBA’s preseason GM Survey.

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports recently asked high-ranking league executives to anonymously name two assistants they see as a coaching prospects and Vanterpool received his fair share of votes....

Vanterpool, 45, has risen rapidly. He joined the Blazers’ bench in 2012 with Stotts after two seasons as a pro scout in Oklahoma City. In Portland, Vanterpool has worked closely with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum – “He has done a remarkable job with our guards,” Stotts told Yahoo Sports – and is the de facto defensive coordinator on Stotts’ staff, leading a defense that ranks in the top 10 this season. Said Stotts: “He really thinks the game like a head coach.”

6. Igor Kokoskov

NBA: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The longtime NBA assistant coach, currently with the Jazz, has ties to both the Magic organization and Hammond. Hammond helped launch the NBA career of Kokoskov with the Clippers and later was the Pistons’ vice president of basketball operations while Kokoskov was on the staff. Kokoskov later served as an assistant coach under Magic interim coach James Borrego in 2015....And for a side note that probably won’t matter thanks to the Magic’s lottery odds, Kokoskov also coached Luka Doncic last summer on the Slovenian national team.

5. Ime Udoka

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Assistant coaches that have worked under Gregg Popovich will have the red carpet laid out for them and get scooped up the same way that Bill Belichick’s coordinators do.

Udoka received some high praise from Pop in a story by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz a few years back about the NBA’s top coaching prospects.

“He exudes a confidence and a comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate to him,” Popovich says. “He’s a fundamentally sound teacher because he’s comfortable with himself, he knows the material and players read it. Often times, I’ll say, ‘Ime, can you go talk to so-and-so? Go talk to Patty Mills, go talk to Timmy, go talk to Kawhi.’ And he’ll do it better than I would do it -- and I’m not blowing smoke. The only thing I don’t like about him is that he doesn’t drink, so I can’t enjoy a glass of wine with him. He’s really boring at dinner.”

4. Rex Kalamian

2018 Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

One of the many coaching candidates within the Raptors organization. An assistant coach who has paid his dues, is adored by players, and has ties to both Weltman (from his Toronto days) and Hammond (from his Clippers days).

3. James Borrego

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Took over for Jacque Vaughn as Magic interim coach, going 10-20, and was replaced after the season by Scott Skilies. A product of the Gregg Popovich coaching umbrella, Borrego has helped the Spurs establish one of the top defenses this season with a defensive rating of 102.4, fourth best in the league.

2. Nick Nurse

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Assistant coaches for top teams are always in demand. Particularly an offensive guru like Nurse, who helped the Raptors seal the top seed with an offensive rating of 111.0 points, third best in the league. A member of the Raptors’ coaching staff since 2013, and with coaching experience in the D-League and internationally, Nurse’s resume is lengthy. Weltman likely knows this from his time as Raptors general manager.

1. Jerry Stackhouse

Adidas Eurocamp 2015 - Day Three Photo by Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images

Perhaps the most in-demand coaching prospect at the moment despite having no NBA head coaching experience. Stackhouse was the first name reported as a potential replacement for Frank Vogel and so far is the lone candidate reportedly set to interview with the Magic. After a successful stint as head coach of the Raptors G League affiliate, Stackhouse is also currently on the radar of the Knicks and Hornets. The link between Stackhouse and Orlando is only as strong as the ties that bind Weltman and Hammond to the two-time NBA All-Star. Weltman was the GM in Toronto when Stackhouse was coaching there, and Hammond was in the Pistons organization when Stackhouse played there. In Orlando, he’ll be afforded the time to grow with the team as the Magic seek a coach that emphasizes player-development.