The wait is over, and the Orlando Magic finally have their Head Coach.
“We brought him in (to Milwaukee in ‘13) and he blew us away,” President of Basketball Operations, Jeff Weltman explained. “He was so prepared and passionate. Really just very thorough in every aspect as far as how he approaches player development, X’s and O’s, game management, organizational abilities - everything.”
The Orlando Magic went with familiarity in Steve Clifford, 56, who previously coached the Charlotte Hornets in addition to assisting Stan Van Gundy in Orlando from 2007 to 2012.
The Orlando Magic need a coach capable of developing young talent, and building a foundation. The Magic have not achieved a playoff berth since the Dwight Howard days of 2012, and will look to reenter the conversation under Clifford sooner, rather than later.
Clifford finished his Hornets’ tenure with a 196-214, highlighted by an initial 22 win improvement in his first season, leading the Hornets to a playoff seed.
Two years later, the Hornets, led by Kemba Walker, managed 48 wins and a seven game series in round one against Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat.
Steve Clifford may be known for his defensive prowess, but offensively is where Magic fans may see the biggest shift.
Clifford certainly checks many of the boxes Magic fans were looking for heading into this offseason. But Clifford’s health remains a concern.
“Clifford also experienced a frightening health scare. Suffering from crippling headaches brought on by a persistent lack of sleep, he took a leave of absence from early December through mid-January and missed 21 games.” – Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
“It was not life-changing, but it’s impacted me a great deal,” Clifford said before the Hornets-Magic game in mid-February. “I said, ‘I know I have to do my job differently.’ And the neurologist’s line was, ‘No, you have to live differently.’” – Steve Clifford
Many theorize the Magic waited to pull the trigger on the hire since April 13th, due to the concerns, but having been cleared medically and introduced to the DeVos family, finally solidified the position.
Next up, the Magic will look to fill out the rest of their coaching staff.
Could Bob Beyer, formerly of Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit, be a candidate for the Assistant Head Coach Position?
We discuss this, the future of Aaron Gordon, the upcoming draft, and so much more.
If you like what you are reading and hearing, please remember to retweet, and subscribe to iTunes today!