Magic Bring Back a Familiar Face in Steve Clifford
While all eyes may be on the NBA Finals right now the Orlando Magic are making some news of their own with the hiring of a new head coach. On Wednesday Orlando hired Steve Clifford as their 14th head coach in franchise history. This should be viewed as a solid hire as Clifford is a proven NBA head coach. Clifford also has ties to the Magic, having served as an assistant coach for five seasons from 2007-2012. During this time the team was highly successful reaching the playoffs in all five years, including the NBA Finals in 2009. But it is not just his history with the Magic that make Clifford a great choice, he also helped turn around the Charlotte Hornets franchise. Here’s what President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman had to say about the hire.
“We are very excited to welcome Steve back into the Magic family. Steve is widely regarded throughout the NBA community as an elite coach and developer of players at all stages. His teams have always been disciplined and prepared, and have embraced the concept of playing for each other.”
Another nugget that some of you may not know about Steve Clifford, is that this is not the first time that Jeff Weltman and John Hammond has their eyes on Clifford. The duo was all set to hire him in Milwaukee, only to have the Hornets beat them to it. Now, five years later they finally have their guy.
Welcome back, Coach Clifford! pic.twitter.com/F21uCxM3KP
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) May 30, 2018
Another thing that stood out to the front office when hiring Clifford is the way that his teams are coached. Clifford’s teams tend not to lose games themselves. Instead, their discipline requires other teams to come in and beat them. It also doesn’t hurt that Clifford is familiar with the division. Orlando is now relying on Clifford to bring discipline to this young squad as well as stability. The team has recently gone through head coaches like a turnstile at Disney World. Clifford inked a 4-year deal and the team is counting on him to still be around when it expires.
Moving forward Clifford will begin evaluating the roster as the team prepares for the draft. Whoever they select with the 6th overall pick will be expected to play a key role in helping Orlando snap their longest postseason drought in franchise history. The NBA Draft is set for June 21st.