The only NBA team with the Jazz to look for a new coach after Kenny Atkinson left at the last minute, the Hornets seemed to be heading for the experienced Mike D’Antoni to take over the team. But another name appeared in the rumors. A well-known name in Charlotte because it’s… Steve Clifford.
Will the former Bobcats/Hornets coach return to Charlotte? According to insider Mark Stein, this scenario is becoming increasingly important in North Carolina. Clifford would indeed be in the small papers of owner Michael Jordan to take control of the Hornets following the sacking of James Borrego and a great turnaround by Kenny Atkinson last weekend. As we discussed in our last article on the subject, be careful not to rule out a surprise candidate, despite being the front-runner in Atkinson’s finalist Mike D’Antoni. And here it is in the face of Clifford. The latter ticks a few boxes: he already has the experience that the Hornets are looking for today, those who want to find the playoffs as soon as possible after a six-year absence and two consecutive eliminations from the tournament play-ins. Steve has thirteen seasons in the NBA as an assistant coach on his resume, and especially eight as a head coach between 2013 and 2021. Eight seasons during which he made the playoffs four times, which isn’t all that disgusting considering he never had great fighting machines in his hand in Charlotte and Orlando. Next, Clifford has the home advantage as he still spent five seasons in North Carolina. with Kemba Walker before being released in 2018. Not a very glorious end, but one that obviously doesn’t call into question the impression he was able to leave with the Hornets during his tenure.
Under Clifford’s leadership, the Charlotte team placed in the league’s top 10 defensive effectiveness three times between 2013 and 2016, even finishing in sixth place. It is clear that Steve is known for his ability to impose real defensive discipline on his teams, and Orlando then took advantage of his experience to make a leap in this sector. That’s good, the Hornets really need someone who can turn the nut in their own half of the field.. The Hornets are interesting to watch and attack in all directions, but still score a suitcase of points in almost every game: 22nd in the League defense ranking this year, almost 115 points per game, which is too much to become a real playoff. team in the increasingly formidable Eastern Conference. So, somewhere we tell ourselves that Steve Clifford could be an interesting option for the Hornets, even if he doesn’t bring the same offensive creativity as Mike D’Antoni, who can pass a big cap to point guard LaMelo Ball. . Ultimately, MDA and Clifford offer two completely different coaching profiles, two attractive profiles in some areas and less attractive in others. Who will choose Michael Jordan?
Advising the Nets this season, Steve Clifford is clearly eager to get back to work on the bench. And nowhere, since it was in the franchise that he got his first real experience as an NBA head coach. Four years after the Hornets fired him, is the bald man going to come back?
Text Source: Mark Stein