May 26, 2024

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The Hornets have rehired former coach Steve Clifford after Kenny Atkinson turned him down

The Hornets have rehired former coach Steve Clifford after Kenny Atkinson turned him down

Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most surprising coaches in recent memory, the Charlotte Hornets They reappoint someone they left in 2018, Steve Clifford, to be their new head coach, The The team announced Friday. The Hornets landed first Golden State Warriors Assistant Kenny Atkinson as their head coach, but Atkinson backed off after the Warriors won the championship. That forced the Hornets to spin, and they settled on a coach they knew well.

Clifford’s Trail Charm In the period from 2013 to 2018, he made the playoffs twice in that period. He was fired at the end of the 2017-18 season and took over the Orlando Magic from there. He took Magic to the playoffs twice as well, but when Orlando turned to rebuild, the two sides mutually decided to part. Now Clifford is back at the Hornets which gave him his first chance as head coach.

When Atkinson was initially hired for this position, reports indicated that the former Houston Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni and former Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts was the other finalist. The two were apparently about to compete for the job that Atkinson turned down, but the Hornets went in an entirely different direction by landing Clifford.

Defense was the organization’s priority in the search for a new coach. James Borrego has never built one without a consistent starting position, and that has resulted in two losing games over the past two seasons. D’Antoni and Stott are known for their attacking acumen, and while that would have greatly benefited star goalkeeper Lamelo Ball, Clifford’s reputation as a great defensive mind certainly helped his cause here.

The Hornets know Clifford better than any other team in the NBA. Their decision to reassign him says everything you need to know about him as a coach. They know what they are looking for and think they have found it.

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