What meaning would Hardaway have in Orlando?
Magic Beat Writer Josh Robbins: There is no doubt that Hardaway’s presence would energize and excite fans. Having a top coach could help the franchise if, as expected, the team continues to struggle early in their rebuilding.
But hiring Magic trainers is essential for reasons other than generating a buzz among the fan base. The Magic must develop their young core of players.
The coach hired, as well as his assistant coaches, must ABSOLUTELY create a culture of accountability. Holding young players accountable is difficult in a situation where a team is just starting to rebuild itself. These young players usually try to move up the pecking order and try to win their next contract, creating obstacles for the coaching staff.
What did he show in Memphis?
Robbins : Hardaway received generally positive reviews for his tenure in Memphis. He’s said to have connected well with his players, and connecting with the players will be a critical task for Orlando’s next coach. Clifford and his assistant coaches connected with their players, got those players to buy into their vision and held the players accountable. Clifford’s successor must do the same.
But in many ways, the task of the next coach will be more difficult in this sense. The rosters that Clifford worked with had the talent and experience to fight for playoff spots. The current Magic roster is most likely a few years away from reaching this point.
Who else could present themselves as serious candidates?
Robbins : Anyone listed in this report could emerge as a strong contender, including Hammon and Unseld. Most NBA insiders also expect the Magic to take a serious look at LA Clippers assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, as Atkinson has relevant experience as a head coach; in 2016, he took over a Brooklyn Nets team that was currently in a similar predicament to the Magic.
Also, it’s critical to point out that the Magic has probably spoken with a long list of candidates before. It is likely that the names of some candidates have not yet been made public.
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