The Hornets bring back a familiar face and draft LaMelo-approved 'TUFFFFFFFFF' big man
Thankfully, for Charlotte Hornets fans, the search for a new head coach is over. As chronicled, twoweeks ago, it looked like the Charlotte Hornets had found their next head coach in Golden State Warriors' assistant Kenny Atkinson, but one week and an NBA championship later, Atkinson has had a change of heart and informed the team over the weekend that he was not going to take the position. For fans of recycled coaches, the hiring and return of Steve Clifford is a welcome sight.
On Monday's Time out for Sports, The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz, Jr. told WFAE’s Gwendolyn Glenn that he envisions Clifford in a Phil Jackson-esque role with the Hornets, ironic, considering who the owner is.
"Clifford has a good track record," Wertz said. "He took Orlando to two playoff runs, rather, and he worked in Brooklyn with superstars Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant this past season as a consultant. He could be kind of like a Phil Jackson kind of role for Charlotte, you know, an older guy wise without all the Zen, I think it could be a good fit."
Wertz added that he expects a much more successful run for Clifford considering the talent that Mitch Kupchak and company have surrounded superstar LaMelo Ball with.
"He's a guy who's familiar with a lot of Charlotte teams," he explained. "He coached here for five years and he was 196 and 214 when he was here. But his teams didn't make the playoffs twice in five years. Before he got here, Charlotte was one for ten and playoffs and James Borrego's teams never made the playoffs. Remember, they were in the play-in, not the playoffs. And the rosters that Clifford's going to have now are far, far more talented than the ones he had when he had here before."
In other Hornets news, the team drafted Duke big man Mark Williams and as Wertz explains, Williams already received a big-time endorsement from a teammate.
"Williams could be the defensive center the team needs so badly," he said. "He's a familiar being from Duke. He's seven-foot-tall, 245 lbs. and when he sticks his hands up, he's almost grabbing the rim, And right after he was selected, LaMelo Ball tweeted, 'TUFFFFFFFFF,' so he liked the pick as well."
TUFFFFFFFFF— Melo (@MELOD1P) June 24, 2022
You can listen to the full Time Out for Sports conversation above. Here’s a quick look at what else Glenn and Wertz covered this week.
- Ex-Panthers star Luke Kuechly joining radio broadcast team.
- The Charlotte Community will say goodbye to Bruton Smith this week.
- WATCH: Top NBA draft pick has unique basketball bond with his mother.