Clifford has been rehired after four years off.
Yesterday, the Charlotte Hornets introduced their new head coach, a familiar face that some weren’t expecting to make a comeback: Steve Clifford. Clifford originally served as the coach of the team back in 2018, but was fired by general manager Mitch Kupchak. Since then, Clifford and Kupchak stayed on good terms while Clifford went to coach for the Orlando Magic. This year, as the Hornets were looking for a new coach, they were originally planning to hire Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson, but he backed out at the last minute. With a gap in the seat, Clifford was invited back.
“You want to evolve and get better at what you do,” Clifford said at a press conference. “I have coached a lot more games than I had when I was here the first time and worked with another team. You learn a lot from that.”
Clifford is happy to be back in the position, and has full confidence in the current Hornets roster. “One of the things that you look for is the potential for growth as you watch film and I think this is a group that can get better and better,” Clifford said. “I look at this team as well put together, they fit well together and they can play a style that fits into what wins in this league right now.”
Steve Clifford is returning as the Hornets HC, per @wojespn
Clifford last coached for Charlotte in 2018 pic.twitter.com/jNeVXXqkUP
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 24, 2022
“We are going to play offensively with a very similar emphasis that they have played with the last couple of years,” Clifford said. “Offense starts with playing through the strengths of your best players and [point guard LaMelo Ball] is a great talent with a passion for the game and a flair for playing in the open court and we want to take advantage of that.”