Following the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the Orlando Magic fired head coach Frank Vogel. Now, they in need of a new one. In particular, new management will likely want a coach who’s friendly to their style of basketball. The Magic front office likes long, athletic players who play strong defense. The next coach will likely need to abide by that build. However, they will of course pick whoever the best available coach for the team is. Here’s a look at the top 5 Orlando Magic coach candidates.
Top 5 Orlando Magic Coach Candidates
5. Rex Kalamian
Many of the coaches on this list are current pieces of the Toronto Raptors organization. From assistant coaches to G-League head coaches, they have several quality members. Kalamian is one. He already has ties to President Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond. Kalamian has been instrumental in building Toronto’s defense into what it is. In fact, it was second best in the league this season. Kalamian would be a good hire for the Magic.
4. Ime Udoka
Udoka won’t be terribly high on every team’s wish list. However, his high praise from Greg Popovich should get Weltman’s attention. Particularly, the San Antonio Spurs head coach praised Udoka as a great teacher who players learn well from. The Magic are still very much in a rebuild. Snagging a coach who’s learned under Popovich and has talent in developing and earning trust from players could make him a great pickup for the Magic.
Vanterpool is another coach who isn’t quite as strong on some teams’ radars. Many in the NBA consider him to be one of the top assistants in the league. He’s a coach who’s considered to really be on the rise. In particular, he’s credited for doing so well with guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland. The ability to work well with guards should be a priority for Weltman. In a guard driven league, it’s a factor no quality organization should skimp on. Overall, Vanterpool could make a fine head coach.
2. Nick Nurse
Nurse is another member of the Raptors organization. In particular, Nurse is an offensive mastermind. That end of the floor is one of the biggest focuses in today’s league. For that reason alone, he should be a major candidate. Toronto had the league’s best offense this year. Nurse was certainly one of many reasons for that. Additionally, he has very strong connections to Weltman. If Weltman chooses Nurse as the next coach, he’ll certainly already know his strengths and weaknesses. That’s something Magic fans can find assurance in. Nurse additionally has two D-League championships. Ultimately, Nurse would be an excellent choice for head coach.
Stackhouse is the consensus best coaching candidate on the market. No team with an open position is uninterested in him. Like Nurse, Stackhouse has prior relations to President Weltman. However, he actually played for the Milwaukee Bucks while Hammond was assistant GM for the organization. There are some concerns over whether a new NBA coach can handle a rebuild like Orlando’s though. Then again, Stackhouse would definitely be given the chance to develop alongside the team. His coaching ability has proved strong on both ends of the floor. Altogether, Stackhouse would be a prime hire, if the Magic can get him.
While Stackhouse is probably the best coach around, Nurse should be the guy the Magic go with. Nurse won two D-league titles and coaches in an incredibly modern and efficient way. While Stackhouse achieved almost exactly that, he doesn’t have the NBA experience Nurse has. Both coaches design their game plan very effectively. However, Nurse’s offensive mind could make the Magic excel. Poor defense hasn’t helped the Magic in recent years, and Nurse’s scheme could change that. Moreover, Stackhouse may choose to coach another team. Magic fans should be thrilled to have either on the sidelines next year. But altogether, Nurse’s abilities should make him the primary target.