VIDEO: Kemba Walker leads the Hornets to an overtime victory on Monday
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Don’t look now, but the Charlotte Hornets have some stability on the bench.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Hornets are giving coach Steve Clifford a contract extension. The Hornets confirmed the news later this morning.
The Charlotte Hornets and coach Steve Clifford have come to an agreement on a multi-year extension, the Observer has learned.
The deal includes a three-year guarantee that would keep Clifford in his current role through the 2018-19 season.
The first coach that Michael Jordan hired after buying into the (then) Bobcats was Sam Vincent, who lasted one season in Charlotte. Larry Brown was next, but was gone before his third season was up. Paul Silas took over for Brown, but was gone after his first full season.
Remember Mike Dunlap? One season.
But Clifford, along with Jordan’s belief in him, has brought an end to all that instability. Hired in 2013, Clifford took the Bobcats from 30th (where they ranked each of the previous two seasons) to sixth in defensive efficiency. The Hornets were still a top-10 defensive team last season, even though the Lance Stephenson addition was a disaster.
And this season, Clifford has transformed the Hornets’ offense, taking them from 28th in offensive efficiency to fourth, through Tuesday. Charlotte’s increase in points scored per 100 possessions is more than twice that of any other team.
If you can build a top-10 defense around Al Jefferson in the middle, you’re a pretty good coach. And if you can build a top-10 offense around Kemba Walker at the point, you’re a pretty good coach too.
Clifford, a long-time assistant before he was hired be Jordan, has earned a few more years in Charlotte.