Hardaway A Candidate For Orlando Magic CoachJake Cooper | 30 Jun 2021
Legendary former basketball player and current coach, Penny Hardaway, has emerged as one of the top candidates to take over the role of Head Coach at Orlando Magic. This is according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. If the rumours are to be believed, then Hardaway has already interviewed with Orlando, which is the team that he starred for from 1993 to 1999. At present, Mr Hardaway is the Head Coach at the University of Memphis, which interestingly enough, is his alma mater.
The Appeal Of Hardaway
A big part of Hardaway’s direct appeal to the Magic stems from his stint as a player in Orlando. During this period of his career, Hardaway was very successful as a player for the team. He made it to an incredible four All-Star teams and was also named a First-Team NBA player on two occasions in Orlando.
Hardaway also led the Magic to their very first NBA Finals appearance in 1995. This was alongside another basketball legend, Shaquille O’Neal. The franchise is currently entering a new and exciting period of rebuilding and rebranding. The overall vision could be beautifully executed should a team legend like Hardaway be announced as Head Coach for the Magic. This could also re-energize the team’s fan base, which has not really seen any real contention since Dwight Howard was traded in 2012.
Hardaway’s Coaching Successes
As a coach, Hardaway was seen a fairly modest degree of success at the University of Memphis. To date, his team has not yet reached the NCAA Tournament. However, over the course of three years, he has ensured that his team never won fewer than 20 games a season. His current record is 63 to 32, which is already an achievement in and of itself, seeing as how it surpasses that of Tubby Smith, his predecessor at Memphis. Smith, however, did go on to win a national championship at Kentucky.
It is believed that the Magic has already interviewed a number of candidates to fill the coaching position. These candidates include the likes of Terry Slotts, the former Portland Trail Blazers coach, as well as Wes Unseld Jr, the Denver Nuggets assistant and Kenny Atkinson, the former coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
Ultimately, the team will hire a coach that it believes to be best suited for the younger roster that it may build in the coming years. With Hardaway’s collegiate experience, he certainly is an experienced candidate that could serve the team well on a number of levels.