Charlotte Hornets' fans have known for a while just how good head coach Steve Clifford is. Now, they have some outside validation.
BasketballInsiders.com released their list of top 10 coaches in the NBA on Friday, and none other than Clifford made the list, coming in seventh among the 30 NBA coaches.
- Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets
With the possible future exception of Mike D’Antoni in Houston, no coach in the league brings with him a system that has such a notably visible – and efficient – effect on his team’s approach to the game. Clifford’s Hornets very rarely turn the ball over (they’ve posted the lowest turnover percentage in the NBA three years straight), dominate the defensive glass while punting the offensive boards intentionally and play a disciplined style of defense some might even call boring. In each case, Clifford’s strict principles have clearly trickled down and improved individuals on his roster: Kemba Walker, Nic Batum, Marvin Williams and Al Jefferson are just a few names who have seen easily the best spans of their careers once Clifford’s approach took hold.
On top of that, Clifford is ranked among some pretty big names, including Steve Kerr, Erik Spolestra, Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau. Clifford's defensive acumen has to be considered one of the best - if not the best - in the Association, and anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to him talk about the game instantly knows that he is among the brightest basketball minds in the league today. It is nice for Hornets fans to see their coach be rewarded after turning the franchise from a a league-wide joke and a perennial playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.
What do you think? Is seventh place fair for the Hornets' fearless leader? Would you rank him higher or lower? What say you, Buzz City?