The Magic are embarking on a new journey this year with their first year under the hybrid relationship with the Erie BayHawks of the D-League. This is the growing trend for the parent NBA team to control all basketball operations for a D-League team that would have a direct one-to-one relationship with its parent club.
The team has selected the man at the helm of the Magic’s first real foray into the D-League.
Orlando announced long-time NBA assistant coach Bill Peterson will be the head coach for the Erie BayHawks this season. Peterson brings nine years of NBA assistant coaching or scouting and development experience and more than 30 years. He was a graduate assistant with Louisiana Tech when Karl Malone was playing there.
“We are excited to welcome Bill (Peterson) and his family,” said Magic general manager Rob Hennigan. “Bill’s passion for teaching and development fit seamlessly into our vision of creating a culture of collaboration and synergy between the Orlando Magic and Erie Bayhawks. His wealth of knowledge and experience will help our players fulfill their ultimate basketball potential.”
Among the players who have worked with Peterson include a young Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash from his time with the Mavericks from 1998-2000. He was also a special assistant assigned specifically to work with Sarunas Marciulionis with the Warriors in the early and mid-1990s.
He spent the 2007-13 seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Much of his time coaching has been spent at the collegiate level. Most recently he was the associate head coach at Colorado State from 2000-07.
This is obviously a guy who has been a lifelong assistant coach and someone at the heart of player development. The exact kind of person the Magic want in charge of their D-League team — which should be focused most on player development. This will be his first head coaching position so there will be a few growing pains for sure, but wins and losses is not the goal with this group. It is getting younger players better.
Especially the players the Magic send down (if any).
It has already been reported that Peterson will have his point guard. Peyton Siva signed a deal with the Magic to play for them in the preseason. He is then expected to be waived and sent down to Erie for the season before returning to the Magic in the summer and potentially the 2015 season. One of Peterson’s main charges will be helping Siva get ready for the NBA next year. Devyn Marble, many suspect, could also spend some time in the D-League bouncing back and forth.
Teams also like using the D-League as a way to develop coaches. Oklahoma City has hired a couple of its current assistants off the team’s D-League affiliate.
This is a big first step to the Magic’s 3-year deal with Erie for a one-to-one relationship.