Orlando Magic Coaching Power Rankings: The opportunities thin out

Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley is the latest coach reported to get an interview with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley is the latest coach reported to get an interview with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

There were not many developments from the Orlando Magic’s camp when it comes to the coaching search this week. The team, as it always does, is operating in realtive quiet. There are no leaks on the Magic’s ship.

In all likelihood the Magic hire will get sprung on everyone through a random release from the team or a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania or Josh Robbins. That is just how the Magic operate. When they want news released, they release it to the people they want.

Nothing usually peaks out before it is ready.

The only update for the week came this Saturday when Marc Stein of The New York Times, who is super connected to Dallas and the Dallas Mavericks, reported the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards have asked for permission to interview Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley.

Otherwise, the only update anyone can say about the week in the coaching search is how the number of jobs have narrowed.

Last week, we discussed how seven jobs were suddenly open and that increased the competition for potential head coaches. The Magic job was attractive for the clean slate it offered but was still a difficult job because of all the uncertainty. Especially before the Lottery took place. The Magic falling to the fifth pick almost certainly changed some of the conversation about the Magic.

Or maybe it changed none of it and the Magic have always been operating their process at their own pace. After all, Orlando was the lone rebuilding team looking for a coach. The others were playoff-caliber teams.

The open jobs fell from seven to three in the past week as other teams moved for new coaches. The Orlando Magic are still going through their process in their third week.

So the open jobs fell from seven to three. Rick Carlisle left the Dallas Mavericks to return to the Indiana Pacers. The Mavericks went for a familiar name in Jason Kidd. The Boston Celtics picked up Ime Udoka. The Portland Trail Blazers went for the headline name in Chauncey Billups.

The Magic were connected to a few of these names. Udoka was the only one the team had reportedly interviewed. But it is also pretty clear that those jobs were looking for a different caliber of coach.

Orlando’s coaching search is likely entering its final phase. If the team is still in its first round of interviews, they will likely end this week. And the favorites will likely emerge soon. It would seemingly make sense to have that final round take place or be completed shortly after next week’s Fourth of July holiday.

Just do not expect to hear anything about it from the Magic until the process is done.

We will still try to look at the tea leaves with our weekly power ranking. These rankings are a mix of what is being reported, fan input and excitement and my preference for the future head coach.

. Previous: . Becky Hammon. 1. player. 29.

When the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly agreed to bring in Chauncey Billups as their next head coach, it felt like the best opportunity for Becky Hammon to break the glass ceiling and become the first woman to be a head coach for the NBA had passed. This was a good opportunity for her to have a winning team with ownership supposedly backing her.

Now, it just feels like Hammon’s name is getting batted around as some publicity stunt or token interview. Someone is going to give her a job. And Becky Hammon is among several women — Kara Lawson and Dawn Staley from the college ranks are also getting NBA head coaching buzz — who are vying to be the first.

Whoever is first does not matter. It just matters they get a fair shot. It does not necessarily feel like that is happening.

Momentum should be building for Hammon. She has seven years of experience in the NBA on the San Antonio Spurs’ bench. Her time is coming.

The question then becomes what challenge Hammon wants. Maybe she is being careful and specific about the job she wants. And maybe a full rebuild like the Magic job is not exactly what she is looking for right now.

If that is the case, her time will come in the next coaching cycle. If that is not the case, the Magic should be thrilled to bring her in.

Previous: . Kenny Atkinson. 2. player. 77. .

When it comes to coaches with experience, Kenny Atkinson still seems like the best bet for the Orlando Magic.

He helped build the Brooklyn Nets from a team with all young players and little draft capital into a playoff team with a distinct style and work ethos. The success of the pre-Kyrie Irving Nets should make him attractive to a lot of teams trying to restart.

If Atkinson wants to be the leader of a rebuild again, he would provide the team with structure and identity almost immediately. And while he would almost certainly still pile up losses, the team would play a consistent style with consistent energy. And then when they bring talent together, they take the next step.

That is all the Magic are hoping for from their next coach. If Atkinson is the guy that can deliver all of that, why not go with him?

Teams who are interested are likely going to be waiting for the end of the LA Clippers’ run through the playoffs. And so without any solid reporting for a while on Atkinson’s interest in becoming a head coach for the Magic or any other team, we drop him down a spot.

Previous: . Darvin Ham. 3. player. 89. .

Coaches from the conference finalists are going to get a lot of buzz. And as those teams get eliminated, their names will get more buzz and excitement. There will be a little bit of time between the conference finals and the NBA Finals and that will be when candidates like Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Charles Lee will likely accept jobs before returning to Finals preparations.

Ham has gotten the most buzz among the Bucks staff. As a player, he was a grinder and a strong defender. But Mike Budenholzer’s teams are known for their offense too.

It is not entirely clear where Ham’s responsibilities lie. He is a tough guy — just ask James Ennis and anyone who played against him as a player. And he has ample experience to get some buzz as a future head coach.

. Previous: . Jamahl Mosley. 4. player. 79.

Jamahl Mosley’s name for head coaching jobs seemed to come out of nowhere. It was not entirely clear he was next in line to be a head coach. But upon the Dallas Mavericks hiring Jason Kidd, there were reports Mosley was offended he did not even get a courtesy look for the job.

As the report that Mosley was getting interest from the Magic, this video of Jamahl Mosley telling off LeBron James as he approached the Cleveland Cavaliers bench began to surface. There are plenty of videos of him working with Luka Doncic with some measure of tough love.

Reportedly, Mosley was very close with Doncic and instrumental in his development with the Mavericks when he joined the NBA — although it is hard to hold back Doncic and his innate talent. And that might have actually created some tension in Dallas for some reason.

Mosley started as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets in 2007 before moving on to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 and joining the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. He has ample and extensive assistant coaching experience.

Mosley’s expertise is on defense. He was promoted to the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018.

Whilte that would usually be a good thing under Carlisle, the Mavericks have ranked 18th, 18th and 21st the last three years. Some of that is certainly personnel and the Mavericks made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but it is not exactly encouraging.

Magic fans are also probably a bit hungry to see the team take a step forward offensively especially with the direction the league is heading. A defensive coach is probably not exactly what the Magic are looking for.

Still, Mosley seems to have good relationships with players and the tough-minded attitude needed to do the job.

player. 34. . . Previous: . Terry Stotts. 5

The Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics both passing up on experienced coaches like Terry Stotts certainly leaves him with an uncertain landing spot.

There was at least some report the Orlando Magic were looking for a more experienced coach. And so Stotts, a coach the Magic have long seemingly had an interest in, should re-enter the chat room.

Stotts carved out a reputation as an offensive-minded coach who struggled to get the Portland Trail Blazers’ defense right enough to compete beyond the first round. But he has a good offensive mind nonetheless and got the most out of Damian Lillard and the variety of offensive weapons he had in Portland.

The question is whether he wants to go for a team in complete rebuild. But undoubtedly, Stotts would give the team some early cache and someone who is going to demand a lot from his team pretty quickly.

. Previous: . Charles Lee. 6. player. 89.

Charles Lee, like Darvin Ham, will certainly get interest as the Milwaukee Bucks go deeper into the playoffs. Mike Budenholzer might get some criticism for his playoff decisionmaking, but no one denies his success as a coach and his tree is certain to grow.

From the outside, it is hard to differentiate what Darvin Ham and Charles Lee do, other than to say Ham played in the NBA and has that going for him. Lee though is getting buzz from multiple teams, including the New Orleans Pelicans. There is certainly competition for a caoch of Lee’s caliber.

Previous: . Wes Unseld Jr.. 7. player. 73. .

Wes Unseld Jr. has a history with the Orlando Magic as a member of Jacque Vaughn’s staff. That should not kill the baby with the bathwater with his candidacy as a head coach.

Wes Unseld joined Mike Malone’s staff shortly after leaving the Orlando Magic and has been a mainstay with the Denver Nuggets’ successful run. Unseld has been generating some head coaching buzz for a while.

He is a young coach still and has the right temperament to help young teams develop and grow. The rest is still up to the mysteries of what assistant coaches actually do.

. . Previous: . Willie Green. 8. player. 66

Why should the Milwaukee Bucks get all the buzz when it comes to conference finalists?

There have been surprisingly little talk about the Phoenix Suns’ assistant coaches after they finished with the second-best record in the league and stand one win away from reaching the NBA Finals.

The Orlando Magic reportedly requested an interview with Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green. He has been someone everyone has pegged as a potential head coach even when he was playing — including some work while he was injured with Jacque Vaughn and his staff when he played for the Magic.

The biggest thing working against Green right now is his lack of general experience. He joined the Golden State Warriors’ staff in 2016. He has worked with both Steve Kerr and Monty Williams though. So that is a good group to learn how to do the job from.

. Previous: . David Vanterpool. 9. player. 86.

The biggest question I got after last week’s power rankings was: Where is David Vanterpool?

I am actually asking the same thing.

It has been odd that one of the hottest names among fans and someone who has ringing endorsements from both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum for the impacts he had on their careers is getting zero buzz in the coaching carousel. People were in an uproar that the Minnesota Timberwolves passed over him for Chris Finch.

So why no buzz? That is the question everyone is trying to figure out on the outside of the coaching circles. There is either no reporting on him and it is fans overstating their interest in him or he is not in the running to be a head coach anymore.

It is a really strange thing. Vanterpool has all the experience, relationships and ability to take the head chair.

10. player. 93. . . Previous: . Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell is getting some buzz as a head coach with the two remaining jobs open. He has been an assistant coach since 2009, joining up with Doc Rivers in 2014 with the LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. He is probably as experienced as an assistant and seen as much as any coach on this list.

While some fans have expressed discomfort of elevating a member of the hated 1995 Houston Rockets to the lead job with the Orlando Magic, there is no denying that Cassell has been an experienced assistant for a long time. And that he speaks the players’ language. It is no coincidence he is starting to get real looks as a head coach.

Orlando Magic in position to rent cap space. dark. Next

That will do it for this week’s power rankings. We will be back next week (provided no one is hired) with another round of rankings. Let us know what you think and who you think should be the coach in the comments below or on Twitter @omagicdaily, fan sentiment goes into our power rankings so we are interested in hearing your thoughts!