Just as many thought the Magic’s season couldn’t get any worse, it just did. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Head Coach Steve Clifford has officially tested positive for Covid-19, with subsequent tests confirming the news. After Thursday’s 100-135 loss to the Pelicans, Clifford had his first positive test of the virus. Clifford would go on to have two negative tests on Friday, before a second positive result came back on Saturday. Tyrone Corbin, Orlando’s Assistant Coach, will handle Head Coaching duties for the foreseeable future.
“Obviously, the mood is concerned.” Corbin said about the team before tipoff on Sunday vs Indiana. “They’re concerned for Coach. It’s a good group of guys, and one of the guys are down. So, like everybody, we’re concerned for him and fortunately he’s feeling well”.
Clearing the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols usually takes at least 10 days for most who have contracted the virus, so Corbin will get some valuable coaching experience while Clifford is out with the virus.
Tyrone Corbin’s Former Playing and Coaching Career
Before deciding to become an Assistant Coach in the NBA, Tyrone Corbin had a long career as a player. Corbin’s NBA Journey started at the University of DePaul, and played all four years of eligibility for the Blue Demons (1981-1985). Corbin finished his collegiate career with a seventh-place finish on DePaul’s career scoring list and was a two-time honorable mention AP All-America Selection, as well as an All-NIT choice in 1983. Corbin was even invited to the 1984 Olympic trials. After Corbin finished an impressive 16-year career with ten different teams, Corbin decided to retire in 2001. The former DePaul standout would stay on the sidelines, now as a Coach. Corbin began coaching as an assistant for the Jazz from 2004-2011, and would even become the Head Coach from 2011-2014. Corbin has bounced around the league as an assistant since then, and now finds himself on the Magic.
The Impact on the Absence of Clifford for the Magic
The immediate change from Clifford’s coaching expertise to the inexperienced Corbin will be very hard for the Magic. For one, Orlando’s young roster hasn’t meshed well with Clifford, so why will that change with Corbin at the helm? Thankfully, Orlando isn’t competing for a playoff spot at the moment. If the Magic were in a position to be in the Play-In Tournament, they would certainly fall out of the tournament, due to the lack of chemistry and familiarity in Corbin’s style of offense and defense. Come on, Orlando has struggled enough with Clifford as their Head Coach. Now with Corbin as the Head Coach, the Magic may as well “embrace the tank”, and try to limp their way to the end of the season.