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Hornets coach Borrego: Develop, compete every day
He wants growth on and off the court
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2019 1:04 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego is challenging veterans like forward Nic Batum as well as young players to focus on development when training camp opens next week in Chapel Hill.

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Player development among the Charlotte Hornets is not exclusive to younger players.

Tuesday’s media luncheon Uptown consisted of second-year head coach James Borrego outlining four pillars heading into the season:

1) Competing every single night

2) Player development

3) “Establishing our identity”

4) Winning habits

What are winning habits?

“Do not get tired of the ordinary,” Borrego said.

He is looking toward veteran forward Marvin Williams to step up in terms of leadership in the absence of three-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, who left for Boston via free agency over the summer.

Borrego pointed out that his message to Williams and guard/forward Nic Batum is “you get better. We have a plan for you as well.”

Borrego also emphasized that young players have to earn their minutes.

Charlotte went 39-43 in Borrego’s first season. The longtime San Antonio assistant did not hesitate to work in rookie guard Devonte Graham and forward Miles Bridges, or second-year swingman Dwayne Bacon and guard Malik Monk.

Bacon and Graham significant time with the Hornets G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. The Hornets are in the process of hiring an assistant coach who will travel with those players between Charlotte and Greensboro. Borrego noted that this approach has been implemented by a few other organizations throughout the league. The goal, as he described it, is to, “streamline communication.” He expects to increase their use of the G-League this season for player development.

“They’re a competitive young group that I get to put my stamp on.”

Today he noted that Monk has put on 20 pounds of muscle, and everyone is healthy heading into camp.

Other notable offseason acquisitions: point guard Terry Rozier and rookie forwards P.J. Washington and Cody Martin. The latter arrived in Charlotte through the NBA Draft. Washington, a sophomore from Kentucky, went 12th overall. Charlotte selected, Martin, a forward, in the second round, 36th overall.

Borrego foresees Washington as more of a power forward than center. He also expects him to play well with Miles Bridges, with the pair of young players leading the break. Washington withdrew from the 2018 draft to improve his offensive capabilities, particularly on the perimeter, where he shot 42.3 percent from three-point range, compared to 23.8 percent as a freshman.

“We’re not going to wait for P.J. to shoot threes,” Borrego said. “He’s going to shoot threes now.” 

The Hornets begin camp on Oct. 1 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill on Oct. 5. They open the regular season at Spectrum Center on Oct. 23 against Chicago.


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