Charlotte Hornets: Will Head Coach James Borrego survive a rebuild?

Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

With the Charlotte Hornets likely to be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future, what does this mean for James Borrego?

It’s a sad fact in sports that when a team struggles on a year to year basis, the first person out the door is usually the head coach. This is often regardless of the talent and resources, or lack thereof, being given to him.

This isn’t to say the Charlotte Hornets don’t have talent, but they’re young and unproven. This is somewhat true of their head coach, James Borrego, as well. Entering his second year, things don’t seem too bright going forward, with the bulk of their scoring now on other teams. Borrego will rely heavily on the team’s young core of up-and-comers, like Miles Bridges and Malik Monk.

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Though the team did improve by a handful of games last season over the previous one, many felt like the team underachieved, especially in an East that no longer featured LeBron James. Most fans believed the team could vie for at least the 8th seed in the playoffs. The team nearly made it in, but they lacked consistency down the stretch and missed the playoffs by just two games.

It is true that much of this falls on the head coach and with a much-weakened roster coming into this season, what will expectations for the soon to be 42-year-old? How lenient will both the front office and fans be with him? It is more than likely the team will be rebuilding, hoping to shed burdensome contracts while retaining their youth. That is the plan, or so fans hope.

So, I believe that expectations for the coach will be low. Both the ownership and fans know what situation the team is in and while many are still bitter about the way the front office handled Kemba Walker, none of this is Borrego’s doing. He is simply tasked with making the best with what he is given. As of now, that doesn’t look like very much, but if the coach and his staff can squeeze every ounce of talent he can out of these players, Charlotte may just surprise some people.

Ultimately, Borrego’s future is in the hands of team owner, Michael Jordan. If they see that he’s doing well enough with what they’ve provided him, his tenure may be longer than expected. If they feel like he’s not living up to his end of the job, however, then he’ll be gone in a few years, or maybe less.

It always seems cruel and unfair when a coach of a bottom-dwelling team gets fired when he doesn’t have much to work with. There are so many things outside of a head coach’s control, and patience runs thin in professional sports.

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The next few years may prove to be difficult for the organization and its fans. Can James Borrego exceed expectations and guide this team through what may be one of its darkest times yet? Time will certainly tell.