Charlotte Hornets: Can players learn from watching playoff basketball?

Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

While waiting out the NBA’s hiatus, the Charlotte Hornets have found something productive to learn from.

During the NBA’s COVID-19 hiatus, the Charlotte Hornets’ players and fans have sought things to do to feed their need to watch basketball. For the Hornets, coach James Borrego has had his team watch old playoff games.

According to ESPN, some coaches have crafted exercise equipment for their players. Many coaches have dove into scouting draft prospects, while others have their teams read sports journalism.

However, Hornets’ head coach James Borrego has a different approach to help his team during the league’s hiatus. Coach Borrego has been picking playoff series for players to watch, while also having break downs via text chains and video chats on Zoom.

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Coach Borrego told ESPN that he believes  “basketball culture today is so much about watching specific plays.” Borrego also said that this gives players a chance to compare their game to others.

As a former assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Borrego did not choose to review playoff footage from his old team. Instead, Borrego decided to have his players analyze the 2012 first-round playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.

Borrego stated that he liked the style of play the Nuggets had against the Lakers. He also said that he liked the Nuggets’ game plan against the Lakers’ frontcourt duo of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

Coach Borrego believed that many of his players probably don’t even know who Bynum is, as he’s a big reason why the Lakers won their first-round matchup over the Nuggets. As Borrego is a coach that believes in physicality, he enjoyed this playoff matchup because of how physical it was.

The ultimate goal of showing his team this series was to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like. As fans, we continuously hear coach Borrego preach about how physical he wants his team to be in pre-game interviews.

As one of the few on the Hornets who have experienced the playoffs, Cody Zeller believes the postseason is another level of physicality. Per ESPN, he thinks it’s good for younger players to realize the urgency in the playoffs.

In the last ten years, the Hornets have only been to the playoffs twice. The last time Charlotte went to the playoffs was in 2016, where the team lost in a seven-game series against the Miami Heat.

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Coach Borrego wants to bring playoff basketball back to Charlotte, so it’s good to see him using technology to host virtual meetings to coach his players. Will Charlotte return to the playoffs with a sense of urgency in the near future?