How James Borrego joining the Pelicans impacts the Hornets

James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

At the end of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Charlotte Hornets parted ways with offensive-minded head coach James Borrego. What followed was a difficult 2022-23 season under Steve Clifford in which injuries and an uneven roster led to the league’s worst offense.

Borrego sat this past season out, watching the NBA from the comfort of his own home, but was clearly eager to return to the NBA for the upcoming season, having interviewed for multiple jobs – even becoming a finalist for the Detroit Pistons head coaching position before they hired Monty Williams.

Now, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Borrego will team up with Willie Green and the New Orleans Pelicans as the Western Conference team looks to improve their offensive output next season.

Under Borrego, the Hornets played a fast-paced offensive game that offered hope for the future, but the team’s defensive limitations often saw them fall short in their pursuit of post-season basketball – leading to Borrego’s ultimate departure from the roster. Now that Borrego is joining the Pelicans, it’s certainly fair to wonder whether the move will have any impact on the Hornets, both direct and indirect.

Does James Borrego joining the Pelicans impact the Hornets?

Any direct impact from the former Hornets’ head coach teaming up with Green in New Orleans is minimal. The two franchises exist in different conferences and see each other twice a year at best. Regardless of whether Borrego has a significant impact on the Pelicans’ offense or not, New Orleans’ success won’t be of much consequence to Steve Clifford and his team.

However, in a more indirect impact could potentially be the Pelicans’ pursuit of certain Hornets players via a trade. Borrego, like any head coach, will have their favorites from their previous stop, and should the Pelicans’ lead assistant believe that a member of Charlotte’s rotation could make an impact within his new team’s rotation, he will likely bring it up during a pre-season coach meeting.

Of course, any potential trade for a Hornets player would require assets coming back in the opposite direction – which is why this would be an indirect impact on the franchise – they would have to get something out of any discussions. Still, there’s no guarantee Borrgeo or the Pelicans would look to poach any talent from the Hornets, especially considering how most of the upside talent is still young and developing.

Other than potentially seeking to bring some former players or assistants with him (assuming Green is also on board,) the only other impact on the Hornets will simply be that the Pelicans will now have an elite and comprehensive scouting report of the majority of Charlotte’s rotation.

Beyond that, it’s great to see Borrego back in the NBA, even in an assistants role, and it’s clear that the Pelicans have landed themselves a genuine talent to bolster their coaching ranks.

Next. 3 Potential offseason targets to help Hornets improve on the fringe. dark