On Friday, the Charlotte Hornets fired Head Coach James Borrego – ending his four seasons with the team.
In his four years at the helm Borrego held a 138-163 record, which included 10-win improvements in each year and two straight berths in the Play-In Tournament. It seems as if Mitch Kupchak and the Hornets’ front office realized that the franchise has reached its ceiling with Borrego and it’s time for a new voice. The Hornets are a young team with a dynamic player in Lamelo Ball. The strides that Miles Bridges made this season had him in the Most Improved Player discussion. This team needs a coach who can effectively develop a young team and give them structure. Here are some names that the Hornets could (or should) pursue.
Currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, Atkinson can lean on his experience there and his experience with developing young players while he was the Brooklyn Nets head coach with the Hornets and their young core. Atkinson could foster a strong culture and a foundation of good habits in Charlotte. Just like he did with Brooklyn, Atkinson will instill accountability and take a hands-on approach to develop his players like he did with Jarett Allen, D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Brown is a name that’s been getting traction in coaching searches for a while. The Warriors’ assistant has been linked to the Lakers’ vacancy and is one of the top candidates for the Kings’ opening. While Brown hasn’t been a head coach in the league in nine seasons, his work with the Warriors as an assistant makes him a viable candidate. With Brown, Golden State’s been in the top tier of the league in defensive ratings. He would develop the same foundation in Charlotte.
With all due respect, people can say whatever they want about Mark Jackson, but he would be a great look for Charlotte. Why? Just like Atkinson, Jackson has a penchant for development. As Warriors’ head coach, Jackson was integral in developing Stephen Curry in terms of skills as a traditional point guard ( remember, Curry was a shooting guard and off-ball for the majority of his time at Davidson). He helped in the development of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green as well. Just think of what he can do with Ball – making him even better than what he is. Like Brown, Jackson too can instill an identity on defense for the Hornets. In his third and final year in Golden State, Jackson coached the Warriors to a 45-37 record and to the 6th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs in the 2013-14 season. Recently on SirusXM, Jackson expressed an interest to coach again after years in the broadcast booth for ABC.