Hornets head coach James Borrego had done an admirable job this season finding plenty of playing time for his youngsters without alienating the veterans on the roster, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details.
Borrego vowed during the preseason that he wouldn’t let salaries dictate which players get the most minutes and has stuck to that approach as his team, which currently holds the No. 9 seed in the East, has exceeded expectations. Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges are the top four Hornets in minutes per game, but vets like Cody Zeller, Nicolas Batum, and Bismack Biyombo have had regular roles too.
“I feel like he has made us older guys a part of this thing as well,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said of Borrego. “Obviously, Nic would love to play more, but he’s a team player. There are times when I maybe would like to play more, but that’s not my job (to decide).”
As Borrego looks to continue striking that balance while keeping Charlotte competitive, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southeast…
- For the five years following LeBron James‘ departure in 2014, the Heat were almost exactly a .500 team, averaging just under 42 wins per season. However, the club is on pace to rack up 56 wins in 2019/20. In an entertaining feature, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps take a look at how team president Pat Riley and free agent addition Jimmy Butler – along with rising star Bam Adebayo – have helped revitalize the franchise.
- After spending most of the season outside of the Heat‘s rotation, James Johnson has played rotation minutes in three of the team’s last four games, while it’s Kelly Olynyk who finds himself getting DNP-CDs. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel examines the evolving roles for the two Miami bigs and how they’re responding.
- One day after they ended point guard Josh Magette‘s 10-day contract, the Magic find themselves without D.J. Augustin (knee) and Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) for Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers. Asked about that roster decision, head coach Steve Clifford admitted that the return of Augustin’s knee soreness “caught us totally off-guard,” tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Magette 10-day deal would’ve run through January 20 if it hadn’t been terminated early.