New coach James Borrego will emphasize ball movement in an effort to improve a Hornets team that ranked 24th in assists last season, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The former Spurs assistant wants players to make quick decisions with the ball and not let the offense slow down, which led to the trade of Dwight Howard this summer.
“When the ball is just being pounded and one guy has it in his hands for five or six seconds – when we’re just seeing him dance with the ball – the rest of the defense just gets to relax and load up,” Borrego said. “You’re not going to be perfect all the time, but let’s put pressure on the defense constantly. … We demanded it in San Antonio. My job is to sell that to the players to do what’s best for the team.”
Faced with a roster that was hard to revamp because of so many large contracts, new GM Mitch Kupchak hired Borrego to bring a fresh approach to the team, which will include playing at a faster pace. Former Spurs point guard Tony Parker was signed to help implement Borrego’s philosophy on the court, and Nicolas Batum will have a larger role in running the offense while moving from the backcourt to small forward.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Hornets‘ G League affiliate in Greensboro has hired Joe Wolf as its new coach, the team announced on its website. A former assistant with the Nets and Bucks, Wolf comes to the Swarm after serving as an assistant at UNC Wilmington.
- A pair of Wizards top the list of the list of the most underrated offseason acquisitions compiled by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Howard occupies the No. 1 spot, signing a two-year deal in Washington after being traded by the Hornets and bought out by the Nets. He provides a huge defensive upgrade from Marcin Gortat, O’Connor notes, and could develop into an effective pick-and-roll partner with John Wall. Austin Rivers, who was acquired from the Clippers in the Gortat deal, ranks second on the list and should provide backcourt depth the Wizards have needed behind Wall and Bradley Beal.
- Wizards rookie Troy Brown has signed a multi-year shoe deal with Nike, tweets Nick DePaula of ESPN.