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Assessing the Charlotte Hornets Coaching Staff for 2020-21
Despite taking a major step back in his second year at the helm, James Borrego returns to Charlotte’s sidelines as the franchise’s head coach. The former Spurs assistant was hired in 2018 – as were all six of the current Hornets assistant coaches.
Starting with the man at the top, let’s get to know the Charlotte Hornets coaching staff in 2020-21.
James Borrego – Head Coach
It all started in 2003 when the San Diego Toreros won the WCC tournament and clinched a berth into the NCAA Tournament. James Borrego, a current assistant at USD at the time, was noticed enough to gain an opportunity in San Antonio to work alongside the Spurs video coordinator.
Borrego took it, and upon his arrival, Gregg Popovich wasted no time promoting him to an assistant coach. The rest, as they say, is history.
Seven years as an apprentice of Popovich led James to pitstops in New Orleans, Orlando, and then back in San Antonio, before Michael Jordan ultimately hired him to be the Hornets HC.
After winning 39 games and finishing 2nd in the Southeast Division in his first year in Charlotte (2018-2019), the Hornets finished the abbreviated 2019-20 campaign with a paltry 23-42 mark (4th in the Southeast).
The good news for Borrego and the rest of the Charlotte Hornets coaches is that an exciting young core was recently bolstered thanks to the additions of Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball.
Hornets head coach James Borrego on Gordon Hayward: "He brings us a winning mentality. Everywhere Gordon has been, he has won."— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) December 1, 2020
Speaking of “the rest” of the Hornets coaching staff, let’s meet the assistants.
Charlotte Hornets Assistant Coaches
Aside from Borrego at the top, six individuals account for the remainder of the Charlotte Hornets coaching staff.
Jay Triano – Assistant Coach (Lead)
One of the most seasoned assistant coaches in the sport. Triano was the head coach of the Canadian National Team from 2012-2019 after spending four seasons as the Raptors head coach (2008-2011).
Dutch Gaitley – Assistant Coach
Just 33-year-old, Gaitley got started as a video intern with the Spurs in 2013. The Philly native evolved into an assistant coach in San Antonio and established a solid working relationship with Borrego. His younger brother, Jordan, is a video intern with the Miami Heat.
Jay Hernandez – Assistant Coach
Specializing in player development, Hernandez is a key asset of James Borrego’s staff. Jay’s heavy background in Muay Thai, along with his MBA in Marketing and Business, makes him one of the more unique assistant coaches in the league.
Chad Iske – Assistant Coach
Starting as a scouting intern in Denver in 1999, Chad Iske has worked his way from the bottom up. After 14 years with the Nuggets (7 as an assistant coach), Iske had stints with the 76ers, Kings, and Wizards before landing with the Hornets.
Ronald Nored Jr. – Assistant Coach
Hired at age 28 in 2018, Ronald Nored Jr. will undoubtedly be an NBA head coach one day. Thanks to playing under Brad Stevens at Butler for four years, Ronald is equipped with all of the necessary tools to lead a group of men on the hardwood.
Nate Mitchell – Assistant Coach
Time as an assistant coach in the G League, as well as an assistant coaching role on the Canadian National Team, helped prepare Nate Mitchel for a shot in the NBA. His primary duty in Charlotte is to help develop the young crop of talent.
Final Analysis of the Charlotte Hornets Coaching Staff
Will the third time be the charm?
This organization sure hopes so as the Charlotte Hornets coaching staff enters their third year together. Michael Jordan and Mitch Kupchak won’t be in a hurry to fire James Borrego, but don’t expect his leash to last beyond the upcoming season.
To be fair, if the Hornets can’t contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the roster they have in place, perhaps Borrego doesn’t deserve to be a head coach in the NBA.
For a look at some other coaching staffs in the Southeast Division, check out the links below.