James Borrego hasn’t coached a game for the Charlotte Hornets yet, but he knows how to win over fans.
In a phone interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Borrego stated that Malik Monk will be a “major player” for the Hornets next season.
Borrego continued by praising Monk’s shooting and the potential he has in the league. Per The Observer:
“I knew he was a shooter but being up close to him is impressive. This guy has a chance to be an elite shooter, a very consistent shooter. Someone we can play through for different stretches of a game.”
JB’s comments leave no doubt about whether Monk will play next season. Not only does Monk appear part of the rotation, it sounds as if he could be play an important part.
Also brought up was the need for another ball-handler, particularly a backup point guard. This echoes what Mitch Kupchak has said repeatedly before and after the draft, and suggests that Monk will likely play more as a shooting guard (though as many NBA offenses run nowadays, he will likely instigate some of the offense).
While we can’t necessarily rule out the signing of a front court option in free agency, the bulk of what little cap space the team does have will almost certainly go towards finding a backup point.
JB spoke about Cody Zeller’s role as well, stating that he envisions him playing center, running the floor, setting screens, and occasionally stretching the floor by taking 3-pointers.
In other words, normal Cody Zeller things.
It’s clear, however, that Zeller fits much better with the style of offense Borrego wants to run, and a point made by JB about making sure one player isn’t “pounding the ball for 15 to 20 seconds” makes it pretty clear why Dwight Howard wasn’t part of the team’s plans. (I’d also wager he doesn’t want Kemba Walker dribbling around for a while, either.)
There’s a lot covered in the interview that I’ll let you read for yourself, including how the coaching staff will approach Summer League duties and how Borrego plans to get the team to buy in on the faster style of play.