The Hornets have done that while shaking up the rotation — adding Hayward and Ball, and moving Miles Bridges to second unit as a power forward. Also, the coaches changed some things tactically, including more use of a 2-3 zone.
“For me, the biggest surprise is that they’ve been able to (absorb) the different schemes in a very short time frame,” Borrego said.
The Hornets played better defense the last month of last season, which Borrego said was partially personnel-driven: Playing longer guys who were better equipped to guard. Rookies Cody and Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels all fit that description.
Also, adding Hayward and Ball — both 6-7 — provides more size on the perimeter, which the Hornets have lacked the past few seasons, particularly with backcourts of Rozier, Devonte Graham and Kemba Walker, who all stand 6-2 or smaller.
Borrego is relieved there will be a G-League season starting in February in Florida. Between this heavy schedule (10 games in 16 nights) and the truncated preseason, it’s been tough to find ways to develop end-of-bench rookies, like big men Vernon Carey and Nick Richards.
The Hornets seldom have full practices these days. That saves the rotation players’ legs for the games, but it limits what the other players can do to improve.
“You just can’t get them the live reps (in practice) that I would like,” Borrego said. “The G-League season that is ahead of us will hopefully help cure some of that.”©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit at charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.