Borrego had been the head man in Charlotte since the 2018-2019 season after taking over for Steve Clifford.
Borrego coached the Hornets to a 39-43 record in his first season, Kemba Walker’s last with the team, which resulted in the team barely missing the playoffs. When Walker departed to join the Boston Celtics that offseason, Borrego was tasked with rebuilding the franchise by developing young talent.
After finishing 23-42 in the 2019-2020 season, the Hornets earned the 3rd pick in the draft which they used to select LaMelo Ball. Since then, Borrego’s Hornets improved on their win total by 10 games every season, going 33-39 in the 2020-2021 season and 43-39 in the 2021-2022 season.
Borrego helped oversee the development of breakout young talents such as Devonte’ Graham (now with the New Orleans Pelicans), Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier III and LaMelo Ball.
Unfortunately, the last two seasons for the Hornets have ended in immense disappointment following promising starts.
During the 2020-2021 season, the Hornets had a 24-22 record on March 31, 2021. That was good enough for the Hornets to be the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference meaning that the team would have earned home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series.
Due to injuries sustained by LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, the Hornets slumped to finish the year going 9-17 in their remaining games of the season.
More disappointingly, the Hornets had a 33-34 record on May 7, 2021 and needed only one win to secure home-court in the Play-In tournament. The Hornets would go on to lose their next five games plummeting them to the 10th-seed in the Eastern Conference.
On May 17, 2021, the Hornets went on the road to face the Indiana Pacers in the Play-In Tournament needing a win to earn one more chance to qualify for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the team was handed an embarrassing 117-144 loss at the hands of the Pacers, eliminating them from the playoffs.
The Hornets also met a similar fate this season. They held a 28-22 record on Jan. 29, good enough for the 7th-seed in the Eastern Conference and just four games behind first place. The team was also only one game behind the 6th-seed place needed to avoid the Play-In and automatically qualify for the playoffs.
Once again, however, the team cratered following an injury to Gordon Hayward as the Hornets limped through February, finishing with a 2-10 record during that time.
The Hornets recovered during March and April to finish with a 43-39 record, but the damage was done as the team once again plummeted to the 10th-seed and into a win-or-go-home scenario.
On April 13, the team suffered yet another embarrassing defeat in the Play-In Tournament falling to the Atlanta Hawks 103-132.
The repeated late-season struggles combined with yet another devastating loss in the most important game of the season seems to have been the final straw for the Hornets front office as Borrego was dismissed from his duties on Friday.
“I want to thank JB for his hard work and commitment during these past four seasons. Beyond his work as a coach, he is a tremendous person. I wish him and his family the best in the future. These decisions are always difficult. Having said that, we have a talented, young core of players which has me very excited about the future of the Hornets. We will begin the search for our new head coach immediately,” Hornets President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.
Borrego posted a 138-163 record during his four seasons in Charlotte.
Look for the Hornets to hire a coach who can help the team build around its two young stars, Ball and Bridges, as the team aims to make the leap into the playoffs for the first time since 2016.