3. James Borrego
Borrego is back for a second stint in New Orleans after being named associate head coach this summer. The 45-year-old joined the NBA coaching ranks with the Spurs in 2003 and spent seven years in San Antonio before joining the then-New Orleans Hornets for two seasons under Monty Williams. Borrego went to Orlando and back to San Antonio prior to getting his first real shot as a head coach in 2018.
He was interim head coach for the Magic for 30 games in 2014-15. Borrego was hired to led the Hornets for four seasons from 2018 to 2022. Their win total improved in three of his four years, even with the departure of Kemba Walker. Borrego piloted the Hornets to a 43-39 regular season record in 2022 where they finished eighth in offensive rating. LaMelo Ball became an All-Star, and it felt like the Hornets were building something special.
A second straight blowout loss in the Play-In Tournament was the final straw for James Borrego, though. He was let go after four seasons and the Hornets took a step backward in 2023.
Returning to New Orleans could give the Pelicans a significant boost. James Borrego turned the Charlotte Hornets into one of the best offenses in the NBA. What will he do with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in the Big Easy? If the Pelicans are struggling, the front office could hand the keys over to Borrego in hopes of turning things around.