Former NBA star Muggsy Bogues says the Charlotte Hornets must get their next coaching appointment right if they want to progress next season.
Improvements in each of the last two years were not enough to keep James Borrego in a job, with Hornets’ GM Mitch Kupchak deciding to move in a different direction.
Jay Larranaga and Frank Vogel are amongst the leading contenders to take over as head coach of one of the most potential-packed teams in the NBA.
The Hornets failed to progress to the post-season this term after slipping to a disappointing 132-103 defeat against Atalanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference play-in game.
Despite the defeat, Bogues believes the Hornets are well-placed to build on the progress they made during the 2021/22 campaign.
“I think they had a pretty decent season, even though they came up a little short,” he told Betway Insider. “It was derailed by (Gordon) Hayward’s injury. I think that put them in a tough situation.
“But we had a lot of good play and a lot of guys stepped up. The elevation of Miles Bridges, taking his game to the level that he was able to, and as well as with LaMelo Ball. The future is really bright there with those guys.
“PJ Washington as well, also seeing what’s going to happen with Montrezl Harrell. With (Kelly) Oubre there as well, I think they got some pieces – a good core to continue to build from.
“I know they just let go of their coach, which was sad to see. I think the next person who comes in really has to create some great culture, I should say, in order to be able to keep these guys going in the right direction.”
Bogues is undoubtedly a respected figure where the Hornets are concerned having spent almost a decade with the club towards the end of the 20th century.
After struggling to make his mark during his first season, Bogue forced his way into the starting line-up to shine alongside the likes of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.
He took part in three play-off campaigns with the Hornets, and finished in the top ten in the league in assists in all six seasons from 1989 to 1995.
Injuries eventually took their toll on Bogues and he was traded to the Golden State Warriors in November 1997. He joined Toronto Raptors two years later, but was released in 2001.
Despite moving elsewhere towards the end of his playing career, Bogues continues to closely follow the Hornets’ fortunes.
He acknowledges that the squad still needs some pieces adding to it, but believes a top six place in the Eastern Conference is not beyond them next season.
They finished just three wins adrift of an automatic play-off spot this term and Bogues is confident they can make up the deficit in 2022/23.
“I think having another scorer, an experienced scorer besides LaMelo, and having the health of Hayward is key,” he added. “Also, somebody who can protect the rim.
“Those three pillars, with another scorer, a big guy and health with Hayward, we can be right there with everybody. You know, I really do, I really believe we can be right there with everybody.
“Considering the season that we had this year, but again, some of the injuries that came upon us.”