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Pop’s coaching tree continues with James Borrego

The two-time assistant is another of Pop’s assistants to now be an opposing head coach.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images

Now that the new basketball season is in full swing, it’s time to return to our look into the storied history of Gregg Popovich’s coaching tree. Today we discuss James Borrego.

San Antonio Spurs v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Borrego played ball for the University of San Diego for three seasons before transitioning into an assistant coach in 2001.

He spent two stints with the Spurs, the first in 2003 starting as an assistant video coordinator before being promoted to assistant coach. Through seven seasons with the Spurs, Borrego was involved with two of the Spurs NBA championship teams.

In 2010, Borrego went to New Orleans with fellow assistant Monty Williams when he took the head coach job with the New Orleans Hornets. He then went to Orlando to join another former Pop protege Jacque Vaughn as an assistant for the Magic. After three seasons, he was elevated to interim coach when Vaughn was fired.

At the end of that season (and a 10-20 record), he made his return to San Antonio where he spent three more years alongside the Spurs great head coach.

At the end of 2018, Borrego was pilfered from the Spurs by the Charlotte Hornets to become the first head coach of Latin decent in NBA history. He is currently in the final year of a four year contract. He’s struggled in the Eastern Conference, unable to get his team to the post season during his tenure.

It will be interesting to see what develops for Borrego in the offseason. He has proven to be an asset on the sideline on San Antonio as well as a positive presence in the community. Perhaps a third term’s a charm in San Antonio?

Next up: Someday, legions of young fans will say, Tim Duncan was a coach?


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