On Tuesday, the Charlotte Hornets kicked off their first session of training camp for the 2019-20 season at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But don't let the first-day moniker fool you. The first of two practice sessions on the day was every bit as intense as a mid-season workout according to Hornets' head coach James Borrego who insisted the day be all about the team's new defensive minded approach. "You are what you emphasize ...and I think going into this season it's going to be on the defensive end," said Borrego.
Borrego credits the closeness of the group to the lengthy summer sessions this off-season that have allowed the young nucleus of players to build trust in each other as well as the team's system.
Despite losing a cache of offensive firepower, the team hopes to win games by using defense as a way to bolster their opportunities on offense.
With the addition of veteran point guard Terry Rozier to act as distributor-in-chief, the team expects players such as Nic Batum, Miles Bridges, Dwayne Bacon and others to better utilize those scoring opportunities. "We gotta depend on our defense," said Miles Bridges. "We got a lot of guys that like to play defense and shut people down ...so I think we'll do a good job on defense."
To cap off the first day experience, players got a chance to meet popular hip-hop artist J. Cole who stopped by to watch practice. "To see him here to show us that love, it was great," Terry Rozier said. "He's one of the best rappers today ...we're a big music team, coach loves music, so it was great."
Probably the most impressed by the visit, however, was Hornets Forward Miles Bridges. "He's one of my favorite rappers ...my first shot in front of him was airborne," Bridges said jokingly. "Other than that it was great for me."
Training camp rolls on at the Smith Center Wednesday and includes a morning and afternoon session.