Friday, March 23, 2012

Michael Jordan needs to be hands-off for Bobcats to succeed

No matter how you slice it, Michael Jordan is likely in anyone's top five players in NBA history. A six-time NBA champion (and six-time Finals MVP), five-time NBA MVP, 10 scoring titles, 9-time All defense first team, and a 14-time All-Star, Jordan was peerless in his playing career. Even his comeback with the Wizards from 2001-2003 produced in both the box office (home attendance and ticket prices spiked) and the box score (he averaged no worse than 20.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists in those two seasons).

M.J. has also been a very successful business man, as Forbes reported that Jordan earned $60 million in endorsements during 2010. Between his 'Air Jordan' Nike shoes (which boasts NBA All-Stars like Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony among those endorsed), Hanes and Upper Deck, Jordan is still the pre-eminent pitch man for products despite the fact he hasn't played in an NBA game since the 2002-2003 season.
Jordan has yet to have the success in ownership and front office jobs that he has as both a player and endorser. His stint with the Washington Wizards included the drafting of Kwame Brown #1 overall, passing on players like Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol (taken #2 and #3). He also traded Richard Hamilton to the Pistons for a package centered around Jerry Stackhouse. Hamilton became one of the better shooting guards in the league, and helped Detroit to the 2004 NBA title. Stackhouse put up 21.5 points and 4.5 assists in his first season with the Wizards, but missed most of the 2004-2005 season due to injury, and was traded one year later (along with the first round pick that became point guard Devin Harris) for power forward Antawn Jamison.
He's also had his fair share of head-scratchers with Charlotte since first purchasing a minority stake in the team in 2006. He famously passed on former University of Washington guard Brandon Roy (who went on to be a three-time NBA All-Star before a knee condition forced his retirement) and Rudy Gay to draft Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison. Morrison's best season as a pro was his rookie season, where he put up 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 37.6% shooting (33.7 from 3). After missing the 07-08 season due to a knee injury, the Bobcats dealt Morrison and Shannon Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vladimir Radmanovic (another Jordan doozy).

After the Bobcats traded Emeka Okafor for Chandler in 2009, he was promptly flipped a season later to the Dallas Mavericks (along with Alexis Ajinca) for Matt Carroll, Erick Dampier and Eduardo Najera. Chandler went on to be the key defensive cog on the Mavericks run to the 2011 NBA title, while Carroll and Najera have been role players, and Dampier was waived less than six months after the trade.

Jordan was able to make some fairly shrewd moves, including turning Flip Murray, Acie Law and a future first round pick to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas. The problem with that move was the ensuing contract extension that netted Thomas $40 million over five years. Thomas is a high-energy player, but has a low basketball I.Q. on the offensive end, and too often settles for jumpers instead of using his elite athleticism to attack the rim. To make matters worse, current head coach Paul Silas has played Thomas largely at small forward, when Thomas' skill set should preclude him from playing there.
Jordan hired a smart front office man in Rich Cho, the former Blazers general manager who previously had cut his teeth working under Oklahoma City G.M. Sam Presti. Cho was never given a true chance in Portland, and was fired less than one year into his tenure with Portland. The team does have some young talent, including fourth year point guard D.J. Augustin, third-year wing Gerald Henderson, as well as rookies Bismack Biyombo at center and combo guard Kemba Walker.
If the Bobcats are to have success long-term, Jordan will allow Cho to run the basketball operations, as Jordan has consistently proven he's incapable of making smart player personnel moves.

1 comment:

  1. i agree let Mr. Cho do his thing and Jordan sit back