Why Michael Jordan Taking a Step Back Is Great News for the Charlotte Bobcats
We all know it. There's no point in denying the state of the Charlotte Bobcats and who got us here.
Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, and one of the best athletes ever, has turned the Charlotte Bobcats into a flailing franchise that has struggled since their inception into the NBA.
It's not all Jordan's fault...there have been others who have gotten the Bobcats to where they are right now, and even before MJ owned the team and took over as manager of basketball operations, the team was going nowhere fast.
But Jordan dug the 'Cats into a pretty deep hole all on his own. He rallied for guys that he should have passed on, he has never had a good draft and despite being the best player of all time, not a single major free agent has wanted to come to Charlotte.
Can you blame them?
It's not fair to blame everything on him. It's not like he inherited a team like the Los Angeles Lakers and dragged them down into the basement. He bought and took control of what was already a mediocre team.
But he has definitely been a blight in this organization as far as basketball organizations go. You would think Jordan knows talent, but his draft history has proven otherwise.
The 2011 draft might have been the turning point, when they selected Kemba Walker ninth overall and managed to pick up Bismack Biyombo, who was drafted seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings. Both of them showed great promise last season, but they're both still very raw.
It's not fair to look at that draft and say it was a bust. We simply don't know yet how those two players are going to pan out.
Enter Rich Cho.
Rich Cho has been referred to as a "moneyball" type of general manager. He helped turn the Oklahoma City Thunder from a meager team in a very small market into what could become a dynasty, and he did it all through the draft.
OKC got lucky in three consecutive drafts. They were able to pick up Kevin Durant second overall in 2007, Russell Westbrook fifth and Serge Ibaka 24th overall in the 2008 draft, and James Harden third overall in the 2009 draft.
Their four cornerstones were acquired in three drafts. Few (if any) NBA teams have had that kind of luck in consecutive seasons.
But now, Michael Jordan has broken out of his normal character. He has decided to relinquish control of talent evaluation, making Rich Cho the main man when it comes to picking up players.
Is this a good thing? Absolutely.
Jordan, for everything he has done in this sport, has been utterly useless as a talent evaluator in the NBA. He's made some of the worst draft decisions in the history of this sport, and he constantly looms over meetings to discuss talent.
To put it simply, he ran the Charlotte Bobcats with an iron fist, thinking his way was the best and only way.
After you go 7-59, it's time to start to put things into perspective, which is exactly what MJ has done.
Sure, he's stubborn. This is a move that he should have done years ago. It took the worst season in the history of an NBA team to make him realize that he was not picking winners.
The Bobcats had what may have been their most important draft in franchise history this offseason, selecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist a No. 2 overall, and Jeffery Taylor at No. 31 overall.
That is a fantastic draft. Those are two guys (despite playing the same position) who are going to instantly make the Bobcats better. They both have winning, coachable attitudes, they come from winning programs and they both have a ton of talent.
You can bet Rich Cho had a lot of say in who was drafted. If Michael Jordan had his way, it was rumored that the Bobcats could have taken Harrison Barnes at No. 2 overall, which wouldn't have been horrible, but it definitely wasn't what the Bobcats needed.
MKG has more potential and more growing room than Barnes. He might not be the same scorer as Barnes, but he's a much better defender, he's a much more coachable kid and he's an excellent locker room guy who picks everyone around him up.
Simply put, MKG and Taylor are winners who want to bring winning to Charlotte.
It won't happen this year. The Bobcats are still going to be a lottery team, probably with a top-five pick. The Thunder weren't built in one year, and the Bobcats could use another high lottery pick.
They probably won't be good the year after this one, either, but I would be willing to bet my house on the Bobcats making noticeable strides under the guidance of Rich Cho's talent evaluation.
Having a big name like Michael Jordan owning this team is a great thing. It brings attention to the Bobcats that they wouldn't receive otherwise.
But having him run the entire organization essentially on his own with a bunch of yes-men to help him along the way? That needed to stop.
And finally, it has. Thank you, Michael.
Constantly knowing you're going into the season as a bad team is demoralizing. I've been a Bobcats fan since they formed in Charlotte, and I was a Hornets fan before that.
I'm tired of watching bad, lethargic, unexciting teams, and I'm tired of watching Jordan pass up talent for free agents who barely have a heartbeat. I'm tired of watching the team I love lose constantly.
It has taken a lot of willpower to not just walk away and find someone else to support. After the debacle of last season, I was incredibly close to doing just that.
But the addition of Rich Cho and the subtraction of Michael Jordan as talent evaluator is the best move this franchise has ever made.
Here's to hoping Cho's magic can extend to Charlotte. If ever there was a team in need of a savior, it's the Bobcats.
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