Michael Jordan Acknowledges Mistakes as Bobcats GM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009; 6:15 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan's resume as an executive has long been tarnished by the name Kwame Brown, his much-maligned choice with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft when he ran the Washington Wizards.
Seven years later, he now has to live with another failed decision: Adam Morrison, Jordan's first draft pick with the Charlotte Bobcats. After not living up to expectations, Jordan traded the No. 3 overall selection in 2006 to the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend.
In a rare conference call with reporters Tuesday, Jordan owned up to the mistakes, but insisted other moves he's made as managing partner of the Bobcats have positioned the struggling franchise to compete long-term.
"I think we've grown from it. I've grown from it and hopefully down the road when you make a choice, you try to make a better choice," Jordan said from Chicago, where he still lives after winning six NBA titles as a player with the Bulls. "People are going to point out the mistakes. Very rarely do they point out the successes. I understand that. It's part of the game."
Jordan's Bobcats have been the NBA's most active team this season. After luring Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown out of his two-year exile following a bungled season in New York, Jordan has teamed with his tinkering coach to pull off three trades and use a league-high 23 players.
The last deal, sending Morrison and reserve guard Shannon Brown to the Lakers on Saturday for reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovic, was an acknowledgment of error. Months after becoming a part-owner with the final say on basketball decisions, Jordan took Morrison ahead of Rudy Gay and Brandon Roy.
The former Gonzaga star, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, did little with Charlotte and didn't fit into Brown's system.
"Coming off an injury last year, he seemed to have lost his confidence a little bit," Jordan said. "He didn't have the understanding of how Larry expected him to play both offensively and defensively. And I felt like something needed to happen for Adam as well as the organization."
While Morrison joins Kwame Brown as the picks that critics point to and suggest Jordan's a failure as a talent evaluator, Jordan chuckles that little is said about taking point guard D.J. Augustin with the ninth pick in last year's draft. Augustin is having an impressive rookie season.
"It's a gamble," Jordan said. "Even with Kwame Brown. If we don't take Kwame Brown at No. 1, he's going at 2. No matter how you look at it, everybody had him on their radar as being the top pick. We just so happened to be the top pick and we chose him. It didn't pan out and we take the brunt of that. We understand that. It's the risk that you take."
Jordan has put the Bobcats, who have struggled to gain fan support in five losing seasons, through a major makeover.
In December, Charlotte sent top scorer Jason Richardson and reserve forward Jared Dudley to Phoenix for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary. Bell replaced Richardson at shooting guard and Diaw immediately shored up the hole at power forward.