Michael Jordan no longer could hide his frustration midway thru the Bobcats’ dismal season last year. Not wanting anyone to find out how angry he was, Charlotte’s owner moved from his seat at the end of the team’s bench to his more secluded luxury suite high above the court.
Still, he didn’t give up on his club then and he is not now.
The ultra-competitive Jordan declared despite watching his club “hit absolute bottom” during the most unhappy season in NBA history, he’s “in it for the long haul ” when it comes to seeing his struggling franchise changed into a consistent winner.
He knows it will not be a fast, easy process.
“Are we a playoff team? C’mon, we will not expect that,” Jordan recounted. “But we want to get things rolling in the right direction. I’m not real happy about the record book scenario last year. It’s very, very frustrating.”
Charlotte finished 7-59 and with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history.
Jordan, who won 6 NBA titles with the Bulls, believes he has the right man to turn things around in new coach Mike Dunlap.
Dunlap has taken a no-nonsense, back-to-basics approach to coaching basketball — something Jordan said has been missing in Charlotte. NFL lines
“For years those steps have been skipped,” Jordan announced. “… We don’t have a star that may carry the team, so you need to learn to play together. That is what I love about (Dunlap). He’s going to get back to the basics with good passes, pivots, boxing out, running, looking after the ball and taking good shots. All of the things that were lost.”
Jordan asserted the challenge has been getting players to buy in, particularly when it comes down to Dunlap’s tiring 3- to 4-hour marathon practices.
But he’s there to be sure they do.
Jordan saw what he perceived as “resistance” from some players to Dunlap’s tactics earlier in the week, pulled them aside after practice and dressed them down. He told them that he totally supports Dunlap’s philosophies and if they don’t agree with it, they won’t be around for long.
That appeared to get the players’ attention.
Jordan said the day after he saw a change in attitude.
“I want to establish a culture inside this organization so that when you plug a man in, the culture is sitting there and no one guy is bigger than that culture,” Jordan said. “You either fit in or you don’t fit in. When you look at organizations that are established, they have a winning culture.”
Jordan recounted once the Bobcats establish that culture, more big-name free agents will want to come to Charlotte.
“Last year, we went thru the method of stripping down the organization and trying to build that back up,” Jordan claimed. “And this is another step toward that. Getting a young coach who understands our vision about what type of team we want to be and then having the ability to go pluck some of these (free agents) to mesh with what we have.”