Early Growing Pains For Bobcats





Bobcats owner Michael Jordan did an interview Thursday with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that covered a wide range of topics. From the possibility the franchise could make a name change should New Orleans give up the Hornets to comparing the versatility and attitude of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with Scottie Pippen as a “connector” for the lineup.

Oh, and that players have already gone to Jordan to complain about the lengthy practices of new coach Mike Dunlap.

Maybe it’s an ominous beginning for Dunlap as a first-time NBA head coach with more experience dealing with players in the college game. Maybe it is more a very bad sign about the players trying to respond to a 7-59 season and not even being able to make it to opening night before griping about being overworked. Either way, it looks bad in so many ways for the Bobcats.

Dunlap was a surprise hire in June only because the announcement came without his name ever being linked to the job. The perception game turned it into a risk hire by Jordan, but in reality, Dunlap was a well-respected basketball man with a long history on the bench. The Warriors’ move for Mark Jackson the season before, among others, was a much bigger gamble, only better disguised by name recognition.

This is still about the perception game because Dunlap has already been wounded before so much as reaching the regular season. He is quickly getting a reputation as a task master driving the roster into the ground. Someone save the players!

When that someone is Michael Jordan, the issue is elevated. Anything with MJ is, of course, but in this case it is the Jordan whose resume’ as an executive has been used as a piñata for years. Dunlap is not just his hire. Dunlap is also about his credibility.

How many players went to Jordan is not known, and there is obviously a difference in a few coming to him with a concern and a full-scale mutiny. He said he sent them away with the message to stop griping and that the Bobcats need the drilling on fundamentals.

“You can’t say we don’t need that stuff,” he told the Observer. “If so, we wouldn’t be going 7-59 as a team.”

Jordan said he also told players: “Either you’re in or you’re not going to be here.” No word yet whether they took that as a threat.

Charlotte was going to be one of the intriguing watches anyway. How will Bismack Biyombo develop? How will the Dunlap hire turn out? How much can Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot be fixed? The storylines were numerous anyway. Another just got added.

13 Comments

  1. Chester says:

    there’s no way the wolves trade rubio or the warriors trade curry in the forseeable future. i think the bobcats are fine with a lineup of gchrist, mullens, biyombo, Henderson, and sessions. they need veterans badly. a younger Kurt Thomas type off the bench. maybe blair from the spurs. Ben Gordon is a good 6th man when motivated. i would play reggie Williams more at the 4 and haywood is a good backup centre.

  2. kingofaces2895 says:

    Work hard, establish yourself as a legitimate NBA franchise, gain the attention of players and the media, draft well, and pick up a big time free agent in 2014. This should be the bobcats game plan. The bobcats have the pieces in place right now to get a 20+ win season. That’s by no means a good season for any franchise but it will be heading in the positive direction big time. If they work on their game hard everyday and show improvement as a team all while remaining a lottery team, they are going to be headed in the right direction. This team should focus on getting a number 1 pick. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t work hard to improve. They should improve their game while still purposefully throwing a few games away to ensure they get that first or at least second pick. If they can draft someone like Cody Zeller in 2013, they’ll have a legitimate inside presence that will have back court free agents lining up in the 2013 offseason to sign with them. In the 2013 offseason, they need to rid themselves of all the useless players just eating up their available money and go for a big time free agent guard and maybe a forward to go with their big man in zeller. They could try and make some sort of three way deal to get ricky rubio while giving up sessions and walker. They could also go for chauncey billups to get some veteran leadership in the locker room. They could also make a run for stephen curry, They should also look to trade MKG who has alot of upside but is raw for someone who can stuff the stat sheet now. That person should be Tyreke Evans whom many have counted out due to some poor seasons since his astonishing rookie season. I still am of the belief that Evans could finally break out within the next year or two and become the superstar he has the potential to be. He’s the kind of guy who can become a 20+ ppg player while still being a near triple double threat every night. He’s a very very VERY lite and unrefined version of LeBron James. A lineup with rubio, curry, Evans, and Zeller would possibly take them to the playoffs in the 2013-2014 season. Finally, the master plan can take full effect as they can make some big time moves for some big time free agents in the 2014 offseason to become a legitimate title contender in the span of two years. I am not a bobcats fan but this is what I would do if I were MJ.

    • Bret says:

      Wow, you really don’t have a clue how the NBA works, do you? Rubio isn’t going anywhere, he’s the key to MN’s future and they won’t let him go. GSW just signed Curry to an 8-figure a year deal. Only way he becomes expendable is if he gets hurt again, at which point he becomes way to big if a question mark, especially for that kind of money. Tyreke could be a good addition, I think Dunlap could help him get his career on track

  3. JAG says:

    I hope that the morale of the team does go up… last thing we need is another team that does not execute because they’re not happy with how a “team” is supposed to function under a coach. The coach is doing a great job and MJ hopefully backs him up til the end 101%.

  4. steppx says:

    good article by my favorite writer.

    Bobcats wont turn it around over night…..but with one game done to hear players complain is probably not a good sign. Then again, WHO was complaining exactly? This is a rumor and who knows what it means. They had a great draft…..but this is still a d-league level team (so is sacramento and detroit)………but it should win a few more games this year. They need a good big man. Biyambo should play a Faried role………he’s not a center, and neither is mullins. MKG will be fine…….jeff taylor too. My question is where is the upside for Kemba? How much better can anyone expect him to get?

  5. Chester says:

    i think the cats will improve this year but not by much. i like the 5 of gilchrist, mullens, biyombo, Henderson, and sessions. first thing would be dump haywood and Thomas and play reggie Williams more as 6th man off the bench. but what team needs most is some good veteran leadership in the locker room, maybe Derek fisher or kenyon Martin, Michael redd etc

  6. Darin Ford says:

    Reblogged this on Basketball Writing and commented:
    This is a great post from one of my favorite NBA.com writers, Scott Howard-Cooper. And yes indeed, the Bobcats will have plenty of growing pains, don’t you worry about that.

  7. It’s sad when a team of “professionals” making $59,000,000 collectively, complain about working a few extra hours a day to improve their game. There are obviously a few things that need to be improved upon, given their record last year. Perhaps they are content with the “same old – same-old” as long as they are paid (WAY over-paid, I might add). If MJ folds on this issue, he is not the man I thought he was.

    The NBA has too many players that slack off until the play-offs roll around. Kudos to Dunlap for holding the players accountable and trying to set a standard for a higher level of play.

    • Sid says:

      You obviously have a desk job… It doesn’t matter how much money you make, we all have limits. Practice is very important but not to the point where you have used up so much energy that you cannot give 100% in the game that counts. Why do you think people complain about back to backs?? Without being there to know the full details there is no way to know who is at fault here… This is a non-story

  8. Typical NBA player mindset….They want the money and the glory without putting the time and effort in. Dunlap wants his players to play the game the way it is supposed to be played – with intensity. This team may be too lazy to do that.

  9. KRYZMA says:

    i look at a 16 win season