It's been a rough week for the Charlotte Bobcats. They lost out on the top pick in the draft despite having the best odds in the lottery, tried to pass off that result as a success, and held one of most depressing "parties" imaginable. With the common perception that Michael Jordan isn't exactly the best executive around, confidence in Charlotte is at an all-time low.
However, the Bobcats would like you to know that Jordan isn't as bad as you think. According to Bobcats exec Rod Higgins during an interview with WFNZ in Charlotte, Jordan wasn't responsible for drafting Adam Morrison. Here's the transcript via Sports Radio Interviews:
On the past draft-day blunders and how fans can trust that those won't be made again going forward
"I think you can go through any franchise and any team and you can second guess after the fact on what you should have done. If the situation, when you talk about Morrison, I'll just be specific. That was a different regime."
Wasn't Adam Morrison Michael Jordan's pick though?
"No. From my gathering, because I wasn't here at that particular time, I thought it was Bernie Bickerstaff. … It's a fair question and I'm sure every market and every team has to kind of go through that process because you can second guess. I'll sit here and tell you guys that we're fairly equipped to make sound decisions. You can go back and forth and always say what if, but at the end of the day, I think that Kemba Walker and Bismack are going to be pretty good at the end of the day. I think Gerald Henderson is going to be pretty good."
It is entirely possible that Higgins is telling the truth. Jordan officially bought a minority interest in the franchise and took control of basketball operations on June 15, 2006. The draft was held 13 days later, so for all we know Jordan might not have taken control of the scouting process and changed the course of the pick. Perhaps Bickerstaff is responsible for that decision.
The problem with that line of thinking is that Jordan's ownership situation didn't take place overnight, to the point where it's very difficult to imagine him not being involved in any of the draft preparations. He had to have signed off on the Morrison pick, at the very least, and if he doesn't take responsibility for it then he's not being a very good leader. Even if he was only in charge for 13 days, he was in charge of that pick.
Jordan won't control the Bobcats' selection in this draft — that's up to their very well-regarded general manager Rich Cho. But the lack of responsibility here — Higgins set it, but he's effectively MJ's proxy — doesn't point to a stellar management style. Morrison was a bad pick, but he's also been off the team for several years. The only reason Jordan wouldn't own up to his involvement is vanity.