Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bobcats a mess as usual as Dunlap gets fired

The first time I heard of Mike Dunlap conducting a four-hour NBA practice I wondered if he was really cut out for an NBA head-coaching job.

Turns out he isn't -- at least not according to the team that hired him. The Bobcats consigned Dunlap to the embarrassing area where Sam Vincent's NBA head-coaching career ended up Tuesday, firing him after a single season.

Someone who would know told me that in the team's annual season-ending exit interviews that Dunlap received a number of negative evaluations from current Bobcat players -- not only for those occasional long practices but for his general demeanor with them. Dunlap was just a demanding, negative sort of guy -- smart with Xs and Os, but snappish and hard to relate to. He was a boss that many of the players didn't particularly like working for.

Has that worked for some other basketball coaches? Sure. You could name dozens who weren't warm and cuddly and still won and kept jobs. And if Dunlap's only Bobcat team had done a lot better than 21-61 -- the NBA's second-worst record in 2012-13 -- he would still be employed here. But if you're going to micro-manage a lot and not get along that well with your players in the NBA, you sure better win a lot.

And so once again owner Michael Jordan and the Bobcats find themselves on Limbo Island, a place where they have lived so often in their team history that I believe they decided to buy a three-bedroom house there and set up residence instead of simply renting a place every summer. They have no head coach and are about to have to hire their sixth one (for a team that only began playing in 2004!). They have a lot of cap room but no all-star on the roster. They have another high draft pick coming up but no guarantee he will work out any better than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo, Adam Morrison and on and on and on. They have made the playoffs only once in team history and have never won a playoff game. And they aren't even sure whether they will be the Bobcats or return to the "Charlotte Hornets" nickname for the long term (they should become the "Hornets" and sprint away from this sad history).

The Bobcats have been a mess for much of their existence, and they are still a mess. I would agree that Dunlap showed he wasn't the right guy to clean it up, so today's decision makes a certain amount of sense. But the one where they decided to hire him originally? That one, as the Bobcats have now admitted by firing him after one season, was a serious mistake.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bobcats are a mess because of their start with Bob Johnson and now Mike Jordan......too bad Bob unfairly got the team for stupid reasons and not a more qualified person that would have started it all more successfully.

Anonymous said...

Vets like Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thoms didn't like him. Who cares. This is stupid. he should have gotten a second year.

David said...

the Bobcats don't have a legit NBA roster...until they get one, it doesn't matter who the coach is

AddIn said...

You sure are fast to throw the Bobcats under the bus. Why is it that you give the Panthers a free ride? Four winning seasons out of eighteen is as bad as it gets. The Bobcats would have to get a LOT WORSE to match that record, but I am sure you will never report on that. I mean who would pay for your media pass and free buffet?

Anonymous said...

I think we would have been better off w/ Larry Bird.

Anonymous said...

But the Panthers have been to a super bowl before.

Anonymous said...

The team is terrible...I liked Dunlap; he didnt put up with the waiste in Thomas and Gorden...Thomas is the worst player in the NBA and he recognized that..he's lazy and a "me" player..can't hit jumpers and plays NO defense...I will say this, as a season ticket holder (4 years now) Jordan better do something this offseason or I am done...And until you get players in here, the coach is irrelevant...

Anonymous said...

@AddIn is four winning seasons out of 18 really a "LOT WORSE" than one out of 9?

Anonymous said...

The Larry Brid group definitely should have gotten the team instead of Bob Johnson who was only selected by Stern because he had strong ties with Michael Jordan and Stern wanted Jordan to be an executive with an NBA team again even after his embarrasing stint with the Wizards. This is the absolute cheapest organization in the NBA which reflects in their Coaching hires and roster. They have botched numerous lottery picks when they usually pick guys that MJ decides will be good based on workouts and pickup games he plays against them.

Anonymous said...

Should the person responsible for hiring a coach that they fire after one season be making decisions on the next one?

Anonymous said...

I bet if charlotte had a white owner people wouldnt say anything about him. my point is bob johnson is the reason we have NBA team and you guys are so stupid and not thankful. Just like with the panther charlotte we mess around and loss them too.

Anonymous said...

Changing the name back to Hornets isn't going to change anything. It might help in gear sales but what will that do for the product on the court and the ones running the show?

Anonymous said...

I have watched and played thousands of basketball games in my lifetime and I consider Mike Dunlap one of the finest half dozen coaches I have ever seen at any level. Yes he is demanding and stresses attention to detail. His college players spoke highly of him as a coach and a person and were among the hardest playing teams I ever saw. Perhaps high earning NBA players are indeed different but he was an excellent defensive assistant with the Denver Nuggets. JR Smith did not get along with George Karl. They parted ways and both have flourished without the other. It is more likely your personel that is poor not your coaches.

Anonymous said...

to the person defending Bob Johnson. Race card much? He was without question the worst owner ever. In the history of sport. He made us long for the days of Shinn. He ran that organization in a horrible direction. So much so that people want to get his name off anything associated with our city.

Topher said...

Changing back to Hornets isn't going to change the product on the floor. It's not going to make anything worse either. Changing back to Hornets won't hurt at all.

Anonymous said...

Anon. at 3:23,

Finest half dozen coaches at any level? I'll just name college K, Pitino, Izzo, Williams, Motta, Donovan. Really?

Bill said...

I'm done with this circus! Not another dime from me. Jordan cannot run a team, please let someone else own it who can.

isaacplautus said...

Mike Dunlap was not the problem. The problem is lack of players who can put the ball through the hoop enough times to win games. The job of owners and executives is to put those kinds of players on the roster. From a player personnel standpoint, you'd be hard pressed to find a team in NBA history that has made worse decisions than the Charlotte front office these past 5 years.

Teddy said...

Word around the cable box is that Stephanie Ready will be the coach next year.

Anonymous said...

To Addln,
You say that we wouldn't bash a white owner? And that Bob is the reason we have an NBA team again? This is not true at all. Larry Bird was the first person to talk about bringing a team back to Charlotte. He was with a group of people that also included his former teammate ML Carr who happens to be black. He had picked out a house to move into in Charlotte and said he'd "live here the rest of his life." Bird's group took over of the former Charlotte WNBA team The "Sting" in an attempt to build up support for a new NBA team. But we all know what happened in the end. We get a guy who didn't care one bit about Charlotte or even Basketball. And Larry Bird goes on to the Pacers and wins the NBA Executive of the Year award last year.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Scott's on point here.