CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said last season was the most difficult he's endured in basketball.
"Obviously I'm a competitor, and I never want to be in the record books for failure," said the six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer.
He vows that better times are ahead for his club.
Jordan believes the Bobcats have the right coach in Mike Dunlap and a good core of young players who'll help turn the struggling franchise around after finishing 7-59 a year ago — the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history.
Jordan said the Bobcats still need to be added, but he likes the core group that includes, among others, players like Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo as well as rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffrey Taylor. Just how fast the Bobcats become a playoff contender, he said, will depend on how fast the young players develop.
And he thinks Dunlap is the perfect guy to develop those players.
"Mike is going to be a good developmental young coach and he's going to work with these kids and make sure they continue to progress," Jordan said. "We're trying to build a very strong culture in this franchise and I think we have the right personnel to do so. It can be a matter of time. It really all depends on how fast these kids develop."
Jordan is particularly high on small forward Kidd-Gilchrist, the team's No. 2 pick in the draft.
He compares him to former teammate Scottie Pippen, calling him a "connector," a versatile player who makes everybody around him better because of his ability to do so many things on both ends of the basketball floor.
While some are worried about Kidd-Gilchrist's shooting stroke, Jordan isn't.
"Everybody is complaining about his shooting but he never illustrated to me that he is afraid to shoot the basketball," Jordan said of the 6-foot-7 rookie from Kentucky. "He can still shoot the basketball. He believes he can make shots and I think that will come."
Jordan knows the Bobcats have a long way to go to get to where the Miami Heat are today — on top of the NBA world.
And he's not naive enough to think the Bobcats will get better without some important personnel moves.
Coming off a season in which they were last in the league in offense and 3-point shooting, the Bobcats still don't have a proven go-to player and aren't particularly deep off the bench. Their rebounding was horrendous last season and their defense shaky at best.