Michael Jordan, who acquired the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, has been criticized throughout the league and media for some of the decisions he’s made (and not made), and for not being aggressive enough in helping the franchise to steadily improve. His club, who had lost their last 23 games of the season needs a change. This week Michael has made a move that we had written about back on April 3rd, when we asked why Patrick Ewing isn’t coaching in the NBA.
The Bobcats have extended invitations for interviews for the vacated coaching job, which became available when Paul Silas & Charlotte parted ways, to Michael Malone and Patrick Ewing. With Paul Silas at the helm, the Bobcats posted an NBA worst 7-59 record, and had the lowest winning percentage (.106) in NBA history. Although Malone is highly regarded around the league, he still is under contract with the Golden State Warriors for another two years. Personally, after eight years as an assistant coach, his last five under Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic, I not only hope that Patrick lands the gig, I would be surprised if he is bypassed by his long time friend and former court rival Michael Jordan.
It’s just the right move at the right time. Patrick has paid his dues and done his job(s) well. Under his tutelage, Dwight Howard has developed into one of the leagues foremost successful centers. Ewing would not have stayed on as an assistant if Van Gundy didn’t think of him as an asset to the club. Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars interviewed Ewing for his franchise’s head-coaching job last spring and was impressed with him, but passed. I don’t think Michael will do the same.
If anyone knows the competitiveness, the work ethic, and the desire to win that Patrick possesses, it’s Michael Jordan. Back in the ’90’s they were rivals and warriors but when they left the court they became close friends. I remember being at the Garden the night that Patrick Ewing’s #33 jersey was raised to the rafters. I recall the ovation he received from the fans who knew he gave his all every single time he took the court. And sitting court-side, among dozens of Ewing’s peers from that time and from years gone by, was one Michael Jordan. It was who Jordan received the second loudest ovation on that starry night and perhaps that was only fitting.
I think the Hall of Famer will get the coaching job also because he only has one place to take the Bobcats in 2012-2013, and that’s up. Should they be lucky enough and nab Kentucky Wildcat 6′ 10″ Anthony Davis with the first overall pick in the draft, that would surely make the Bobcats instantly more competitive. They have a 25% chance of pulling that off and well, you never know. Patrick will help to guide last year’s 7th overall pick in the draft Bismark Biyombo. D.J. Augustin and UCONN standout Kemba Walker make for a nice PG exacta and another former 1st round pick from Duke, Gerald Henderson can light it up at the 2. A couple of choice moves in this year’s draft and Patrick could help begin the turn around in Charlotte right out of the gate.
The only other person under consideration with Ewing and Malone, is former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan- who the Bobcats do not need. They need someone fresh and hungry like Patrick who has been a winner since his days under John Thompson at Georgetown, to lead them to where wins are the rule and not the exception. No one will work harder and put themselves in a better position to win than Patrick Ewing. None of the other two will coach with the drive and enthusiasm of Patrick Ewing. And more importantly, none of the other two candidates are as close with the owner as Patrick Ewing.
Michael, do the right thing. Make this your best move since acquiring this club. Give the ‘Big Guy’ his first shot as head coach. He deserves it and you need him…it’s a Slam Dunk!