Top 5 Michael Jordan NBA Draft Blunders
5. Trading Stephen Jackson for No. 7 Pick (2011)
We know what was behind this move, a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. And that plan almost worked as the Bobcats set a record for futility by percentage in winning just seven games in 2011-12 after trading away Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace before the season. That put them in position to land Kentucky forward-center Anthony Davis before they were upset in the lottery by the New Orleans Hornets.
That being said, the Bobcats certainly did not get equal worth for Jackson, their top scorer in 2010-11 who averaged 18.5 points per game. Jordan’s team dealt Jackson for the rights to the seventh overall pick of last year’s draft, Bismack Biyombo - a project center from Congo - and Corey Maggette from Milwaukee in a three-team trade that also included the Sacramento Kings.
Jackson went on to play a key role in the San Antonio Spurs run to the Western Conference finals, while Biyombo averaged 5.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. You know Jordan is horrible in the draft when even his tanking doesn’t work.
4. Trading for Alexis Ajinca (2008)
As Bill Simmons might say, any time you can mortgage some of your future for an unknown 20-year-old center from France, you’ve got to do it. Ajinca, of course, is back playing in France after parts of three seasons in the NBA - and just two with the Bobcats. Jordan sent a future conditional first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for the raw big man. As a result of another trade, that left Charlotte without a single pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Solid strategy.
Jordan and company no doubt thought that Ajinca would be more than a bit player for the Bobcats, for whom he played a combined 37 games from 2008-10 and averaged 4.2 PPG. Yes, sometimes the draft is hit or miss. But this was a big strikeout that symbolized Jordan’s minor-league baseball career.
3. Drafting Wright over Noah (2007)
Brandan Wright didn’t play a minute for the Bobcats, who selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft before trading him to the Golden State Warriors for a package that was highlighted by Jason Richardson. But the Bobcats chose Wright - even if it was for the Warriors - one spot ahead of forward-center Joakim Noah, a two-time national champion at Florida. Richardson was traded away from Charlotte by 2009, while Noah has gone on to become a top player who is known for his defense and rebounding with the Chicago Bulls.
Sure, there were questions as to whether Noah’s non-traditional style would translate to the NBA. But there were bigger questions about Wright, a raw freshman from North Carolina, who was dealt for a mediocre shooting guard that didn’t even help the Bobcats make the playoffs.
2. Drafting Morrison over Roy & Gay (2006)
Everyone got caught up in Morrison-mania - or is it Morrisanity these days? - but the Gonzaga star most certainly was not the next Larry Bird as many had made him out to be during a storied college career. As someone who played with and against Bird, Jordan should have known that. To be fair, Jordan had just joined the Bobcats as a minority shareholder weeks earlier. But we can’t imagine that MJ wasn’t consulted on the pick with this much weight.
Morrison was selected with the third overall pick that year, just a few slots ahead of Washington’s Brandon Roy (sixth overall) and Connecticut’s Rudy Gay (eighth overall) - both of whom went on to stardom. As for Morrison, he most recently played in Serbia and Turkey and is on the outside looking at the NBA just six years after the Bobcats - with Jordan on board - hitched their wagon to him.
1. Drafting Kwame Brown over Everyone (2001)
We’ve seen this happen in other sports, but Jordan became so obsessed with Brown’s workouts that he chose him first overall in the 2001 NBA Draft fresh out of high school. We realize this draft wasn’t loaded with talent, but the next two picks were Tyson Chandler - the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year - and Pau Gasol, one of the most talented big men in the league. Needless to say, this didn’t work out for Brown - one of the most-maligned players in NBA history - and the Wizards.
It led to Brown’s reputation as a soft player who can’t get the most out of his talents, even while playing alongside Jordan for two seasons. The decision to draft Brown ultimately led to Jordan’s firing as Wizards president of basketball operations in 2003.
With the future of the Bobcats’ franchise now in the balance over the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, Bobcat fans should prepare themselves for the worst.