After seeing his Charlotte Bobcats set an NBA record for the lowest winning percentage in a season, owner Michael Jordan is focused on the future rather than the past.
Jordan, speaking prior to the Hooptee Celebrity Golf Classic Thursday at the Golf Club at Ballantyne, said he likes the team's two draft choices and the direction provided by new head coach Mike Dunlap. Jordan also said the team remains active in the free agent and trade market in an effort to upgrade the roster.
"Obviously, I'm a competitor. I never want to be in the record book for being a failure," Jordan said. "At the end of the day, I've also got to understand the shortened season, you've got a lot of injuries, got a lot of young kids that got thrust into a starting scenario. That was a repercussion of those facts.
"As much as people tried to criticize it, it was obviously a down period for the franchise. We feel like we still got some good things to build with. Our young kids got a little experience of what it feels like to be in the NBA. On top of that we have some good young kids coming in.
"We're on the road to the right way, to being a good team. Last year was one of those years where everything happened against us. I take full credit for that. Unfortunately, these things happen. But I see an upside for this franchise, without a doubt."
After posting a 7-59 record, the Bobcats chose not to retain head coach Paul Silas, replacing him with Dunlap, who has not been a head coach on the NCAA Division I level or in the NBA. Jordan said Dunlap's detailed approach to the game and his passion for coaching led him to hire Dunlap to oversee the next phase of the Bobcats' development.
In the draft, the Bobcats used the second pick to draft Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and added Vanderbilt guard Jeffery Taylor in the second round. Both players are in Las Vegas with the Bobcats' summer league team which begins play Friday night.
Jordan dismissed questions about Kidd-Gilchrist's ability to be a consistent perimeter scorer and endorsed both draft choices.
"I think (Kidd-Gilchrist is) going to be fine," Jordan said. "I think the kid has the potential to be, as I call him, a connector. He can connect a lot of dots, a Scottie Pippen-like player.
"Everbody's complaining about his shooting. He never illustrated to me that he's afraid to shoot the basketball. He can still shoot the ball. He believes he can make shots. I think the kid is going to be okay.
"Jeffery I like. He's steady, consistent, tough. He's going to be a good pro. He knows how to play. He's going to be all right.
The Bobcats have been linked to a variety of potential personnel moves, including recent reports the team may be working to land point guard Ramon Sessions who finished last year with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood.
Without offering specifics, Jordan said the team is taking an aggressive approach.
"We've got a lot of things on the table," Jordan said. "One thing about the staff is they've been working diligently to try and improve our franchise. There isn't a deal out there that we're not in conversations about. I leave it at that. We're still in the mix with some of these things and we're going to do everything we can to try and keep getting better."
With just one playoff appearance in franchise history, Jordan hopes for a quick return to the NBA postseason.
"It depends on the growth of our young kids," Jordan said. "We just got Mike (Dunlap) who I think is going to be a good developmental coach. He's going to work with these kids and make sure they continue to progress the way we want them to. We're trying to build a very strong culture within this franchise. I think we have the right personnel to do so. It could be a matter of time, how fast these guys develop."