Hitting Rock Bottom? Bobcats Finish Season With Worst Record In NBA History
There was "so much going on Thursday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena that you could almost forget the sad fact on the floor, which was that the Charlotte Bobcats were hurtling straight to the butt end of history," as the team lost to the Knicks to end the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history, according to a front-page piece by Tommy Tomlinson of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. In some ways, "this was by design." The Bobcats "spent the last two years dumping almost all their best players, because in the NBA, the best way for a middling team to get better is to hit bottom." The problem is, the Bobcats "still asked fans to buy tickets and watch this terrible team." Most fans, "having good sense, stayed home." Team Owner Michael Jordan "attended the finale but didn’t speak to the media." The "only time he was mentioned all night was when a whole row of fans won free Jordan sneakers." But there was a "buzz in the air on the concourse, and all those transplanted New Yorkers came to cheer on the Knicks, and it felt like a live night in the city" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/27). In N.Y., Lynn Zinser writes the Bobcats have "done it all with the best player in NBA history grimacing." When seen, Jordan "rarely stops scowling." TNT's Mike Fratello, who called last night's game, said that it would "only be fair to judge Jordan on the Bobcats’ rebuilding after it was truly under way." He said, "The best thing that can happen is for all the Ping-Pong balls to fall their way, get the No. 1 pick, pick the kid from Kentucky and they’re on their way." Zinser writes the Bobcats "clearly have joined a club no team wants to join, although the worst-ever debates do tend to be fun and colorful." However, one problem for the Bobcats is that they "have not added any charm to their losing ways." Fans are "not wearing paper bags." The players are "not performing pratfalls on the court." It is "not so tough to find a villain, though, and many have decided it is Jordan" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/27).
NOT SOMETHING TO CHERISH: Bobcats coach Paul Silas said, "The season itself was a long haul for all of us -- upstairs and downstairs. Being the worst team in the history of the game is not something you cherish." Before last night's game, Bobcats G Gerald Henderson addressed the crowd, saying, "I know it’s been a tough year. We’ll be working all summer to turn this thing around" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/27). The AP's Steve Reed writes this year's Bobcats were "everything Jordan wasn't as a player -- unproductive, uncompetitive and unwatchable." With the current roster, the Bobcats "lack a face for the franchise, at least on the court." Reed: "All that's on Jordan. His reputation as an executive continues to take hit after hit" (AP, 4/27).
ON THE AIR: Regarding TNT airing the Bobcats' record-setting game Thursday, NBA TV's Jared Greenberg asked, "How do you arrange this: Knicks-Bobcats season finale?" TNT Analyst Charles Barkley responded, "I think the commissioner was mad at us." Barkley, in regards to Jordan, "Michael Jordan is one of my great friends. He's getting killed, and rightfully so, because the Bobcats stink and he has to take full responsibility for that. ... I hate to say that, but he deserves it. They have not done a good job. I mean, that's embarrassing, the situation they're in now, but you just got to take it" ("NBA GameTime," NBA TV, 4/26).