The Charlotte Hornets franchise is notorious for a lot of things. Arguably the greatest basketball player to ever play the game is the franchise owner. They had a famous color scheme back in the 90's, but the team moved to New Orleans, and then the team was revived again. Except nobody really liked the new name, or the new color scheme, but then some people did, and now there are arguments about it. It can get kinda weird, and there's no real agreement on it.
That said, one thing that everybody can agree on is the latest version of the Charlotte basketball franchise is horrid at drafting. As in, when fans argue about what franchise is the unluckiest, and a Charlotte fan walks in the room, everybody quiets down cause they feel bad for them. It's pretty awful. Their list of former first round picks include Sean May, D.J. Augustin, and Alexis Ajinca, They've missed out on the likes of Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Dwight Howard. They passed on names such as Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Kosta Koufos and Ryan Anderson all in the same draft. It's a miserable history, and it's one that almost made the Bobcats name feel cursed, but maybe it should have been a name instead. There was always one player. A single face that was the embodiment of Charlotte's draft day woes, and his name was Adam Morrison.
The reigning national college player of the year at Gonazaga, Morrison entered the NBA draft with high expectations as an NBA ready player. The same attributes that get attached to every white guy that's being drafted out of a small school were given to him, but this was before it became a run on joke. Morrison was a good shooter with "sneaky athleticism", and a "good motor", but experts were super high on him. While the trend was changing, this was slightly before potential took over as priority in the draft, and players that were supposed to be NBA ready were still popular picks in the top five.
Buying into his NBA readiness, and still a likely chance to get even better, the then Bobcats picked Morrison with the third overall pick in the draft. He was chosen over names like Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay. All the way down at 21, the Boston Celtics acquired a point guard out of Kentucky named Rajon Rondo via trade.
Of course, draft retrospective like this is silly. It's nonsense to say almost a decade later how obvious it was that a player was going to be a bust, or someone like Rondo should have gone higher, because nobody could have seen at the time that he was going to become a national TV triple double machine, and be a part of a championship team.
Even so, it's incredible just how much the Morrison pick backfired for Charlotte. His rookie year he shot 37 percent from the field in a complete and total disaster of a season. The NBA ready player came to the Bobcats and looked like a project with pieces of NBA skill, but nothing to build from. He couldn't rebound, play defense, and he was never able to get open for a jumpshot. Perhaps if he had entered the NBA a little later, and played on a team that was more open to 3-point shooting then his career could have had a chance, but that's just one what if against a mountain of evidence proving him to not be an NBA player.
Morrison sat out his entire sophomore season due to a knee injury. Unfortunately, the year away didn't do him any good. Morrison returned and was merely the same player. Charlotte traded him midway through the season to the Los Angeles Lakers. A former number three overall pick was traded for Vladimir Radmanovic. By the end of 2010 he was out of the NBA, and the Bobcats were being swept by the Orlando Magic in Charlotte's first playoff appearance in franchise history.
Morrison ended up becoming the face of NBA busts for awhile. Any time a former national college player of the year is drafted, and they don't meet expectations, they're immediately given the Morrison label. Some fans unhappy with the Frank Kaminsky pick swiftly announced the team had drafted Morrison all over again. A ridiculous claim considering that he has yet to play an NBA game, but it's a sign that Morrison's ghost still lingers over the franchise.
Morrison, whether it's fair or not, is the face of the team's poor draft history. Every bust, player looked over, or bad draft moment will immediately bring up memories of Morrison. His mustache won't go away until the team's history of poor decision making is erased. That, or maybe the team just has to fall into some luck and get the number one overall pick. Until then, Morrison's ghost lives on.