In a pre-launch preview for Flack Sports, Vince Massara looks at the worst NBA teams in history.
Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, Scottie Pippen. LeBron James, Kevin Durant. None of these players will feature here today. We are looking at the absolute worst NBA teams throughout history.
Two things are certain in sports; it is almost impossible to compare teams and players from different eras and that we still do it anyway, because it is interesting. We want to discuss who would win a match between the current Warriors or the 1995 Bulls. We want to discuss how many points a prime Michael Jordan would put up today. However, let’s add another question to that. Have you ever wondered how many points a 2012 vintage Byron Mullins would score against the 2005 Atlanta Hawks? Me neither. However, in the name of fairness, if we can spend hours beating our heads against a proverbial bricks wall discussing the best, we should do the same in finding the worst.
Using the best historical simulator our there, www.whatifsports.com, we have created an eight team bracket with the worst NBA seasons in history. Teams will play off with the loser progressing, and the victor bowing out. To take the title of ‘Worst NBA team ever,’ you have to earn it.
The two pre-competition favorites are the 2002 Charlotte Bobcats and the 2006 Philadelphia 76ers, both sides relied on young players and were tanking for a better future. The Bobcats screwed up losing for Anthony Davis, so hopefully this time their losing will win them something.
A slew of forgettable teams from yesteryear join the top seeds. The Dallas Mavericks are represented twice with back-to-back sides from the early 90s. Those Dallas teams won 24 games in two seasons, which is arguably more impressive than the current Warriors only losing 24 games in two seasons. Alongside Dallas are the 1998 Denver Nuggets, the 2010 New Jersey Nets, the 2005 Atlanta Hawks, and the 1987 Los Angeles Clippers.
So without further ado, may the worst team win?… wait, that doesn’t sound right. May the best team lose? Whatever. Let’s find history’s worst NBA team.
- For statistical purposes, only teams from after the three-point arc are included. Sorry, 1973 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1948 Providence Steam Rollers. Better luck next year.
- Teams are to be seeded by their winning percentage, so the lowest winning percentage is the higher seed.
- Playoff format is a March Madness style, one game playoff.
- Higher seed is the home team. If you want to suck, you have to do it at home.
The Final seedings for the worst NBA teams in history
Game One: Charlotte Bobcats (2012) v Dallas Mavericks (1994)
Things didn’t look good for the tournament favorites early on, hitting a crazy forty-one point first quarter. Although, as the match progressed, the Bobcats let the Mavericks come back, showing why they are the top seed. Rookie point guard Kemba Walker had a typical rookie Kemba day, keeping those shots from going in. Walker hit 1/7 from the field in twenty-five minutes to help his side to a precious first round loss.
Game Two: Denver Nuggets 1998 v Los Angeles Clippers (1987)
The 1987 Clippers were too good today. Funnily enough, not something that was heard much in 1987. Michael Cage had a great game, with a double-double. The match was close for three of the four quarters, with the Clippers hitting shots in the second period, which was the difference at the end of the night. Eric Washington was the worst performer for the home side, hitting seven points from eleven shots.
Game Three Dallas Mavericks (1993) v New Jersey Nets (2010)
Brook Lopez went HAM in this match. A massive 33 points and 23 rebound effort won the game for the nets, knocking them out of the competition. Despite Yi Jianlian trying his hardest to bring the Mavericks in the game with four turnovers, the Mavericks still gave the ball away for fun. This Dallas side is a wild card in this competition while having a low seed their point differential is the worst in the field. They are the hipster’s pick.
Game Four: Philadelphia 76ers (2016) v Atlanta Hawks (2005)
A massive upset, with the second seeded 2016 Philadelphia 76ers beating the 2005 Atlanta Hawks. The 76ers demolished them. I guess it goes to show just how bad a team can be when you center it around a young Josh Childress, an Antoine Walker who wants out and the corpse of Ty Lue. Walker had a great game, shooting 50% from the floor on the way to 22 points. Thankfully for the Hawks, the rookie, Josh Childress was missing enough shots to compensate. For Philadelphia, Nerlens Noel had an efficient double-double in a comeback win for the hopeless 76ers. Noel couldn’t even get losing right in Philadelphia in a game that will upset 76ers fans. Again.
Semi Final One: Charlotte Bobcats (2012) v Denver Nuggets (1998)
The Bobcats just keep on showing new levels of trash in this competition. They advance to the final after being steamrolled by the 1998 Denver Nuggets. They are truly the Citizen Kane of bad basketball. Arguably the worst performer was Tyrus Thomas (remember him?), who committed five fouls in fifteen minutes, scoring eight points. When he wasn’t fouling or shooting, Thomas cleaned the glass, gathering one rebound. D.J. Augustin added to the mess, shooting 20% from the field on his way to five points. As a team, the Bobcats only had five free-throw attempts; I am assuming the reason can only be that they were playing too shitty to even bother fouling them.
For the Nuggets, their journey to be the worst team in history finishes with a heartbreaking victory. Johnny Newman scored 17 points and was perfect from the charity stripe. The six-foot-seven wing cemented his place most relevant Newman from the 90s who didn’t live in Jerry Seinfeld’s building.
Semi Final Two: Dallas Mavericks (1993) v Atlanta Hawks (2005)
This Altana Hawks side is the little engine that couldn’t, with another upset loss. Heading into the competition, the Hawks were the best team on paper, however, through seer poor play, they have lost their way into the final. Inspirational stuff. Antoine Walker was the hero, snatching defeat from the claws of victory. Walker shot 8/25 from the field in 40 minutes of playing time.
For the Mavericks, despite only getting nine free throw attempts all game, they still found enough to win. Where did they find it? I don’t know. To be honest, I am not sure I want to know. Terry Davis’ monster double-double was arguably the difference in the end. The Mavs win the game and unfortunately go home.
For the 2005 Atlanta Hawks, they are about to face the final boss. The Bowser of crappy basketball teams.
They have done it. After looking like scoring an upset victory, the Bobcats managed to turn good fortune into adversity. The Bobcats have lost the final and are officially the worst NBA team in history. Being lead by the typically uninspiring D.J. Augustin and Byron Mullins, both shooting 40% from the field, the Bobcats proved why they were the unbackable favorites. Rookie, Kemba Walker had his best ‘Bob the Builder’ impersonation and laid enough bricks to build a house. Walker also threw the ball away four times, to go with not registering a single assist.
The 2005 Hawks had a roster of good players. The problem is that not many of them were good at that time. The Hawks win the match and go home in shame. However, being the second worst NBA side in history is no small accomplishment. Especially when you consider the dumpster-fires of teams that beat them throughout their Cinderella run.
The 2012 Charlotte Bobcats are the worst NBA team in the league’s history.
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