Inspired by the 2013-14 Phildaelphia 76ers, The 10 Worst Teams in NBA History

TRILLip Brooks
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edited March 2014 in From the Cheap Seats
According to USA Today

10. 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers


Yep, they’re on the list. They’ve lost a franchise-record 24 straight games (as of March 23, 2014), and with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies left on the schedule, there’s a very real possibility they’ll shatter the 2011 Cavs’ record and lose 36 straight to end the season. They started the season with four viable NBA players and traded away two of them (Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner) at the deadline. The rest of the roster has a truly atrocious revolving door of D-Leaguers on short-term deals including Jarvis Varnado, Lorenzo Brown, Henry Sims and Darius Morris. Michael Carter-Williams is a frontrunner to win Rookie of the Year out of one of the worst draft classes in recent memory, so they’ve got that going for them. They wanted to be historically terrible. Mission accomplished.

9. 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats


There’s a reason the Bobcats are still a punchline, even though they’re a playoff team this season. Just two years removed from their only ever playoff appearance in 2010, these Bobcats won just seven games in the lockout-shortened 2012 season. Their shortest losing streak of the year was two games; the longest was a season-ending 22-game slide. Rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo and solid shooting guard Gerald Henderson were the only decent players. The rest was a mishmash of the likes of D.J. White, Tyrus Thomas, Cory Higgins, Matt Carroll and DeSagana Diop. And they didn’t even get the one sure-thing superstar in that draft, Anthony Davis.

8. 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers


Obviously, the Cavaliers were going to get worse when the greatest player in the world took his talents to South Beach. But the post-LeBron Cavs were truly abysmal. Their best player was a past-his-prime Antawn Jamison. Their second-best player was Anderson Varejao, who played in 31 games that year. They lost 26 games in a row from December 30 to February 9 — an NBA record rivaled only by the Sixers’ current losing skid. They were rewarded with the No. 1 overall pick and a future franchise cornerstone in Kyrie Irving, but they only got that pick by trading Mo Williams to the Clippers for a beyond-washed-up Baron Davis. As bad as the Cavs are now, it will likely never be as bad as this.

7. 2009-10 Minnesota Timberwolves

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First, David Kahn blew the 2009 draft by selecting two point guards in a row in the top six. One of them (Ricky Rubio) wouldn’t make his NBA debut for two more years; the other (Jonny Flynn) is out of the league already. Head coach Kurt Rambis tried to implement the triangle offense he learned under Phil Jackson, but the roster was woefully unequipped for it. Rambis also inexplicably buried Kevin Love on the bench for a huge chunk of the season, despite Love bring the only promising player on this awful roster. They traded for Darko Milicic midseason and rewarded his semi-passable play with a disastrous four-year, $20 million contract the following offseason. Sasha Pavlovic, Nathan Jawai and Brian Cardinal were rotation players. It makes the current, still-disappointing Timberwolves look like world-beaters.

6. 2009-10 New Jersey Nets


The Nets started the 2009-10 season with an 18-game losing streak. Terrence Williams, Yi Jianlian, Josh Boone and Jarvis Hayes were among their top 10 minutes-getters. A second-year Brook Lopez and a slightly past-his-prime Devin Harris were their only redeemable players. It was cool, though, because they were bought during this season by Mikhail Prokhorov, who promised to pull out all the stops to land LeBron James in free agency. They came away with Travis Outlaw, Jordan Farmar and Johan Petro. Truly historic.

5. 2004-05 Atlanta Hawks


This 13-win Hawks team featured a murderer’s row of has-beens: Antoine Walker, Kenny Anderson, Jon Barry, Tom Gugliotta and Tony Delk. Josh Smith and Al Harrington were the best players on the 2005 Hawks. And to add insult to injury, they drafted Marvin Williams over Chris Paul in the following draft and have been thoroughly mediocre since.

4. 1996-97 Boston Celtics


The Celtics went through an extended period of irrelevance between Larry Bird’s retirement in 1992 and the arrival of the Big Three in 2007, but things were never worse than in 1997. A 15-win squad was highlighted (highlighted!) by Dana Barros and Rick Fox. By the end of the season, they had their eyes squarely on top draft prize Tim Duncan, and even fell short of that goal. They drafted Chauncey Billups, who went on to have an outstanding NBA career, but they traded him 51 games into his rookie season for Kenny Anderson and Popeye Jones. That was their reward for this awful year: 51 games of Chauncey Billups.

3. 1995-96 Philadelphia 76ers


The 1995-96 Sixers may finish with a better record than the current incarnation, but they were no less garish at the time. They cycled through no less than 24 players over the course of an 18-win season, the best of which was a young Jerry Stackhouse. They got the No. 1 overall pick that summer and took Allen Iverson. The current Sixers can only hope to be so lucky in landing a transformative figure in the upcoming draft.

2. 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks


Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks in 2000 and immediately turned around the fortunes of the franchise, but they were a complete laughingstock before then. This 1992-93 squad was the low point. They would have tied the ’73 Sixers for the worst record ever had they not won their final two games of the season. They had three double-digit losing streaks, including an 18-game slide from February 6 to March 15. Derek Harper was the saving grace of this roster — the rest is decidedly NSFW.

1. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers


The only team ever to amass a single-digit win total in an 82-game season, the ’73 Sixers are still the gold standard of terrible. Between their nine wins, they had separate losing streaks of 15, 6, 3, 14, 20 and 13. Hall of Fame point guard Hal Greer was the only historically notable player on the team, and he was at the tail end of his career and played just 38 games. No matter how bad the 2014 Sixers are, they aren’t even the worst team in franchise history.