Worst of the Worst: 2011-12 Bobcats vs. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers

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Worst of the Worst: 2011-12 Bobcats vs. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Count the Charlotte Bobcats as supporters of the NBA's lockout-shortened 66-game schedule. The franchise and its fans couldn't be put out of their misery soon enough.

In honor of their woeful achievement in finishing with a record of 7-59 and winning just 10.6 percent of their games, the worst winning percentage in NBA history, we decided to pit the Bobcats against the team they "overtook," the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. That squad finished with a 9-73 record and won just 11 percent of their games. Using our NBA simulation engine, we "played" the Bobcats and 76ers against each other 1,001 times, calculating win percentage and average points scored.

2011-12 Bobcats vs 1972-73 76ers
Matchup Win% Avg Score  
Charlotte Bobcats 45.7 99.4 Sample Boxscore
vs Philadelphia 76ers 54.3 101.0 Simulate Matchup

After 1,001 simulations, the Bobcats fell to 76ers 54.3 percent of the time, further solidifying their candidacy for the title of the worst team in NBA history. While it's hard to proclaim Philadelphia held any advantage–really, how can a roster with a 9-73 record assert any type of authority–it appears the 76ers benefited from a higher-scoring offense, as Philly averaged 104.1 points per game in their ill-fated season.

Granted, the environment in the game was a different beast back in the day, as Philadelphia's scoring figure would lead the league in 2012. Alas, the Sixers' scoring trio of Fred Carter, John Block and Tom Van Arsdale, all of whom averaged between 17.7 and 20.0 points per game that season, proved to be the difference in this battle of the beleaguered, as the Bobcats simply lacked the offensive firepower to match their destitute foes. Charlotte countered with leading scorer Gerald Henderson, who averaged just 15.1 points per game.

As a team, the Bobcats managed a league-worst 87.0 points per game in the 2011-12 season. Defensively, they were only slightly better, surrendering 100.8 points per game, the fourth-highest total in the NBA. It should come as no surprise that the Bobcats gave up nearly the same figure, 101.0 points per game, in the simulation.

NBA's Worst
Year Team W %
2012 Charlotte Bobcats .106
1973 Philadelphia 76ers .110
1948 Providence Steam Rollers .125
1993 Dallas Mavericks .134
1998 Denver Nuggets .134

Very little went right for the Bobcats this season. The ineptitude included one stretch from January 16 to February 15 in which they lost 16 consecutive matches. But the grand finale began after a win against the Toronto Raptors on March 17, their last victory of the season. Since that time, the Bobcats have been on the losing end in their final 23 games, tied for the third-longest losing streak in league history.

Speaking of 23, Michael Jordan earns the distinction of having been involved with both the best and worst teams in NBA history. While with the Chicago Bulls during the 1995-96 season, Jordan led the team to an NBA-record 72 victories, an 87.8 win percentage and a championship over the Seattle SuperSonics. Now as owner of the Bobcats, Jordan is largely responsible for assembling the players, coaches and management that submitted the worst season to date.

So what's next for the Bobcats? Unfortunately, having 13 fewer wins than the next worst team, the 19-46 Washington Wizards, does not ensure the franchise any additional ping pong balls in the 2012 NBA draft lottery.

Technically, the Bobcats will have a 25 percent chance of claiming the No. 1 pick. However, if past lotteries are any indication (the NBA instituted the weighted lottery system in 1990), the Bobcats' odds are even lower than that. The team with the worst record has won the lottery only three out of 22 years, or 13.6 percent of the time. In other words, if the Bobcats are hoping to add Kentucky phenom Anthony Davis to the roster, they should brace for more disappointment.

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