Ranking the Worst NBA Teams of the Last Decade
There's a lot that goes into a terrible season in the NBA. More than just a win-loss number has to be included, and that's why I've decided to take a look, a real look, at the worst teams of the past decade.
Sure, nobody wants to go watch a 15-67 team play basketball on any given night, but some teams do have a redeeming quality or two.
Maybe you're watching a rookie player or two who just haven't developed yet, but are showing flashes of brilliance, or there's a star player with just no talent around him to be supported.
Or, simply put, maybe they're just the new team in town. The Oklahoma City Thunder were a measly 23-59 in their first season, and the Charlotte Bobcats were even worse at 18-64, but the fact that they were bringing basketball to a new city made it so much more tolerable.
There's a certain value in fan excitement that can take the sting away from losses. Even if there are games where your team is getting crushed, if fans are having fun, there's going to be something positive to take away from the game.
The prime example of that, for instance, is the 2011 Cleveland Cavaliers. They finished 19-63 that season, but the fans, in an effort to stick it to LeBron James, had a blast at nearly every game.
There's definitely a line that can't be crossed in terms of terribleness, but teams are given a different coat of gloss if they seemed to be well-liked, compared to some extremely vilified teams that will forever be remembered as some of the league's worst, just because of the fan reaction to their bad seasons.
14. 2010 Los Angeles Clippers
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 95.7
Points Allowed Per Game: 102.1
The Clippers stumbled all throughout 2009, winning just 19 games and being generally unlikable.
The 2009 team cleaned house. Los Angeles got rid of Zach Randolph, Quentin Richardson, Mark Madsen, Ricky Davis and Marcus Camby.
Draft day came, and it knew who it was going to pick. Blake Griffin comes down as the No. 1 overall pick, and the entire fanbase is psyched.
Griffin played in the Summer League and people freaked out. He was named Summer League MVP (great honor, I know).
The Clips were a day away from the start of the season, and in true Clippers fashion, Blake Griffin revealed a stress fracture in his right knee, taking him out for the season.
Nothing else mattered from there. The team was better than the previous season, but there was no phenom. Even worse, with the luck the Clippers had, it looked like he could have ended his career before it ever started.
We know what went down since then, but at the time, it was a very traumatic time for Clippers fans.
13. 2009 Washington Wizards
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 96.1
Points Allowed Per Game: 103.5
It was a season before they would end up drafting John Wall and the ultimate depths of where this team would fall before the Gilbert Arenas gun scandal.
For starters, Arenas played in just two games this season, leaving Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler to fend for themselves, as the knuckleheads that would ruin the next few seasons burgeoned behind them.
At the end of the day, there was just nothing interesting about this basketball team.
Jamison and Butler are fine players, but they're uninteresting to a fault, while Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee weren't yet confident enough to be full-on idiots throughout the course of the season.
12. 2009 Los Angeles Clippers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 95.1
Points Allowed Per Game: 103.9
There was Eric Gordon to be excited about in this season. Eric Gordon and nothing else.
It was the first season in Los Angeles for Baron Davis, and it went terribly. He shot 37 percent and started ballooning throughout the course of the season as he became lazier and more detached.
They traded for Zach Randolph midway through the season, mostly because you can't pass up an opportunity to trade for a player that your fans will surely hate.
Games were littered with pointless, ill-timed Al Thornton three-pointers, Fred Jones looking surly, Chris Kaman looking like a swamp monster and DeAndre Jordan missing free throws.
11. 2013 Sacramento Kings
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 94.4
Points Allowed Per Game: 101
There's something just utterly depressing about this Sacramento Kings team. It might be the vibe that they're going to be "Basketball Reasoned " to Seattle in the next few seasons, or just the fact that they're so poorly managed that gives off the vibe that they're the worst team in the NBA.
I'm not sure if anybody has enjoyed watching the Kings play this season.
If I could define the word "selfish" using any sports team right now, this would be it.
Despite the fact that they have upwards of six different guys who would shoot the ball given any opportunity, they don't play a lick of defense.
It hurts to watch this team with so many potentially good basketball players just not give a damn for 48 minutes a night.
10. 2008 Seattle Supersonics
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 97.5
Points Allowed Per Game: 106.3
If there was a winner for the most depressing team of all-time, this would win the award with both hindsight and foresight.
The team was being stolen right in front of Seattle's eyes this season, all while they were watching the birth of a star player that they would never get to cheer for again.
Seattle did get to see Kevin Durant's fun rookie season, but the fans seemed afraid to love, and the Supersonics drew fewer than 14,000 people every game.
Durant was, of course, backed up by the dominant squadron of Chris Wilcox, Wally Szczerbiak, Earl Watson, Jeff Green and Nick Collison, none of whom could play a lick of defense.
Their most egregious loss of the season (and I'm not making this up) was a 168-116 loss to the Denver Nuggets in regulation. Unless the rules have changed since then and I've forgotten, that's nearly four points per minute by the Nuggets.
Denver would play them four times that season, combining four 573 points (143 points per game) against the woeful Supersonics. Seattle did, however, win one of those four games.
9. 2008 Miami Heat
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 91.4
Points Allowed Per Game: 100
Talk about a letdown just two seasons after winning an NBA title.
This team wasn't horrific defensively compared to some of the other teams on this list, allowing 100 points per game. But their 91.4 gave them a huge margin to overcome in each and every game.
What's very telling about this team and its injury troubles is that the guy who started the most games for them in 2008, Jason "White Chocolate" Williams, averaged only 8.8 points and shot 38 percent from the field.
It seems like Shaq and White Chocolate would have been the oldest guys around at that point, but they gave stints to Alonzo Mourning and Penny Hardaway, for whatever reason.
But hey, at least they got to see Shawn Marion average 14 points and 11 rebounds in the 16 games that he played in 2008.
8. 2004 Orlando Magic
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 94
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.1
Does anybody else remember in 2004 when Tracy McGrady won the scoring title for the second year in a row? Neither does anybody in Orlando.
Normally, I would say give it up to the dude who can score nearly 30 points per game, and kill to go get tickets to see him.
This season wouldn't have been one of those times.
McGrady shot just 41.7 percent from the field that season, a number that was inexplicably four percent worse than his career average.
Who were the other guys you would get to see with the Magic? Well, Juwan Howard was there, as was Tyronne Lue, Rod Strickland, Gordan Giricek, Andrew DeClerq and the legendary Reece Gaines.
The next season, T-Mac ran off to Houston and won hundreds of playoff games. Wait, that's not right.
7. 2011 Cleveland Cavaliers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 95.5
Points Allowed Per Game: 104.5
I know I pointed out that the fans still had fun for much of the time during the 2011 season in Cleveland, but this Cavaliers team was just too God-awful for anyone to ignore.
Not only did they win just 19 games, but they ended up losing 26 games in a row at some point, worsting their 1983 record of 24 in a row.
Cleveland famously lost a 55-point game to the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring just 57 to the Lakers' 112, while led throughout the season by Antawn Jamison's 18 points per game.
The Cavs played without their most fun player, Anderson Varejao, for most of the season, and even started the likes of Jawad Williams at one point.
6. 2009 Sacramento Kings
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 100.6
Points Allowed Per Game: 109.3
The Sacramento Kings were a year away from watching Tyreke Evans win the Rookie of the Year Award and two years removed from their last playoff appearance.
The excitement was dead, and the arena reflected it.
Even with a team that was relatively fast-paced, scoring over 100 points per game, they hit the bottom of the league in attendance, as the product on the court was just too ugly to fathom.
This is a Kings team that featured Kevin Martin and nothing else.
Honestly, the list of guys at the end of their bench weren't even weird enough to be humorous when they came into a game; they were just bad basketball players.
5. 2005 New Orleans Hornets
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Points Per Game: 88.4
Points Allowed Per Game: 95.5
Ten bucks to the guy who can name the leading scorer of the 2005 New Orleans Hornets without looking (not counting Baron Davis, who played in just 18 games that season).
Do you give up?
It was Lee "I just averaged six points per game with three different teams last season" Nailon with all of 14.6 points per game.
Aside from Nailon, people who went to see the Hornets play would get a taste of P.J. Brown, Jamaal Magloire, the most immature version of J.R. Smith possible, Dan Dickau and David Wesley.
This team was so bad that it combined to shoot 41.5 percent from the floor. As a comparison, the 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, the team with the worst winning percentage in the history of the NBA, shot 41.4 percent.
4. 2005 Atlanta Hawks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 92.7
Points Allowed Per Game: 102.5
It's hard to remember a time when the Atlanta Hawks weren't a permanent mediocre playoff team, but back in the days of Antoine Waker and Al Harrington, the Hawks were barely capable of grabbing 14,000 people at their home games.
Perhaps it's the fact that they were led by a mediocre Harrington and a volume shooting power forward in Walker, but this team just played ugly, uninteresting basketball.
They were outscored by nearly 10 points per game and boasted too many remnants from the past with Kenny Anderson, Tom Gugliotta, Kevin Willis and Jon Barry.
There was a young Josh Smith to watch dunk, but that hardly made up for the fact that they couldn't win games without the help of chemical warfare.
3. 2006 Portland Trail Blazers
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 88.8
Points Allowed Per Game: 98.3
Charlotte Bobcats fans might look at this and think, "Hey, 21 wins, what can be so bad about that?"
Well, this season was the culmination of years of horrible people playing and ruining basketball for an area that pours every ounce of love and dedication into their team.
They scored an excruciatingly low 88 points per game, getting outscored by an average of 9.5 points every night.
This Trail Blazers team was so bad that they once lost 130-85 to the Phoenix Suns in regulation.
Aside from the fact that the fans hated Zach Randolph, Sebatian Telfair, Ruben Patterson, and Darius Miles, there was just nobody on this team to enjoy, save Ha Seung-Jin.
Things were so bad in Portland this season that fans stayed away in droves, averaging barely more than 15,000 people in the arena each night.
2. 2010 New Jersey Nets
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 92.4
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.5
It's hard to have high hopes for your season when the team starts off losing 16 games in a row, but it fell back on the fact that it won at least 12 games, good enough to outpace the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers, who won just 11.
Getting outscored by an average of 9.1 points per game is bad enough, but when you're relying on Yi Jianlian to be the sixth-highest scoring member of your team, something bad is going to happen.
To give you an idea of how bad they had it, the following people started at least eight games for the Nets in 2010: Jianlian, Keyon Dooling, Terrence Williams, Rafer Alston, Jarvis Hayes, Josh Boone, Trenton Hassell and Chris Douglas-Roberts.
That would be a damn fine college basketball team.
1. 2012 Charlotte Bobcats
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 87
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.9
While the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers played a full season, it's still a legitimate argument to make that the Charlotte Bobcats are the worst basketball team in the history of the NBA.
Michael Jordan's brainchild won just seven of a possible 66 games last season, giving them a whopping win percentage of 10.6.
Not only were they outscored by over 13 points per game, they ended up with two losing streaks that went on for at least 16 games, the second one lasting over the course of their final 23 games of the year.
Possibly most embarrassing of all, the Bobcats topped the 100-point mark just seven times all season long (they won four of those games) and scored fewer than 80 points 16 times, including four sub-70 point games.