Let the ping-pong ball-watching begin, Milwaukee!
The Bucks are now 15-66, three games below (above?) the 18-63 Philadelphia 76ers. Philly gave Milwaukee a run for it's money in the second half of the season, losing a record-tying 26 consecutive games, but they were down in by an early-season run of success. The Bucks, for what it's worth, have been consistently terrible throughout the year.
Statistically, however, Milwaukee is likely to cede the title "NBA's worst" to Philadelphia. The Bucks came into Monday ranked 29th in expected win-loss record, with a mark of 19-61. They also rank 29th with a minus-6.28 in Basketball-Reference's "Simple Rating System" (SRS)—a team rating system that combines average margin of victory with strength of schedule. The Philadelphia 76ers are dead last, with a minus-11.14 rating.
Unlike the Sixers, who have been legitimately trying to get a high 2014 draft pick since trading All-Star Jrue Holiday for the injured Nerlens Noel last summer, the Bucks did not come into 2013-14 looking to tank. Their owner, Herb Kohl, outlined his disdain for tanking to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck at the start of the season:
I feel real strong about trying to put out a decent product—a good product—for our fans. So I'm always saying to our basketball people, 'We need to be as good as we can be.' This year's no different.
What makes these Bucks so terrible? For starters, their highest-paid players are all performing at an unfathomably low level. O.J. Mayo ($8 million), Ersan Illyasova ($7.9 million) and Zaza Pachulia ($5.2 million) make more money than anyone left on the Bucks' roster, yet have combined for 3.4 win shares...practically half of the mark put up this season by former Buck Mike Dunleavy (6.2 win shares).
Not only did some of their new additions fail to contribute, they actually hurt the development of Milwaukee's younger players, per B/R's Dan Favale:
The Bucks were never going to be great, but with the additions of [Caron] Butler, Mayo and Gary Neal, among others, along with the progressive developments of John Henson and Larry Sanders, they were supposed to be good enough. Henson has impressed, but everyone else—especially Sanders—has been a letdown.
It is no wonder, then, that this team has already blown past the 20-62 record posted by the 1993-94 Bucks and taken the mantle of the worst team in franchise history.
So what have the Bucks won by losing? Per Tankathon: They have 64.3 percent chance of landing in the top three in this summer's draft, and a 25 percent chance of getting that precious No. 1 overall pick.
Whomever the Bucks choose with that pick will be under a great deal of pressure; he must show the fans he was worth the price of suffering through the worst season in franchise history.
Unless noted, all statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.