In 2009-2010, the Indiana Pacers compiled a record of 32-50, their worst since the 1988-89 season.
That came after two straight 36-win seasons.
Their record was good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. This was misleading, because there were really only nine teams battling for the playoffs for the latter half of the season. The Pacers were out of the playoff race early, but somehow managed to finish the season as one of the hottest teams in the league (winning 11 of 16).
All that did, unfortunately, was worsen their odds in the upcoming lottery.
As a team, the Indiana Pacers performed poorly right from the outset, losing three consecutive games to kick-start the season.
Then came an unexpected five-game winning streak that suddenly had everyone talking the playoffs. Sadly, this dream was quickly crushed as the Pacers went on to lose another four games straight and 10 of 11, dropping straight to the bottom of the East, where they remained for the majority of the season.
By March, the Pacers were an abysmal 20-40, and dropped to as low as 21-45. A final hot streak saw the team climb back from fourth last to 10th last in the NBA.
The Pacers were passable at home at Conseco Fieldhouse, going 23-18 for the season. However, they were appalling on the road with a record of 9-32.
Let's look at the numbers more closely.
For all the offseason talk about maintaining the team's high-octane offense, the Pacers were mediocre, averaging 100.8 points per game, 16th in the league.
On the other hand, all the chatter about ramping up the defense (with the acquisition of defensive-minded "Kobe Stopper" Dahntay Jones, Earl Watson, and Solomon Jones), they were the eighth worst defensive team, giving up 103.8 points per contest. The team's point differential of -3.0 points per game was 10th last in the NBA.
The Pacers were also the second worst rebounding team in the NBA, and were out-rebounded by 5.09 rebounds per game by opponents.