The Milwaukee Bucks’ Worst Season: 2014

Fans often have reason to hope when their team is legitimately awful. It can be hard for fans in the moment to know that, however. And in 2014, Milwaukee Bucks fans truly could not have known just how much hope was truly on the floor as they watched their team barf out a 15-67 season that marks their only failure to win even 20 games in the 55-year history of the franchise. The Bucks had a rookie project from Greece. They trotted out a second-year small forward who would develop into an All-Star wing player and the second-best player on …

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The Miami Heat’s Worst Season: 2008

The Miami Heat made ten playoff appearances in 11 seasons. They won three championships between 2004 and 2014. The one season they didn’t make the playoffs? They put together an absolutely dreadful 15-67 record. And that record, as it turns out, is the worst in franchise history apart from their debut season. But since it’d hardly be sporting of us to consider an expansion year in this feature, we’ll look elsewhere. Miami bottomed out big-time in 2008. On the bright side, however, it led to a franchise renaissance. Let’s get right to it. This was weird. The On-Court Record What …

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The Memphis Grizzlies’ Worst Season: 2018

Since moving after the 2001 season, the Memphis Grizzlies have, in 21 seasons, managed to avoid the status of a true Dumpster fire. And since teams that moved do not, for this feature’s purposes, count, that means we’re not really going to be talking about the worst of Grizzlies basketball. The Vancouver Grizzlies were awful for their first six years. They won 15, 14, 19, 8 (in 50 games in 1999), 22, and 23 games in those first six campaigns. This in turn means that there are four seasons in six worse than the worst in the next 21. A …

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The Los Angeles Lakers’ Worst Season: 2016

I really wish I didn’t have to write this one. Kobe Bryant‘s farewell tour in 2015-16 came as the Los Angeles Lakers descended into full Dumpster fire status. Byron Scott, a guy synonymous with “game passed him by”, coached this outfit. Kobe’s teammates were as bad as any he had between his two title runs. But ball don’t lie. The 17-65 season marks not only the only time the Lakers ever failed to win 20 games, the period from 2014 to 2017 marks the only four years the Lakers failed to win 30 games in their entire history in Los …

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The Los Angeles Clippers’ Worst Season: 1987

Most teams we’ve discussed so far have had one or two seasons in their history where they failed to crack 20 wins. The Indiana Pacers haven’t even had any such seasons. The Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand… The Clips have failed to reach 20 wins in an 82-game season seven times. They did it six times in Los Angeles and once in San Diego. They failed to reach even ten wins in the 50-game 1999 season, going 9-41. It’s interesting to note that ever since Donald Sterling, the worst owner in NBA history (and that’s saying a lot!), …

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The Indiana Pacers’ Worst Season: 1983

The Indiana Pacers, like the city of Indianapolis itself, represent blissful Midwestern mediocrity perfectly. They’re never too good. They’re never too awful. The Pacers are just a whistle stop on the way to somewhere else. A speed bump for a contender in the playoffs, you might say. So should it surprise anyone that the worst season in franchise history was one where they weren’t even the worst team in the league? Indiana went 20-62 in 1983. They weren’t as utterly wretched as the 14-68 Houston Rockets. In terms of Net Rating, they were better than the 23-59 Cleveland Cavaliers. In …

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The Houston Rockets’ Worst Season: 1983

The Houston Rockets went to the NBA Finals in 1981 and lost to the Boston Celtics. They went to the NBA Finals in 1986…and lost to the Boston Celtics. In between, the Rockets had a season so putrid that it’s worse than their first year in the league in San Diego, a 15-67 record in 1968. It’s worse than their grab-your-barf-bag 20-62 season in 2022 that represents their other worst 82-game record in Houston. In 1983, two years after making the Finals and three years before reaching the Finals again, the Houston Rockets went 14-68. How the heck…? Let’s answer …

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The Golden State Warriors’ Worst Season: 2001

The Golden State Warriors were so bad in the late 1990s and early 2000s that one could be forgiven for thinking they were a wayward college team. Was that Golden State University trying to put amateurs into a pro league? No, they just stunk. And they paid millions of actual genuine United States dollars and a few Canadian rubles they earned in the Great White North against Toronto to stink like a college team that pays its players nothing but room and board. It’s not like the Warriors don’t have a rich history. At this writing, ahead of the 2022-23 …

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The Detroit Pistons’ Worst Season: 1980

Before he became the grand elder statesman of college basketball broadcasts with the fledgling ESPN network, Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons to a 30-52 record in 1979. That record was the worst the team had posted since 1972 and brought to a crashing end a mid-70s surge that saw them make some noise in the playoffs for four straight seasons. Vitale, however, was only beginning in his efforts to prove that perhaps Detroit Mercy University is not an incubator for NBA head coaching talent, as the Pistons got off to a 4-8 start that freed Vitale up to go …

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The Denver Nuggets’ Worst Season: 1998

The Denver Nuggets stand as testament to just how quickly a team can fall off a cliff after looking so promising and shocking the world. Mention the Nuggets in the ’90s and the first thing that comes to mind is Dikembe Mutombo, on his back, holding the ball over his head like Rafiki holding up young Simba in “The Lion King”, after Denver upset the top-seeded Seattle SuperSonics in 1994. Well, four years later, and after a first-round exit in ’95, Denver had fallen all the way to 11-71, tied with the 1993 Mavericks (about whom we talked yesterday) for …

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