The Sacramento Kings Worst Season: 2009

The Sacramento Kings have been the NBA’s nomads for 73 years. They started life as the Rochester Royals. Incredibly, the BAA/NBA managed to put two teams in that Western New York Syracuse/Rochester market and make it work throughout the 1950s. The Royals moved to Cincinnati in 1957 and put together a nice run with Oscar Robertson, but they never quite got over the hump into the first rank of NBA franchises. They were outclassed first by the Lakers and Hawks and then, realigned east, by the Celtics and 76ers. Finally, after Big O left, Cincinnati sank into the abyss, fan …

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The Portland Trail Blazers Worst Season: 1972

The Portland Trail Blazers, in 2022, posted their worst season in 16 years, going just 27-55. They head into the 2023 season hoping to rebuild quickly enough to get Damian Lillard one last chance at a deep playoff and possible title run. It may not (probably will not) happen this year, but hope springs eternal. That “worst season in 16 years” means 2006, a year Portland went 21-61. That year tied for the second-worst mark in team history and represented the worst record in 33 years, going all the way back to 1973 and their third year in existence. Now …

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The Phoenix Suns Worst Season: 2019

The Phoenix Suns are the latest demonstration of one of the core principles of the NBA. Specifically, “if your franchise is hot garbage and all hope seems lost, acquire Chris Paul.” The New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans had their worst season in 2005. They drafted Paul with the fourth pick in the ’05 draft and posted the franchise’s only 50-win season in 2008. The Los Angeles Clippers were a garbage fire for decades. They acquired Paul in 2012, immediately went 40-26, and made the playoffs. They’d done so in just one of the previous 14 seasons. The Suns bottomed out in 2019. …

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The Philadelphia 76ers Worst Season: 1973

The 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers, at 10-72, posted the second-worst 82-game record in NBA history. It was, by any metric, about as bad as it is possible to be. But it wasn’t the worst record in franchise history. In the 1972-73 campaign, the Philadelphia 76ers posted a 9-73 record, to this day the only failure to reach ten wins in 82 tries in the 54-year history of the 82-game schedule. This is a franchise that had won a title in 1967. Indeed, stretching back to their days as the Syracuse Nationals, they had made the playoffs every year between their inception …

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The Orlando Magic Worst Season: 2013

The Orlando Magic have been one of the NBA’s worst teams over the past 10 seasons. In seven of those years, they have failed to win 30 games, and even though one of those was a COVID-truncated 72-game season, 21-51 still would’ve required them to win nine out of ten in an 82-game season. And that was never realistic. This year, Orlando faces 2,000 to 1 odds of winning the title. Face it, 2023 may become the worst season this team has ever had. But this isn’t about the future. We have to consider what’s already happened. And since Orlando …

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The Oklahoma City Thunder Worst Season: 2009

The Oklahoma City Thunder decamped from Seattle after the 2008 season. Fans on the prairie inherited a franchise that had bottomed out the previous year but had a ton of promise. Kevin Durant played his rookie campaign in Seattle. Russell Westbrook joined after he went fourth overall out of UCLA. And James Harden followed a year later, third overall out of Arizona State. But this isn’t about the 2008 season. The only reason I mention Seattle at all is to provide a bit of context and backstory. This is otherwise an expansion team. Of course, that means I have to …

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The New York Knicks Worst Season: 2015

The New York Knicks have twice in the past eight seasons gone 17-65, the only two times in franchise history they have failed to win 20 games. This is impressive because in the Knicks’ second year in the league, the Basketball Association of America played just 48 games. New York was, however, good back then. The Knicks made the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons and the NBA Finals three times. Granted, they lost all three (1951-53), but still. It’s the effort that counts even in a small league. The 2015 Knicks were not that. Neither were the …

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The New Orleans Pelicans Worst Season: 2005

In the eyes of both the NBA and the fans, the version of the Charlotte Hornets that moved to New Orleans in 2002 is, in name and functional history, the New Orleans Pelicans. We went over this before. The 2012 Charlotte Bobcats were a Hornets team. Now that we’ve entrenched the confusion, let’s look at the worst season in New Hornets/Pelicans history. It’s a tale as old as time. Injuries and lack of talent conspired to sink a team. New Orleans made the playoffs in 2003 and ’04. They made the playoffs again in 2008. In between, they stunk. Let’s …

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The Minnesota Timberwolves Worst Season: 2010

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the NBA’s worst franchises for most of their history. They have won fewer than 20 games in an 82-game season five times in their 33 years in the league. They have won just two playoff series, both in the same year: 2004. Outside of an eight-year playoff streak during Kevin Garnett‘s prime, they’ve only made the playoffs twice. This is not a team whose fans expect much. But there’s regular NBA incompetence. And then there’s super-sized, extra crispy, Midwestern poop hot dish levels of incompetence. And the 2010 Timberwolves fall squarely into that …

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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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