Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Worst Team in NBA History

You already know how this turned out. 

5-52.  The New Jersey Nets are the worst team in the NBA this year, no doubt about it.  But are they the worst team in NBA history?  The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, just a couple of years removed from winning the NBA Championship and trading Wilt Chamberlain, finished that year 9-73 - severely outclassing the tanking teams of the lottery era we see today.  Nine wins is an astounding amount NOT to win.   

But the New Jersey Nets are undaunted by this feat.  "Led" by a guy named Brook and a point guard who was outclassed in a famous you tube video last year, the Nets began the year with 18 losses and didn't win their first game until January 27, 2010, a full three months into the season.  Brook Lopez is leading the team averaging a 19-9 this year, but he really has been the lone bright spot.  What's worse, no matter how many losses they rack up, they will still only have a 35% chance of landing John Wall this summer.

A much needed remedy for the Boston Celtics you say?  With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett nursing injuries, the Celtics could use an easy win after blowing a double digit lead a couple of nights before against the Cleveland LeBrons.  Pierce would be sitting and we're told that most of the locker room is fighing the flu.  That's okay though because this is quite possibly the WORST team in the history of the NBA.  Somewhere M.L. Carr is jealous.

1pm.  Boston, MA.  My 5 year old is really wait in line for popcorn and Sprite.  He willingly goes to games with me because I become "The Most Generous Dad in the World" when the kids are with me at games.  College or pro, exhibition or regular season, it doesn't matter, the food and drink take about 5 minutes to start flowing.  Luckily, he only started with popcorn and a hot dog, because this game would make both of our stomachs upset by the end.

It started well.  12-2 in the first 2 minutes.  I tried to ignore Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen looking completely disinterested in warmups and the beginning of the game, because the Celtics had the early lead.  My son didn't notice yet because he was still knee deep in his bucket of popcorn.  "Are the Celtics winning, Dad?" he asks me as he finally looks up.   Not for long, I think.  A friend tells me that he has the Celtics -3 in the First Quarter.  I didn't even know you could bet on quarters.  "I think you might be in trouble."  I write back to him as the lead dwindles throughout the First Quarter.  In fact, that lead disappears into a 29-27 deficit.

You know how this turned out.  There were a couple of moments where the Celtics made the game close, particularly in the Fourth Quarter.  Even the crowd valiantly tried to make some noise, but really to no avail, as the Nets won their sixth game of the year, 104-96. 

This could dissolve into a "What's worng with the Celtics?" story, but my original question has nothing to do with the Celtics.  The original question is whether the New Jersey Nets are the worst team ever?  My eyes don't lie, the Nets looked hungrier than the Celtics, and they played with passion and determination.  They certainly weren't playing like the worst team in the NBA.  The fact remains though that the Nets have a couple of decent young players, but other than that, the team is devoid of value.  A lack of bench scoring, spotty outside shooting and weak reboundng usually don't lead to wins much less success in the playoffs.  I've witnessed some poor Celtics teams over the last 15 years in the aforementioned race to win the lottery.  Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant aren't walking through that door.  Sorry, this isn't dissolving into that conversation.  I never saw the 76ers play in that fateful season.  I've now seen the Nets play.  Are the New Jersey Nets the worst team ever?  No, they aren't the worst team in the history of the NBA. 

If you don't believe me, as we're walking out, my son asks me to buy a hat from some guy selling them in the snow outside the Garden.  He poured over the choices of hats - mostly Celtics hats, but some other sports and other teams too.  He ended up choosing a gold Bruins hat.  I think that tells you everyting you need to know about the Nets and the Celtics in 2009-10.  Sorry, I keep going back to that problem.

You already know how this turned out.  6-52.

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