Bobcats 5 losses from NBA futility mark
History may one day recall, though history may not care, that the closest the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats came to a two-game win streak was in the second game of their season.
The worst NBA teams of all time
Lost first 15 and last 13 games,
with a 20-game losing streak in middle.
|1947-48 Steam Rollers||6-42||.125|
Played in BAA, precursor to NBA; had Nat
Hickey, 45, the oldest player in NBA history.
Lost a then-NBA-record 23 games in a row.
|Through 61 games, were 4-57.|
Charlotte, already 1-0 after an opening night 96-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, led the Miami Heat by one point with a few seconds remaining. Yes, the Miami Heat. Alas for the Bobcats and the 19,614 in attendance that Dec. 28 evening at Time Warner Cable Arena, Dwyane Wade banked in the game-winning 10-footer with 2.9 seconds to play.
How does an NBA franchise go from potentially 2-0 to 7-54? To being remembered, if it fails to win one of its remaining five contests, as the worst NBA team ever? It isn't easy, but then nothing has been for the 2011-12 Bobcats.
"We are desperate to get a win," said Bobcats guard Matt Carroll, whose team has endured 16 and 18-game losing streaks (the latter one is active). "No one wants to be known as the worst team in NBA history."
The Providence Steam Rollers, who played in the Basketball Association of America (the precursor to the NBA), won six games in 1947-48, but that was in a 48-game season. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, still unsurpassed in terms of abject play, went 9-73 in an 82-game season. Because of this lockout-abbreviated year (66 games), it may be best to measure the futility of the Bobcats (7-54, .115) versus that of those 76ers (9-73, .110) in terms of winning percentage.
If Charlotte wins at least one of its final five games in the coming week — Friday vs. Memphis, Sunday vs. Sacramento, on the road at Washington and Orlando, and then back home next Thursday vs. the Knicks — it will finish with a higher winning percentage than those Sixers. If not, it will own a .106 percentage … as well as a 23-game losing streak, which would tie for third-worst in NBA history.
"I would love to get a win; that's our goal," said coach Paul Silas, who as a Boston Celtics forward 39 years ago played in seven games, all victories, against that hapless Sixers squad. "You look at our roster and we're trying, but it's awfully tough."
Charlotte, which has been without its leading scorer, Corey Maggette, for nearly half the season, is last in the league in points per game and points per game allowed. The Bobcats, who will be without Maggette this final week, are also last in field-goal and three-point field-goal percentage. On Sunday, Silas and power forward Tyrus Thomas, the team's highest-paid player, had a shoving match in the locker room at halftime.
As a writer at NBA.com, the league's website, wrote earlier this week, "This team stinks!"
Even layups are proving challenging. In Wednesday's 32-point loss to the Chicago Bulls, Carroll clanged a breakaway layup and teammate Byron Mullens, who was in position for the follow-up dunk, allowed the ball to bounce off his hands and out of bounds. No more footage is necessary for the Bobcats' season lowlight tape.
"We want one win for sure," said Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, whose father and namesake won four NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons. "We don't want that record. We're thinking about it, talking about it."
Strangely, Bobcats fans do not appear to be tearing their clothing in Charlotte.
"North Carolina sports fans talk about the Bobcats right now the same way most of them talk about their mothers-in-law," said David Glenn, who hosts a nightly radio show on 610 WFNZ-AM. "Only rarely, and mostly in unpleasant terms."
Ironically, Charlotte's owner is Michael Jordan. Sixteen years ago, the greatest basketball player of all time shepherded the Bulls to the greatest single-season record in NBA history, 72-10. Jordan's prowess as a player is almost matched by his ineptitude as an executive.
"How can the greatest basketball player of all time be associated with anything in basketball that is the worst?" asked Taylor Zarzour, another radio host at WFNZ.
We may be one week and five losses away from answering that question.