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The New York Knicks and the 5 worst teams in NBA history

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

November 13th, 2019

No team has gotten off to a slower start this season than the New York Knicks, who are 4-18 and boast the NBA's worst point differential. The Knicks' early struggles have resulted in plenty of hot takes from New York's notoriously inpatient media, as well as the firing of head coach David Fizdale.

Before we rush to anoint the Knicks as one the worst teams of all time, let’s examine five other historically awful cellar dwellers, whose feeble feats live on in infamy.

5. 1998-99 Vancouver Grizzlies (8-42)

Other teams on our list lost more games, but few of them did it in more spectacular fashion than the 1998-99 Grizzlies, who scored 90 points or fewer 30 times and were blown out by 15 points or more on 13 occasions. Fans stayed away from General Motors Place in record numbers, and the team relocated to Memphis after two more dreadful seasons.

4. 1997-98 Denver Nuggets (11-71)

The 1997-98 season marked the Nuggets’ 22nd year in the NBA, but you never would have known it from the way the team played. Bill Hanzlik’s motley crew stumbled out of the gate with a 2-38 record and cobbled together three losing streaks of 12 games or more. Denver's worst stretch of the season was from December 9 to January 23, when the Nuggets lost 23 straight games and were held to fewer than 80 points seven times.

3. 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers (10-72)

Just how bad were the 76ers in 2015-16? Philadelphia lost 13 straight games from February 8 to March 9, and it wasn’t even their worst losing streak of the season. That dubious achievement came during the opening month of the year, when the Sixers strung together 18 consecutive losses, including four by 20 points or more. It may not have been pretty (or even watchable at times), but it was all part of "The Process" that netted Philly the first pick in the draft and allowed the franchise to snag Ben Simmons.

2. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73)

Basketball is not a complicated game. All you have to do is put the ball in the hoop on offense and prevent your opponent from doing the same on defense. Unfortunately that simple premise befuddled the 1972-73 76ers, who finished the season ranked last in both field goal percentage and opponent field goal percentage. That’s a losing formula if ever we’ve seen one, and it goes a long way in explaining how the Sixers managed to close out the campaign 59 games behind the division-leading Boston Celtics.

1. 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (7-59)

You know you’re in for a long year when your leading scorer is Gerald Henderson. That was the gut-wrenching reality for the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats, whose bargain-basement lineup was littered with has-beens and never-weres. Charlotte’s rancid roster ranked 30th in offensive ranking and defensive ranking and finished the strike-shortened season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
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