Forget about April Fools posts, it’s kind of a big day for Philadelphia sports. The surprisingly competent 76ers take on the New Jersey Nets tonight at 7PM and can clinch a playoff spot with a win. A Charlotte loss gets them in as well and while I’m not expecting much in the postseason, this team did beat San Antonio, Chicago and Boston this season. They were even able to hang with Miami until the Heat decided they wanted to win that game. That’s just the tip of the Philly Sports iceberg though.
I spent some time this season criticizing the performance of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. I was told I owed them an apology, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true.
The Nets were terrible this year. They broke the all time loss record to start a season at 0-18, and were on pace to break the Philadelphia 76ers all-time worst season record of 9-73. They avoided that particular distinction by winning 12 and losing only 70. This is bad, but really is it any different from the Sixers miserable record of 27-55 this year? I don’t think so, both teams lost a lot and their seasons ended right along with everyone else that didn’t make the playoffs.
Considering the way the NBA Draft Lottery works, there was some cynical speculation that the Nets may have aimed for the worst record in the league (but not the worst of all time) in order to pick first. I don’t believe this is the case. I don’t want to think any team would ever really try for this by tanking the entire season. Regardless, that’s not what happened as The Nets will pick 3rd in the Draft. Ironically, the Sixers will choose 2nd just behind the Washington Wizards on June 24th.
What has been a depressing NBA season is winding down, and tonight at 7PM the Sixers face the New Jersey Nets for the final time. I just received an e-mail from the Sixers (yes, I’m still willing to be on their mailing list. I also get a text after every game which normally begins “Sixers fall to…”) with the message “SIXERS LOOK TO NUDGE NJ TOWARDS INFAMY” as the lowly Nets could still finish with fewer wins than the 1972-73 Sixers and their 9-73 record.
Regardless of the outcome tonight, I just don’t think the Nets will set the record. They’ve been on fire since the All-Star break with 3 wins in 15 games, and with 15 left to play I don’t see how they only come away with one victory. Especially considering they’re facing teams with 23-44 records like the Sixers, and only five of the remaining teams they face have winning records.
On the season, the Nets are on pace to win 8.5 with a current overall record of 7-60. So mathematically it could still happen. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. If nothing else, the Nets’ run at infamy has given me something to follow during a miserable Sixers season.
The Nets record is currently 3 and 36, giving them at a winning percentage of .077. This puts them on pace to win 6 or 7 games and finish with 75 to 76 losses. The all time loss record is 73 held by the 1972-73 Sixers (on pace to win a miserable 27 this season).
At nearly the halfway point in the season, it’s very possible that the Nets could win less than 9 games. I’ll be keeping my eye on the their numbers this season to see if they could take this distinction away from my beloved Sixers.
The Nets play today at 3:30PM against the LA Clippers as part of the NBA‘s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day schedule of afternoon games beginning at 1PM EST across the league.
It wasn’t difficult, but you could see this coming a few weeks ago. The New Jersey Nets are about to break the NBA record for consecutive losses to start a season at 18 (this should happen after tonight’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but you never know). Since the last post on the matter, I did some research and it’s crazy how bad a team can get so fast in the NBA.
The Nets were in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 losing to the Kobe/Shaq era Lakers. While that feels like a lifetime ago, the Nets also won Atlantic Division in 2004 and 2006 and went to the playoffs in 2005. Granted they didn’t win the Eastern Conference Championship those seasons, but until Boston got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen they were a top conference playoff team.
Lots of personnel changes will also drastically change a team’s fortunes as Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter are all gone from the roster. Looking at who’s still in town, there’s no indication that things are going to change anytime soon. The Nets might be a part of the LeBron Lottery after this season, but why would he want to come to the team at this point? Move to Brooklyn or not, this team could be in long term trouble. Like Knicks-level trouble.
In the interest of fairness, it’s also worth looking at some other NBA teams that have already distinguished themselves so far this season:
Minnesota Timberwolves, 2-15. If not for an opening night win against The Nets, this team could have been the Nets.
New York Knicks, 4-14. No matter how hard this team tries, they just can’t seem to get it together. One of those wins is against the Nets and one is against the 14-4 Phoenix Suns.
Philadelphia 76ers, 5-13. The best part of this season is that it’s highly unlikely that the Sixers will be the team the Nets finally beat. They’d have to go 0-41 through January 31st for that to happen. They can’t be that bad…