I know I should be writing about the playoffs.
Derrick Rose tore his ACL. The Orlando Magic have a pulse. The New York Knicks might never win another playoff game.
Yada, yada, yada. At some point, I’ll get around to it.
Instead, I’m going to write about something I thought would not happen in my lifetime: The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers are no longer the worst team in NBA history.
I have been following the NBA for 40 years. I have always been fascinated by the game’s numbers. When the NBA Register and Guide arrived at my workplace – wherever it was – I pored over it, trying to commit another tidbit of statistical data to memory.
And for most of my life, the worst team in NBA history was the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers – who also happen to be the only team in any sport I remain passionate about.
But the Sixers aren’t the worst team anymore, thanks to the Charlotte Bobcats.
When the NBA Guide is printed in advance of next season, here is what it will have on one of its pages:
Lowest Winning Percentage, Season
.106 – Charlotte Bobcats, 2011-12 (7-59)
.110 – Philadelphia 76ers, 1972-73 (9-73)
You can still argue that the Sixers were worse, for a number of reasons. Their awful season came in an 82-game campaign against a 17-team league in which more than one-third of the teams had been in existence for six years or less. Players today are much bigger, stronger, faster and better. Over another 16 games, who is to say the Bobcats would not have won two or three games?
Unfortunately, that’s all conjecture. The numbers above are inarguable. Just ask the Bobcats.
“You don’t want to be a part of infamy,” Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson said.
Too late, Gerald. You already are.
The irony in all of this is that the Bobcats are owned by Michael Jordan. It is almost surreal that the NBA’s newest biggest losers are the property of a former player whose name is synonymous with winning.
“You don’t expect anything like that to be happening to the greatest player in the game, and you don’t want to see that happen to him,” Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s former sidekick, told ESPN 1000 Radio in Chicago this week. “It’s definitely embarrassing, and something you don’t want to associate with Michael Jordan’s name.”
Sorry, it already is.
Right there in the NBA Guide.
TRIVIA: Who was the last Coach of the Year to guide a team that did not finish with a winning record? Answer below.
THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche has had quite a year, so he decided to throw a party.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Washington Wizards center Nene, disputing the notion that he was the key to the team’s late-season winning streak:
“I’m not the key. Who’s the door if I’m the key?”
LINE OF THE WEEK: Paul Millsap, Utah vs. Phoenix, April 24: 41 minutes, 10-18 FGs, 6-11 FTs, 15 rebounds, four assists, three steals, one block, 26 points in a 100-88 win. With the Jazz’s playoff hopes in the balance, Millsap’s monster game vaulted Utah into the postseason.
LINE OF THE WEAK: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City at LA Lakers, April 22: 47 minutes, 3-22 FGs, 0-4 3-pointers, 8-8 FTs, four rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, three turnovers, 14 points in a 114-106 double-overtime loss. Westbrook’s awful shooting game and a late turnover contributed mightily to a loss that helped cost the Thunder the top seed in the West.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Orlando at Indiana, April 30. After losing the opener at home, this is now a must-win for the Pacers, who have done a lot of talking this season about how they should be among the league’s elite. It’s time to prove it.
TRILLION WATCH: Charlotte’s D.J. White narrowly averted an 8 trillion Wednesday by committing a foul. However, the best non-effort was the 4 trillion posted by Oklahoma City’s Lazar Hayward, also Wednesday.
TWO MINUTES: Wanna know how crazy this season was? According to Timberwolves PR, Tuesday and Wednesday marked the first – and only – time the team practiced on consecutive days. … After losing Manu Ginobili to an elbow injury in last season’s virtually meaningless final game – and exiting as a top seed in the first round – the Spurs were taking no chances this season. Coach Gregg Popovich told Ginobili and fellow stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to remain in San Antonio for the final two games. Popovich himself returned to the Alamo City one day early, allowing long-time assistant Mike Budenholzer to coach Thursday’s win at Golden State. Popovich may also have taken those precautions because there was no guarantee his team would not play its postseason opener Saturday and have two travel two time zones, leaving just over 24 hours for preparation. As luck would have it, the Spurs received a Sunday opener. Denver and Utah also had to travel two time zones to their playoff openers but also begin Sunday. … The late-season collapse by the Rockets kept them out of the playoffs for the third straight year. They have not finished below .500 in any of those seasons. … Although he has indicated many times that he is open to staying in Phoenix, Steve Nash potentially played his last game for the Suns this week. A free agent this summer and 38 years old, there has been speculation that Nash may want to finish his career with a team closer to a championship. He is nowhere near done as a player, leading the NBA in assists for most of the season. But when asked about Nash, Suns coach Alvin Gentry spoke about him in the past tense. “He was a guy that made guys better,” Gentry said. “It was fun to watch him play and to be with him for eight years, and what he has accomplished here, and what he has done for this franchise and for my coaching career, is priceless.” … More proof that NBA fans are front-runners: The second-best selling jersey from April 2011 to April 2012 was the No. 17 of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who was barely employed a year ago. Lin’s jersey sold more than anyone except Derrick Rose. In addition, among the top-selling teams were the defending champion Mavericks (No. 5) and the rags-to-riches Clippers (No. 8), who weren’t on last year’s top 10. … Despite the campaign being shortened by 16 games, five teams won more games than last season – the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto, Cleveland, Indiana and Minnesota. The Timberwolves went 26-40, their most wins since they went 32-50 in 2006-07, Kevin Garnett’s last season with the club. But injury-riddled Minnesota lost 13 of its last 14 games, and guard J.J. Barea – who won a ring a year ago with Dallas – called out some teammates after Sunday’s home loss to Golden State. “We’ve got problems here,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that don’t care. We’re just going to keep getting L’s until we get players here that care, that care about winning, care about the team and care about the fans.” There was some predictable reaction from both sides. Hard-working Anthony Tolliver agreed with Barea, adding, “There’s some guys in here that have been more worried about other things. It’s not that they don’t want to win, it’s just sometimes the team concept goes out the window. Whenever you’re struggling a lot of times people want to blame somebody else, but the biggest thing is people have to look in the mirror, plain and simple. The hardest thing to do is to say, ‘My fault. It’s on me.’ It’s real easy to say ‘You should’ve done (this) or you should’ve done that.’” However, Michael Beasley, whose entire NBA career has been on cruise control, said, “Until you point those guys out one by one, it doesn’t really matter.” … Add another pretty big name to growing list of floppers: Blake Griffin. After Sunday’s loss at LA, Hornets coach Monty Williams called out Griffin, who also has been the target of some hard fouls this season – which some folks believe may be warranted, given his occasional preening. “It’s hard to play against all the flopping and nonsense that goes on with that team,” Williams said. “Who is the common denominator with all this fluff going on around the league? Blake Griffin. We don’t dunk, we don’t stare at people, we play the game the same way every night. … But all the extra stuff, we’ve never been about that.” … Cavs coach Byron Scott sneered at a recent poll that ranked him above only Stan Van Gundy and Scott Skiles as coaches players would want to play for. “I don’t mind that,” Scott said. “You’ve got a lot of guys that want you to kiss their butts. I’m not doing that. That ain’t happening. And I’m not going to tell them all the time what they want to hear.” … Kings center DeMarcus Cousins explained his technical foul for jawing with Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo in this inimitable fashion: “It’s part of being DeMarcus Cousins.”
Trivia Answer: Orlando’s Doc Rivers in 2000 (41-41). … Happy 36th Birthday, God Shammgod. … The only reason why the Golden State Warriors started five rookies in their season finale is because you can’t start six.
Chris Bernucca is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Wednesday and Sunday. You can follow him on Twitter.