NBA Hell, Pt. 2
For some NBA teams, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
by Patrick Crawley / @BasketballFiend
On Tuesday, I unveiled part I of NBA Hell, a nine-team list designed to identify the most miserable franchises in the League.
Phoenix, Minnesota, Washington and Sacramento all received nods, with the Suns claiming the ninth spot (the least fiery ring of NBA Hell) and the Kings No. 6.
Now it’s on to the worst of the worst: the inner-most circles of NBA Hell (i.e. the teams that cause the most excruciating pain to their fans and will continue to do so for the most seasons to come).
As I mentioned last time, there are a number of factors that play into this ranking. Among them: current performance (record, point differential and number of blowout losses – losses by 15 or more points); ownership and management; attendance and fan support; off-court distractions; financial considerations; and potential for future success.
Theoretically, the No. 1 team is the franchise that combines the worst of each of these categories.
Not sure what I mean? Think back to the Russian Roulette scene in Deer Hunter. Or any episode of The Magic Hour. If your team makes you cringe like that, odds are they’re on this list.
Without further ado, here are teams 1-5. Or, more appropriately, 5-1.
Welcome back to NBA Hell.
5. Charlotte Bobcats
Current record: 24-32
Point differential: -2.8
Blowout losses: 10
Salary committed in ’11-12: $58.6 million
“Bad” contracts: 3 (Boris Diaw, DeSagana Diop, Matt Carroll)
Yeah, I know. The Bobcats are 15-13 under Paul Silas. They’re turning it around and will probably make the Playoffs and all that. But have you watched this team play?
It’s like watching Gary Oldman eat a ham and cheese sandwich. They’re the least distinguishable team in the NBA.
Defensively, they’re solid. Better than solid actually – they rank 12th in the NBA in points allowed.
But holy BET network are they bad offensively: 93.8 points per game (28th in the League), 44.8 percent team field goal percentage (21st), 33.7 percent team 3-point percentage (25th). I’ve seen AAU teams that are more exciting to watch.
OK, that’s a lie. I don’t watch AAU. But if I did, I’m sure I’d be more impressed with that quality of basketball than I am with the Bobcats.
Their offense makes quicksand look fluid.
Normally a stagnant offense wouldn’t be enough to put a potential Playoff team on a list like this, but the Bobcats also have one of the bleakest futures in the NBA.
Think about it. What building blocks do they have for the future (when stars Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson either retire or are traded)?
DJ Augustin? Shaun Livingston? Kwame Brown?
I’m sorry, but that’s not at all impressive. Even Perfect Couples has a better young cast. And nobody likes Perfect Couples.
Fans are clamoring for a trade (apparently in the hope of remedying this problem), with Stephen Jackson as the main trade chip, but I don’t see that as a solution.
The only takers for a trade like that would be Playoff contenders, considering the two years, $19.4 million remaining on Captain Jack’s contract. Dallas needs a reliable swingman with Caron Butler, and the Lakers are itching are to get rid of Ron Artest. But other than cap room (in Butler’s case) or added muscle (in Artest’s), there’s not much incentive in either of those trades for Charlotte.
Dangling Wallace as trade bait would lure the same caliber of fish.
A lack of trade chips leaves the Draft as Charlotte’s lone means of escape. Unfortunately, the Bobcats have been notoriously bad in the Draft recently.
First, they botched the 2008 Draft by taking Augustin over Brook Lopez (one of just a handful of legit big men prospects to enter the League in recent years). Then they took Gerald Henderson in the 2009 Draft, ahead of guys like Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison and DeJuan Blair.
I’m not saying Jrue Holiday would have been the savior of the franchise, but he’s a helluva lot more dynamic than Gerald Henderson (or DJ Augustin for that matter). It’s safe to say Rod Higgins won’t be pulling this team out of the muck with brilliant draft decisions.
Compounding the Bobcats’ problems are the 2012 salaries of DeSagana Diop ($6.9 million) and late sleeper Boris Diaw ($9 million). Can you imagine having $16 million committed to those two guys? It’d be like lugging around a ball and chain all day. And, yes, lugging is the right word to describe anything when Diaw is involved.
All in all, the present looks relatively sunny for the ‘Cats (thanks in large part to their stingy defense), but the future looks as grim as the odds of Perfect Couples making it to a second season.
Sorry, NBC. Sorry, Charlotte.