Who Has the Worst Record in the NBA? The Complete List and Factors Responsible

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 8 Min Read
8 Min Read

The NBA has seen many teams struggle over the years, but a few have etched their names in history for having the worst records. This article delves into these teams, providing insights into their seasons and the context around their performance.

Historical Context

In the NBA, a team’s record is crucial as it reflects their performance throughout the season. The worst records are often remembered not just for the losses but for the circumstances and stories behind them.

Who Has Worst Records in the NBA?

1. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers hold the dubious honor of the worst record in NBA history, finishing with a 9-73 record. This season remains a low point, marked by a series of losing streaks and an overall lack of competitive edge​.

2. 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers appear again, with their 2015-16 season ending at 10-72. This period was part of the team’s “process” era, where they strategically endured losing seasons to acquire high draft picks​​.

3. 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks ended their 1992-93 season with an 11-71 record. Despite a late surge with two unexpected wins, the team’s overall performance was dismal, leading to one of the worst records in NBA history.

Key Factors Leading to Poor Records

Several factors contribute to a team having a poor record, including:

  1. Injuries: Key players missing significant portions of the season can devastate a team’s performance.
  2. Rebuilding Phases: Teams often undergo rebuilding phases, trading away established players for younger talent and future draft picks, which can lead to poor short-term results.
  3. Coaching Changes: Frequent changes in coaching staff can disrupt team chemistry and performance.
  4. Management Decisions: Poor decisions by the management in terms of player acquisitions and team strategy can lead to extended periods of underperformance.


Recent Examples of Worst NBA Records

2023-24 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are currently struggling, with a record of 2-27, marking one of the worst starts in NBA history. This season highlights ongoing issues within the team, including injuries and ineffective strategies.

2022-23 Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets finished the 2022-23 season with a 17-65 record. This season was part of a rebuilding phase for the Rockets, focusing on developing young talent and acquiring future assets.

Factors Contributing to the Worst Record in the NBA


Injuries can drastically affect a team’s season. For instance, during the 2015-16 season, the Philadelphia 76ers were plagued by injuries to key players like Joel Embiid, who missed the entire season. This significantly hampered their ability to compete effectively, contributing to their 10-72 record​​.

Rebuilding Phases

Many teams endure poor seasons as part of a deliberate rebuilding phase. The 2015-16 76ers were in the midst of “The Process,” a strategy focusing on accumulating high draft picks by accepting short-term losses for long-term gains. This strategy saw them endure several losing seasons to eventually build a competitive roster​.

Coaching Changes

Frequent changes in coaching staff can disrupt team chemistry. For example, the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets had three different head coaches during their 12-70 season. Such instability often leads to inconsistent play and poor performance on the court​.

Management Decisions

Poor management decisions also play a role. The 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks’ decision to trade key players and focus on younger, inexperienced talent contributed to their 11-71 record. Management’s inability to surround young players with effective veterans often leads to seasons with poor outcomes​.

Statistical Breakdown of Notable Worst Seasons

To provide a clearer picture, here’s a table summarizing the key statistics from some of the worst seasons in NBA history:

Team Year Record Key Players Points Per Game Major Issues
Philadelphia 76ers 1972-73 9-73 Fred Carter 19.7 Injuries, lack of talent
Philadelphia 76ers 2015-16 10-72 Ish Smith 14.7 Injuries, rebuilding phase
Dallas Mavericks 1992-93 11-71 Jim Jackson 16.3 Rebuilding, inexperienced roster
New Jersey Nets 2009-10 12-70 Brook Lopez 18.8 Coaching changes, lack of offense
Detroit Pistons 2023-24 2-27* Cade Cunningham 19.0* Injuries, ineffective strategies

*Note: The 2023-24 Detroit Pistons’ record and statistics are up to the latest available data and may change as the season progresses.

Lessons Learned and Path to Improvement

1. Draft Strategy

Teams with the worst records often secure high draft picks, which can turn the franchise around. The 76ers drafted key players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons through this strategy, eventually leading to playoff contention.

2. Player Development

Developing young talent is crucial. Teams need to invest in training and development to ensure that high-potential players reach their peak performance. The Mavericks’ investment in Dirk Nowitzki eventually paid off, leading to multiple successful seasons​.

3. Management Stability

Stability in management and coaching can foster better team performance. Consistent leadership helps in creating a cohesive strategy and maintaining team morale. Teams like the Spurs, known for their stable management, rarely face such poor seasons.

Final  Words

The worst records in the NBA are a result of a combination of factors, including injuries, rebuilding strategies, and management decisions. While these seasons are challenging, they also provide opportunities for teams to rebuild and come back stronger. Historical data and recent trends show that with the right strategies, even teams with the worst records can achieve success in the long run.

Frequently Asked Question

Who has the worst record in the NBA currently?

As of the 2023-24 season, the Detroit Pistons hold the worst record in the NBA with a 2-27 start.

What’s the worst record in NBA history?

The worst record in NBA history is held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished the season with a 9-73 record​​.

Who has the worst record in the NBA in 2024?

In the 2023-24 season, the Detroit Pistons have the worst record in the NBA, starting the season with a 2-27 record​​.

Who got the worst road record in the NBA?

The 1990-91 Sacramento Kings hold the worst road record in NBA history, finishing the season with a 1-40 road record.

What’s the worst NBA team?

Historically, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers are considered the worst NBA team due to their 9-73 record. Recent poor-performing teams include the 2023-24 Detroit Pistons​​.

Who was the worst NBA player in NBA history?

Labeling the “worst” NBA player is subjective, but Keith Closs, known for his short and troubled NBA career with the LA Clippers, is often cited in discussions about the least successful players.

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