Book names 1992-93 Mavericks least dominant team ever

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Book names 1992-93 Mavericks least dominant team ever

Postby kjwright28 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:43 pm


My name is Kyle Wright, a longtime site reader but new poster. I have a new stats-based NBA book out called The NBA From Top to Bottom. The book uses a computer formula to rank every team in NBA history. You can get a sneak peek at the book at

I thought I would use some of the book's conclusions as conversation starters. There already is a post going about my 10 most dominant NBA champions of all time. At the other end of the spectrum, here are my 10 least dominant teams of all time, starting with the worst.

1. 1992-1993 Dallas Mavericks
2. 1970-1971 Cleveland Cavaliers
3. 1997-1998 Denver Nuggets
4. 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers
5. 1982-1983 Houston Rockets
6. 1988-1989 Miami Heat
7. 1986-1987 Los Angeles Clippers
8. 1949-1950 Denver Nuggets
9. 1999-2000 Los Angeles Clippers
10. 1990-1991 Denver Nuggets

Quick thoughts:
* 1992-93 Dallas' average point differential (-15.2) is so much worse than any other team in NBA history that they have to rank at the very bottom.
* 1970-71 Cleveland won 15 games, but they played 24 of their 82 games against fellow expansion teams, resulting in a very weak strength of schedule.
* 1972-73 Philadelphia's only truly bad stat (relatively speaking) was their final victory total (9-73); that's why I don't have them as one of the three worst teams ever.
* I have no stats to back this up, but I predict no team will break 1972-73 Philadelphia's record for fewest wins. I think there have been and will be worse teams, but they will find a way to win 10 games since they know that is the magic number they need to shoot for.
* The first two Vancouver Grizzlies teams just missed the cut.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? I can be reached with a reply post here or through my Web site.
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1972-73 6ers

Postby rlee » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:00 pm

From Phila Weekly (2002):

Best remembered for: Losing. Unfavorable trades, draft busts and poor management brought a quick decline to the Sixers team that defeated the San Francisco Warriors to win the 1967 NBA championship. Trading Wilt after the 1968 season, the Sixers finished in fourth place in 1969, second in the Atlantic Division in 1970, then lost to the Baltimore Bullets in the conference semifinals in 1971. The 1971-72 club didn't make the playoffs. And after Billy Cunningham left for the Carolina Cougars of the ABA, the 1972-73 Sixers team reaped what had been sown in previous years. It began with rookie coach Roy Rubin--who was hired by the Sixers after 11 successful seasons at Division I Long Island University. In over his head, Rubin led the team through a farcical first half of the season. Once during a game with the Detroit Pistons, it was rumored Rubin tried to substitute forward John Q. Trapp, who refused to come out and directed Rubin to look behind him. One of Trapp's friends opened his jacket, revealing a gun. Trapp stayed in, and the team lost 141-113. "It was a joke, like letting a teenager run a big corporation," Fred Carter, the team's leading scorer, told Sports Illustrated in 1998. "We had Hal Greer [a Hall of Fame guard] on that team, and Rubin had no idea who he was. After we went 4-4 in the preseason, Rubin said, 'I don't think Boston will be so tough.' We just looked at each other and laughed." Sonny Hill, a basketball historian and current advisor to the team, sums up Rubin: "He was a college coach who wasn't equipped to deal with what was going on in the pro game." At the all-star break Rubin was fired and replaced by player/coach Kevin Loughery. Again, says Hill, who blames bad decisions and poor management for the losing season, the team had made a mistake. "Hal Greer was winding down his career at that time, and unfortunately this was his final chapter," Hill says. "And it wasn't handled well at that point." If anyone should have been named player/coach, Hill says, it was Greer. "He was the last link to what the 76ers franchise had done since his coming here from Syracuse." Instead, the team disintegrated. When the smoke cleared, the team's overall record was nine wins and 73 losses. Fred Carter, who later coached the Sixers, was the team's top scorer that year, averaging 20 points per game. "I think Fred Carter probably was the bright spot of that team," says Hill. "He played hard--not to say the other guys didn't play hard--and he ended up having a decent season." With a lineup that also included Freddie Boyd, Manny Leaks, Dale Schlueter and Leroy Ellis, the Sixers shuttled players in and out, but never achieved the chemistry they needed to win. And after a while the losing took its toll. "It's hard to play at that level when you're losing and there's nothing left to play for but pride," Hill says. The 1972-73 Sixers could never master that particular trick. They ended the season 59 games out of first place, with a .111 winning percentage, and their 9-73 record is not just the worst in team history. It still stands as the worst record in NBA history.

Currently: Roy Rubin works with at-risk children in the Miami area. Kevin Loughery is an analyst for Hal Greer is living in Arizona.Fred Carter is an analyst with ESPN. Dale Schlueter is a businessman in Portland, Ore.
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1992-93 Mavericks learned from awful season

Postby rlee » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:09 pm

1992-93 Mavericks learned from awful season

Thursday, June 15, 2006
By MIKE HEIKA / The Dallas Morning News

The 1992-93 Mavericks season meant so much to Walter Bond, he references it just about every day.

While others might be trying to bury the memory of an 11-71 record – second worst in NBA history – Bond has used it as a turning point.

"To me, it's what helps me understand people, helps me relate to people," said Bond, who has become a motivational speaker targeting national corporate audiences. "When I talk to people about pulling themselves up, fighting through the hard times, they know I have been there. I talk about that season all of the time."

Bond is just one example of successful people produced from that losing team. Among the graduates of that season are a couple of assistant coaches (Mike Iuzzolino at Duquesne and Morlon Wiley with the Orlando Magic), as well as a couple of media gadflies (Derek Harper with Ch. 11 and Tim Legler with ESPN).

"To be honest, those are some of the players I probably keep in closest touch with," said Harper, who is part of the Mavericks' game presentation and also does weekend anchor work. "When you go through something like that, you grow together. To keep from crying, we did a lot of laughing on that team."

AP Walter Bond grew from his experience in the Mavericks' dreadful 1992-93 season and uses that turning point as a motivational speaker. The Mavericks were, in a word, terrible. They were trending down from the 1988 trip to the Western Conference finals, and Rolando Blackman had just been traded to the Knicks, leaving Harper as the lone survivor. Fat Lever was supposed to provide scoring and Jim Jackson was a highly touted rookie, but Lever missed the entire season with injuries and Jackson got in a heated contract battle and didn't play the first 50 games. That opened the door for Bond.

"I had fought my way through college as a reserve, but I still felt I could play, and they gave me a chance," said Bond, a Minnesota alum. "A lot of people will look at that and say I was just hanging on, but to me, it was the realization of a dream."

Bond preaches that message when he talks to struggling sales people or corporate managers fighting downsizing.

"One, I stress to them that not everyone is a superstar and that there are important places for role players, as well," he said. "And two, I tell them that you wouldn't be where you are if you hadn't earned it. A lot of people laughed at us or called us losers, but they didn't get it. Every one of us worked hard just to get to the NBA. Every one of us had a ton of success before we got to the NBA. There were no losers there."

Iuzzolino, from Altoona, Pa., was recently inducted into the Blair County (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame. Doug Smith was named to the University of Missouri's All-Century Team this year. Randy White was inducted into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

"To me, it was a great experience, no matter the circumstances," Iuzzolino said. "I think what it taught me is you can't take winning for granted. You might think you are always going to win, but it doesn't always work out that way. It was a good experience to take forward."

Harper said that pride was why the Mavericks avoided becoming the worst team in NBA history.

"I was banged up that year, and I really probably shouldn't have been playing," he said. "But there was a real camaraderie there and a real sense of pride. We did not want that record, and we fought as a team to avoid it."

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers won nine games, and the Mavericks looked capable of threatening that mark. They were 4-57 when Jackson finally signed his contract, a few new bodies came on board and the team started to click.

It was hardly dynastic, but the Mavericks went 7-14 down the stretch and earned not only a little respect, but some valuable lessons.

"Sometimes you can win and still lose," Harper said. "If you don't learn anything, if you don't grow from the experience, then having a great season can really get lost on you. But you can also lose and still win, and I think that's what happened to us. We built a lot of resiliency and a lot of character that season. I still think it helps me today."

Bond agrees.

"I know nobody is going to look at my NBA career and say it was important," he said. "But it was to me. Being on that team and getting through that season, I think it changed my life."

Several members of the 1992-93 Mavericks went on to have successful careers outside of playing. A few made the most of their NBA careers, as well.

Richie Adubato (head coach): Head coach of the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. Also led the New York Liberty for five seasons.

Walter Bond: Motivational speaker based in Minnesota.

Dexter Cambridge: Former UT star most recently seen playing semi-pro ball in the Bahamas.

Derek Harper: Part of Mavs television production and part-time anchor for Ch. 11 sports.

Gar Heard (assistant/head coach ): Let go as assistant coach of Pistons after 2004-05 season.

Mike Iuzzolino: Assistant coach for Duquesne women's basketball team.

Jim Jackson: Finished this season with Lakers after trade from Phoenix.

Tim Legler: ESPN basketball analyst, working television and Internet.

Sean Rooks: Ended NBA career in 2004 with Orlando Magic.

Doug Smith: Named this year

to the University of Missouri's All-Century Team.

Randy White: Inducted to the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Morlon Wiley: Assistant coach with Orlando Magic. Spent four seasons as Mavs assistant.

from Ray: I love this stat (remember it next time you hear someone quoting something similar re: teams winning close games as proving whatever): The 1992-93 Mavs were 5-1 in games decided by four points or fewer but 1-55 in games decided by 11 points or more.
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Postby kjb » Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:32 pm

It's hard for me to wrap my head around the notion of "Kevin Loughery, good coach." I witnessed his 2 and change seasons in Washington, and here's what I can say about his coaching -- switching to Wes Unseld was a major improvement.
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Re: Book names 1992-93 Mavericks least dominant team ever

Postby MCT » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:44 pm

Once again, interesting stuff when you look at strength of schedule. The two most intriguing points, to me are 1) While the '73 Sixers were undoubtedly a very bad team, perhaps they weren't as bad as their "worst ever" label suggests; 2) Just as the manner of handling scheduling for expansion teams in 1970-71 may cause that year's Bucks to be unfairly dinged, it may make one of the worst teams ever look like merely a garden-variety bad team (Cavs).
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Postby rlee » Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:02 am

Here are "The 10 worst NBA teams of all time" as selected by Phil Axelrod in Basketball Digest, January 1988 (along w/ "highlights" from his commentary):

1. 1972-73 6ers - "The 76ers set a league record w/ 20 straight losses and had streaks of 15 & 13 straight."

2. 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers - " Benoit Benjamin, overweight & undermotivated, became a heavyweight flop in the middle."

3. 1970-71 Cleveland Cavaliers - "Coach Fitch stocked the expansion Cavs with journeymen who had bounced around for years and were on the downside of undistinguished careers."

4. 1982-83 Houston Rockets - "The loss of Moses Malone transformed the Houston Rockets from a playoff team to the worst club in the league in one year"

5. 1981-82 Cleveland Cavaliers - "You needed a scorecard to keep track of the Cavs, who had 23 players wear their uniform during a 15-67 season that included a stretch of 19 straight losses."

6. 1980-81 Dallas Mavericks - "The NBA didn't do us any favors" said Coach Dick Motta of the expansion Mavs. "We were a team of castoffs. We depended on players nobody else wanted."

7. 1967-68 San Diego Rockets - "The Rockets suffered through a 17-game losing streak."

8. 1979-80 Detroit Pistons - "The big news was the midseason trade that sent Bob Lanier to the Bucks for Kent Benson & a 1st round draft choice."

9. 1968-69 Phoenix Suns - "They could score points but couldn't stop anyone."

10. 1952-53 Philadelphia Warriors - "Despite the futility of a 12-57 record (1-28 on the road), the Warriors boasted one of the league's premier players in Neil Johnston."
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