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The Wizards have lost a lot, but never like this

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The Washington Wizards haven’t won 50 games in a season since 1978-79, and there (thankfully) aren’t enough games left in the 2023-24 campaign to end that absurd drought this year, but Jordan Poole and Co. rush. towards another kind of story in the early stages of rebuilding the team.

The Wizards and their fans have endured many terrible seasons over the past 60 years, but few like this one, even though the team’s struggles were expected as part of the new front office’s long-term plan . Washington’s NBA franchise didn’t finish with the league’s worst record since the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets brought up the rear in the 10-team NBA. That could change this year.

After lose their 12th consecutive match Tuesday at Capital One Arena to fall to 9-49, the Wizards found themselves tied with the Detroit Pistons at the bottom of the standings. league standings. This is a remarkable development considering the Pistons, who finished with the worst record in the league a year ago, tied an NBA record in lose 28 consecutive games earlier this season.

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The teams that finish with the three worst records will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the top pick in the standings. NBA Draft Lottery, but the team with the worst record is guaranteed to pick at least fifth place, so there is potentially a small advantage in finishing dead last. It won’t be easy for the Wizards to hold off the Pistons, but they have a chance, with their home game against Detroit on March 29 looming. Tuesday’s loss dropped Washington to 2-13 since Brian Keefe replaced Wes Unseld Jr. as a coach and 1-37 against teams above .500. (The only victory arrived in December against the Indiana Pacers, who should be ashamed.)

So how does this season compare to Wizards’ dismal past seasons? There have been more painful seasons to be a Wizards fan, including years where teams built to compete failed to meet expectations, but this team is on pace for 15 wins, which would be the fewest the history of the franchise. According to Simple scoring systema metric that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule, this is shaping up to be the worst season in franchise history (at about two points per game) and the 10th worst NBA campaign since 2000.

The Wizards’ SRS of minus-9.5 means they are 9.5 points worse than the average team after adjusting for strength of schedule, which is the second-worst mark in the league. Interestingly, the team with the worst SRS is not the Pistons but the Charlotte Hornets (minus-10.6), who have six more wins than Detroit and Washington.

The last time the Wizards posted a positive SRS rating was in 2017-18, Scott Brooks’ second year as coach. Washington has finished with a negative SRS rating in 32 of the 44 completed seasons since winning 54 games and reaching the NBA Finals in 1979, and this year’s team is on pace to set a new plus down.

As the Wizards prepare for a three-game road trip against Western Conference teams, here’s a look back at the franchise’s five worst seasons from SRS since moving to Baltimore in 1963.

Recording: 23-59 | SRS: -7.3

“Back to basics.” That’s the motto coach Flip Saunders gave his young team ahead of his second season at the helm. During Washington’s disastrous 2009-2010 campaign, which included Gilbert Arenas’ Locker Room Gun Incidentthe Wizards broke their “Big Three” in dealing Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison at the trade deadline. The franchise won the No. 1 pick in the lottery, which it used to select Kentucky point guard John Wall.

Wall averaged 16.4 points as a rookie during an otherwise dismal season. The Wizards traded Arenas to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis on December 18 and finished with the fourth-worst record in the league.

Low light: Washington lost its first 25 away games.

Registration: 24-58 | SRS: -7.1

Kevin Duckworth, acquired in an offseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Harvey Grant, averaged 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in his first year in the Eastern Conference. Fellow player Pervis Ellison was limited to 47 games due to knee injuries in what would be his final season in Washington. Coach Wes Unseld announced his resignation to the USAir Arena crowd after 7-foot-7 rookie Gheorghe Muresan scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a season-ending win over Charlotte.

“It was my last game,” Unseld said. “I was going to announce it to the press, but I thought it would be more appropriate to tell you, the fans, first. You have been patient, kind and encouraging, and I wanted to thank you all personally. … I also want to tell you that there’s no way this team won’t be a good team in about a year. They will give you something to be proud of.

Low light: After a 6-6 start, the Bullets lost 10 straight games, dashing any hopes that the 1993-94 season would be much different from the 60-loss 1992-93 campaign.

Registration: 19-63 | SRS: -7.0

Coach Eddie Jordan, who led Washington to its fourth straight playoff appearance the previous season, was fired after the Wizards started 1-10. Interim replacement Ed Tapscott went 18-53.

Arenas, who signed a six-year contract worth $111 million in the summer of 2008, underwent a third operation on his left knee in September and played in only two games. Washington’s primary motivation in March was to avoid the franchise record for fewest wins in a season, set by the Chicago Packers (18-62) in 1961-62. (The Packers’ SRS was minus-7.5.)

“The guys are still proud of here, and even though things have been tough all season, we still have to fight,” Butler said. “It gives us something to fight for.”

Low light: Brendan Haywood tore a ligament in his right wrist during training camp and missed five months.

Registration: 19-63 | SRS: -6.75

At the June 2000 press conference to introduce Leonard Hamilton as the Wizards’ fifth coach in three seasons, Michael Jordan, who had been named Washington’s president of basketball operations five months earlier, issued a bold proclamation.

“We have three potential stars and talented role players,” Jordan said. “We can be a .500 team. I’m very confident that we can make the playoffs.

Washington, which hosted the All-Star Game in 2001 but had no representatives in the game, started 7-34 and dealt forward Juwan Howard at the trade deadline en route to the third-worst record in the league. Hamilton resigned after the season.

Low light: In January 2001, ringleader Rod Strickland was arrested and charged with driving under the influence for the third time in three years. The arrest came after the Wizards suspended Strickland without pay for one game for missing two practices, a doctor’s appointment and team theft. Washington released Strickland in March.

Record: 22-60 | SRS: -6.5

Rookie Tom Gugliotta averaged 14.7 points and 9.6 rebounds and second-year shooting guard LaBradford Smith cooked Jordan’s Bulls for 37 points in a loss at Chicago, but those were among the only bright spots in Unseld’s fifth full season as coach.

“You wanted the Washington Bullets to rebuild,” wrote David Aldridge, then the team reporter for the Washington Post, after the Bullets finished with their worst record since the 1966-67 season. “You were tired of seeing aging basketball players walking around the Capital Centre. You wanted young, hungry guys who would dive down the court and rush to the basket. You got them. Kind of. It wasn’t pretty, was it?

Low light: The most lopsided of Washington’s 60 losses was a 45-point loss to New Jersey on Jan. 9, 1993. “Inept,” Unseld said afterward. “We didn’t do it…offensively or defensively.”

Neil Greenberg contributed to this report.

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