The NBA season is on hold for the time being and will have a unique look when and if play resumes in the bubble at Disney World in late July. So while we’re waiting things out, we thought now would be a good time to look into each team’s worst season against the spread.
With the help of research from ESPN Stats & Information, we broke down the worst betting campaigns for all 30 teams from the past 30 seasons.
2009-10 Boston Celtics (33-48-1 ATS)
The Celtics finished 50-32 straight up, a 12-game dip from the previous season, and opponents shot 45% against them (compared to league-low 43% in 2008-09). However, Boston was able to reach the NBA Finals two years after winning it all. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers won the 2010 rematch in seven games.
1998-99 Brooklyn Nets (19-29-2 ATS)
After reaching the playoffs the previous season, the Nets (in New Jersey at the time) struggled the following year, firing John Calipari after a 3-17 start. They would go on to start the season a dreadful 4-18-1 ATS. The Nets acquired Stephon Marbury midseason, while forward Jayson Williams suffered a career-ending injury in practice late in the season. The Nets finished 16-34 in a lockout-shortened season.
2001-02 New York Knicks (30-52 ATS)
The Knicks went 30-52 SU to end a 14-season playoff appearance streak, the longest in franchise history. Jeff Van Gundy unexpectedly resigned 19 games into the season (10-9), and the Knicks went 20-43 under Don Chaney the rest of the way. The 18-win drop-off from 2000-01 was the Knicks’ second-largest year-over-year win decrease in franchise history at the time (now it’s the third-largest). The Knicks’ FG percentage of 43.2% was their lowest mark since 1964-65 (42.6%).
1995-96 Philadelphia 76ers (32-49-1 ATS)
The 76ers found something to build around with top draft pick Jerry Stackhouse but failed to have much success as his team in his rookie season. Stackhouse averaged 19.2 points per game and made the All-Rookie team, but Philly staggered to an 18-64 record. The Sixers averaged just 94.5 PPG (26th in the NBA) and allowed the fourth-most (104.5). A 3-17 start didn’t help, and head coach John Lucas II was fired after the season.
2008-09 Toronto Raptors (33-47-2 ATS)
The Raptors acquired Jermaine O’Neal before the season to pair with Chris Bosh, but the experiment lasted just 41 games as the team — in second-to-last place in the East at the All-Star break — traded O’Neal in a package for Shawn Marion. Toronto ranked just 22nd in the NBA in offensive efficiency in 2008-09, down from 10th the previous season. In particular, the Raptors struggled to get easy buckets as they ranked last in the NBA in points in the paint per game (34.4) and 27th in fast-break PPG (9.4).
2003-04/2012-13 Chicago Bulls (35-47 ATS)
In 2003-04, Chicago re-signed Bulls legend Scottie Pippen as a free agent in the offseason, but the team went 23-59 and missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season. Pippen retired after a season in which the Bulls finished last in FG percentage (41%) and 28th in offensive efficiency (95.6).
In 2012-13, Derrick Rose, who won MVP honors in 2010-11, missed the entire season following ACL surgery. The Bulls tied for last in points per game (93.2) but still managed to go 45-37 SU. Chicago lost in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Heat.
2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers (30-49-3 ATS)
The Cavs were coming off a Finals loss to the Warriors and also were dealing with the absence of Kyrie Irving, who was traded to the Celtics during the offseason. Cleveland, which used 30 different starting lineups, again lost to the Warriors in the Finals. LeBron James averaged 27.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG and 9.1 APG in his final season in Cleveland.
1990-91 Detroit Pistons (31-49-2 ATS)
Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas played in a career-low 48 games due to wrist surgery. The two-time defending NBA champions went 31-17 (.646) with Thomas in the lineup during the regular season and 19-15 (.559) without him. Their reign came to an end at the hand of Michael Jordan‘s Bulls in the Eastern finals.
1996-97 Indiana Pacers (35-47 ATS)
Injuries helped derail Indiana’s season. Center Rik Smits, the Pacers’ second-leading scorer at 17.1 PPG, missed 30 games after undergoing foot surgery. Forward Derrick McKey, missed 32 games after suffering a stress fracture in his foot and then later rupturing his Achilles tendon. Despite the offseason acquisition of Jalen Rose, the Pacers (39-43 SU) would miss out on the postseason for the first time in eight years.
1999-2000 Milwaukee Bucks (34-48 ATS)
Milwaukee was great on offense but struggled on defense. The Bucks finished the season with the third-highest offensive efficiency (106.5), but their defensive efficiency ranked 26th in the league at 106.2. They won 10 of their final 13 games to sneak into the playoffs but lost in five games to top-seeded Indiana.
1999-2000/2004-05 Atlanta Hawks (33-49 ATS)
In 1999-2000, the Hawks had the worst 3-point field goal percentage in the NBA (31.7%) and averaged the second-fewest assists per game in the league (18.9). They went 28-54 and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. The good news for the Hawks was Dikembe Mutombo made the All-Star team and top draft pick Jason Terry was named to the All-Rookie second team. But that didn’t help bettors.
In 2004-05, the Hawks had their worst outright record in franchise history (13-69) and tied for the ninth-worst record in NBA history. Their top four scorers missed a combined 104 games. The Hawks had 13- and 14-game losing streaks during the season and lost 32 of their final 35 games. All this despite re-signing free agent Kevin Willis and adding Antoine Walker and Al Harrington in the offseason. Ouch.
2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (23-43 ATS)
The previously named Bobcats went 7-59 SU and were the lowest scoring team in the league at 87.0 PPG. They were outscored by a league-worst 13.9 PPG and ended the season on a 23-game losing streak. Charlotte went 34-48 the previous season, but the 2011-12 campaign marked the worst winning percentage for an NBA team in a season (.106).
2007-08 Miami Heat (35-47 ATS)
The Heat tied their worst record in franchise history at 15-67. It was Pat Riley’s worst record as a head coach by far and his final season as a coach. Dwyane Wade missed 31 games, including the final 21 when the team shut him down due to a knee injury. Shaquille O’Neal was dealt to the Suns during the season.
2003-04 Orlando Magic (27-54-1 ATS)
The Magic dipped to 21-61 after going 42-40 the previous season. Doc Rivers was fired after a 1-10 start, and the team lost 19 straight games (1-18-1 ATS) after winning its season opener. Tracy McGrady led the NBA in scoring for the second straight season (28.0 PPG), but Grant Hill missed the entire season recovering from ankle surgery.
2002-03 Washington Wizards (30-49-3 ATS)
This was Michael Jordan’s last season in the NBA and, at 39 years old, he was the second-leading scorer on the team, averaging 20.0 PPG, just shy of Jerry Stackhouse’s team-leading 21.5 PPG average. The Wizards struggled shooting the ball from 3-point range, going just 31.2% from beyond the arc, good for 27th out of 29 teams that season.Jordan was an All-Star, but the Wizards went just 37-45.
1995-96 Denver Nuggets (30-52 ATS)
LaPhonso Ellis missed the first 32 games of the season, and the Nuggets started 13-19 (11-21 ATS). Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf led the team with a 19.2 PPG scoring average. The Nuggets went 8-12 (6-14 ATS) in their final 20 games.
2019-20 Minnesota Timberwolves (24-39-1 ATS)
After missing just five games in his first four seasons, Karl-Anthony Towns missed 29 games in 2019-20 (Minnesota went 9-20 in those games). The Timberwolves struggled to an 8-24 record at home after going 25-16 the previous season. Their .250 home win percentage ranked second-worst this season, ahead of only the Warriors.
2017-18 Oklahoma City Thunder (32-47-3 ATS)
Coming off his MVP season in 2016-17, Russell Westbrook saw his scoring average dip from 31.6 in 2016-17 to 25.4 in 2017-18. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George both joined the Thunder, but Anthony struggled, averaging a career-lows at the time of 16.2 PPG and 40% shooting.
2005-06 Portland Trail Blazers (33-47-2 ATS)
Zach Randolph led Portland in scoring at 18.0 PPG, but the Blazers were without Darius Miles, their second-leading scorer at 14.0 PPG, for 42 games. Portland won just 21 games, which is tied for its second-fewest wins in any season. The Blazers’ defensive efficiency (110.3) was the third-worst in the NBA.
2004-05 Utah Jazz (33-49 ATS)
The Jazz won 16 fewer games in 2004-05 than they did the previous season, the third-largest season-over-season drop-off in wins in franchise history. Andrei Kirilenko missed 42 games, and Carlos Boozer, who led the team in PPG (17.8), had his season cut short by a foot injury and missed 31 games. The Jazz finished 9-22 in those last 31 without Boozer, including going 13-18 ATS.
1994-95 Golden State Warriors (30-52 ATS)
Chris Mullin only played 25 games due to injuries, while Chris Webber was traded to Washington prior to the start of the season due to issues with Don Nelson. The Warriors would change coaches during the season, going from Nelson to Bob Lanier. Golden State dropped from 50 wins in 1993-94 to 26 wins in 1994-95 and allowed 111.1 PPG, 4.3 more than any other team in 1994-95.
1995-96 Phoenix Suns (31-51 ATS)
In Charles Barkley‘s final season in Phoenix, he led the team in scoring (23.2 PPG), rebounds (11.6) and steals per game (1.6) Kevin Johnson, who ranked sixth in assists per game (9.2) in 1995-96, missed 26 games with groin and hamstring injuries. The Suns also endured a coaching change, going from Paul Westphal to Cotton Fitzsimmons, and won 18 fewer games than the prior season, the second-largest drop-off from one season to the next in franchise history.
2008-09 LA Clippers (32-50 ATS)
The Clippers went a dreadful 19-63. They ranked last in offensive efficiency (101.0) and net efficiency (-9.2) and used 38 different starting lineups, second-most by any team that season behind the Warriors (47).
2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers (31-50-1 ATS)
The Lakers, who signed Gary Payton and Karl Malone in offseason, finished 56-26 SU and went on to lose in the NBA Finals against the Pistons as -700 favorites. The Lakers started slow (1-6 ATS in their first seven games) and finished slow (4-14 ATS in their last 18 games and 0-6 ATS in the last six). It was this season where Kobe Bryant’s feud with Shaq reached a peak, and O’Neal eventually left after the season.
1995-96 Sacramento Kings (32-49-1 ATS)
The Kings finished 39-43 for a second straight season and claimed the eighth seed in the playoffs, snapping a nine-year playoff drought. Sacramento was 14-26-1 ATS on the road, the worst road cover percentage by the Kings over the past 30 seasons (35%).
1995-96 Dallas Mavericks (28-52-2 ATS)
The Mavs finished 26-56, a 10-win dip from the previous season, despite starting 5-1 outright (3-3 ATS). They would drop 21 of their next 24 games, losing Jamal Mashburn in the process. Mashburn (23.4 PPG) played only 18 games, and Dallas went 22-40-2 ATS after his injury. Second-year player Jason Kidd made his first All-Star game but had trouble getting along with Jim Jackson. Roy Tarpley was banned from the NBA for violating the league’s drug policy.
1995-96 Houston Rockets (27-53-2 ATS)
The two-time defending NBA champions were beset by injuries in 1995-96. Three of the team’s top six scorers (Clyde Drexler, Sam Cassell, Mario Elie) each missed at least 20 games due to injuries. The Rockets went 30-16 (.652) during the regular season in games Hakeem Olajuwon, Drexler and Cassell played together and 18-18 (.500) in all other games.
1998-99 Memphis Grizzlies (21-28-1 ATS)
In a lockout-shortened season, the Grizzlies, at the time in Vancouver in the franchise’s fourth season, went just 8-42 SU for a .160 win percentage, the worst in franchise history and the 11th-worst win percentage by any team in NBA history. The Grizzlies ranked bottom four in offensive efficiency (26th) and defensive efficiency (27th).
2003-04 New Orleans Pelicans (34-47-1 ATS)
Jamal Mashburn, the team’s leading scorer from the previous season, missed 63 games due to knee injuries. The then-Charlotte Hornets were the second-worst team in the NBA in 3-point percentage (31.9%) after ranking fifth the season before (37.6%).
2019-20 San Antonio Spurs (25-37-1 ATS)
The Spurs ranked 24th in defensive efficiency, their worst in a season since Gregg Popovich’s first season with San Antonio in 1996-97 (ranked last). The Spurs went 15-24 in clutch-time games (games decided in final 5 minutes and score within 5 points) after going 24-16 the previous season. Before the suspension of the season, the Spurs were on pace to finish under .500 and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996-97.