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Tank and File

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GENTLEMEN, start your tanks! The eight worst teams in the NBA each entered March with between 41 and 44 losses, promising some incredibly bad basketball down the stretch. Who will win the race to the bottom?

We ranked the contenders in four categories:

• Inherent Instability, a combination of historical ineptness (playoff appearances since 2007--08) and current upheaval (lineups used)

• Chokeability, a function of winning percentage in clutch games and +/- in clutch situations

• Schedule, factoring in strength of schedule for remaining games and number of games against fellow tankers. We also added one point for each loss already accumulated above 41.

• General Terribleness, which takes into account winning percentage, heavily weighted to the past month, and the combined VORP (value over replacement player, as calculated by basketball-reference.com) of the top eight current rotation players.

What did we find? The Suns are leading the way, thanks to a February winning percentage of .091 and the hardest schedule going forward. But don't take the Kings lightly: They are historically abysmal and their total VORP is below zero. But they have a curious penchant for playing well in the clutch (+33). At the other end, the Bulls aren't going to enter the lottery with the best odds; they just have too many decent players. Try harder next year, guys. Or less hard.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

PHOENIX SUNS

23.5

SACRAMENTO KINGS

21.5

ORLANDO MAGIC

20

BROOKLYN NETS

19

ATLANTA HAWKS

15

DALLAS MAVERICKS

14.5

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

13.5

CHICAGO BULLS

11.5

KEY

Inherent Instability

Chokeability

Schedule

General Terribleness