Pistons, Spurs combine for historic futility at bottom of NBA

Since the age of tanking in the NBA began, there have been some hilariously bad teams with unbelievable feats of failure. 

Whether it was the early “trust the process,” Philadelphia 76ers (NBA-record losing streak of 28 in 2015), or the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (lost final 23 games of the lockout-shortened season for lowest-ever win percentage in a season), the world’s premier basketball league has had some putrid units. 

But the league may not have seen two simultaneously awful teams than this year’s Detroit Pistons (2-20) and San Antonio Spurs (3-18) — who have combined to lose their last 35 games. 

The Pistons, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2019 nor won more than 23 games in a season since their drought began, are approaching those 76ers and Bobcats levels of incompetence. 

Their last win was a 118-102 home victory over the Chicago Bulls…on Oct. 28. 

Detroit went the entire month of November without winning a single game.

While there were few expectations for the Pistons coming into 2023, the San Antonio Spurs generated far more fanfare with the highly anticipated arrival of Victor Wembanyama, who they drafted first overall in this year’s draft. Their season started decently enough — with the Spurs sitting at 3-2 after back-to-back wins against the Phoenix Suns. 

Fortunately for Wemby and the Spurs, that second win came on Nov. 2 so they don’t have to share the distinction of a winless month with Detroit. 

In Friday night’s loss to Chicago, Wembanyama became the youngest player in NBA history (19 years, 338 days) to post a 20-point, 20-rebound game as the Spurs choked away their eighth-straight double-digit lead, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez

“When our opponents are down at half, of course, they’re going to try and have a reaction, but we got to expect that every time,” Wembanyama said. 

“Because our first half was pretty solid, especially defensively. And yeah, there’s ups and downs during the game, but we got to get our downs less and less.”

Of the two floundering franchises, San Antonio seems much more likely to return to the win column with the main reason being their phenomenal rookie. 

But when that might happen is anyone’s guess. 

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