Nets vs. 72-73 Sixers: The Competitive Factor

Last week, the Nets lost all three of their games by double digits, including a game against the Boston Celtics that was never competitive from the start, and games against the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers where key stretches kept the Nets firmly at bay for the finish of the game.

The losses, combined with some earlier uncompetitive games since the turn of the New Year got me thinking about how the Nets penchant for getting blown away by the competition compares to other sorry teams in NBA history – and when it comes to the 3-37 Nets, there’s no better barometer for futility than the 9-win, 72-73 Philadelphia Sixers, who currently own the title of “Worst NBA Team Ever,” until further notice.

First, the good news for the Nets. The 72-73 Sixers lost games by an average of 12.1 points per game. While the Nets are right on their heels, they do own a smaller differential than the worst-ever with 11.9 points per game.  Also, the Sixers lost by 20 or more points, an astounding 17 times, or 21 percent of their total games. The Nets have only lost six games by 20 or more points, or about 15 percent of their games.

Where the Nets have the 72-73 Sixers beat – and this is not good – is their percentage of losses of 10 points or more. The Sixers lost 48 games by double-digits, about 59 percent of their total games. The Nets currently have lost by double-digits in 25 of their 40 games, 63 percent of their total games. What’s most alarming is the frequency these losses are starting to mount. Since the Nets second victory of the season against Chicago, they have lost 15 of 18 games by 10 or more points.

So what does all this mean besides what we already know – that the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets are a very bad team that is currently worthy of being grouped among the worst-teams of all-time? Well, for starters, it appears that this Nets team doesn’t take a punch very well from their opponents. While basketball has always been a game of runs, the Nets seem to very rarely get theirs in or otherwise, the margin of defeat would be smaller. Also, while the firing of Lawrence Frank seemed necessary at the time, the Nets appear to be getting considerably worse under the leadership of Kiki Vandeweghe, and this is with the full of assortment of players – Devin Harris, Yi Jianlian and Keyon Dooling specifically – that Frank did not have at his disposal.

This will obviously be a statistic we can keep an eye on as the season progresses, but this is an alarming development.