Hello Bobcats fans. Shortly after the loss to the Boston Celtics last night, I got to thinking. We have had some bad seasons in our short history, but this one is pretty bad. Our first season (2004-05) ended with an 18-64 record. This year, we’re on pace for 9.84 wins. That’s right folks, we’re on pace to win half as many games as a team that featured the immortal names Primoz Brezec, Jason Hart, and Melvin Ely.
What’s more is the Cats are currently mired in a twelve game losing streak. One more and we tie the franchise mark set in the 05-06 season. Even worse, our average point differential thus far this season is -13.6. The Bobcats are the only team in the last decade to have a negative point differential in the double digits. I think it’s safe to say that we are in full-on tank mode (or maybe we’re just that bad).
Wait a second though; there is a silver lining right? With the worst record comes the highest chance of landing the first overall pick in the strong 2012 draft. Well, not so fast. Some draft lottery history must be understood before we get too comfortable with ourselves. The lottery has been in effect (in some form) since 1985. In the 27 total draft lotteries, the team with the worst record has won the first overall pick a total of… four times. By comparison, the team with the third worst record has won the most times (6) and the team with the fifth worst record has won it five times.
But don’t start crying yet. The lottery has existed in three different formats through the years. From 1985 through 1989, the teams who missed the playoffs each had an equal chance of winning the lottery. From 1990 through 1993, teams’ chances decreased by one. It wasn’t until 1994 that the league adopted the current, weighted lottery system.
So what changes when we narrow our scope to just the last 18 years? Well, not much. Since 1994, the team with the worst record has won the lottery a grand total of… 2 times while the team with the third and fifth worst records have won the lottery 5 and 4 times, respectively. So looking at history, the Bobcats would be in better shape winning a few more games than our current pace dictates.
But let’s try to get back to that silver lining and break down how the past has turned out. The worst team has received the first pick 2 times, the second pick 6 times, the third pick 5 times, and the fourth pick 5 times. History might also dictate that we stop talking about Anthony Davis and focus our attention more on the Drummonds, Lambs, Jones, and Sullingers of the world.
Maybe I just haven’t found that silver lining yet. But you best believe I’ll keep looking until I do. Maybe we don’t find it until draft night. Maybe we manage to win a few more games than expected and avoid a historically bad season. At any rate, I want to thank you for sticking with me through this piece as it was heavy on the numbers. If you have any questions about my math, or if I calculated something wrong, just drop a comment below. Thank you and stay hopeful out there!