The 8 Longest Losing Streaks in NBA History

12 Nov 2023

What are the longest losing streaks in NBA history? Whether it was poor form, weak rosters or having to "trust the process", we take a look at the most losing periods of all time.

8. Detroit Pistons - 21 games (1980) 

The Detroit Pistons snapped two 11-game losing streaks in 2023, still ten consecutive losses away from the franchise record 21-game losing streak the Pistons set in 1980 across two seasons. Even with two-time NBA champion and five-time All-Star Bob McAdoo, the Pistons went winless in 1980 from March 7 to October 25.

7. Charlotte Bobcats - 23 Games (2012)

The 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats are the worst NBA team of all time finishing the season 7-59 (.106). Outscored by 14 points on average this was a team that were ranked last in almost all statistics categories. 

During the season has losing streaks of 16 games and a 23-game streak that ranks as one of the longest losing streaks in NBA history. After picking up their seventh win on March 17 the Bobcats wouldn't win another game for the rest of the season, snapping their losing streak to open the 2012-13 season.

6. Denver Nuggets - 23 Games (1997-98)

The 1997-98 Denver Nuggets was the low point for a franchise that won their first NBA championship in 2023 ending a 47-year title drought. The Nuggets finished with a 11-71 (.134) record and were in the midst of a rebuild, struggling mightily in the post-Dikembe Mutombo era.

A 23-game losing streak during the 1997-1998 season was the peak of the Nuggets demise and after beginning the season 2-38 were on track for the worst record in history but scraped 11 wins. In 2003 the franchise's fortunes turned around as they drafted Carmelo Anthony.

5. Vancouver Grizzlies - 23 games (1996)

The Vancouver Grizzlies registered one of the longest losing streaks in NBA history in their inaugural season. In a winless run that went almost two months, the Grizzlies lost 23 games straight before finishing the season with a 15-67 (.183) record. 

Unfortunately things didn't get any better for Vancouver, with the franchise relocating to Memphis in 2001. Things have changed in the city since then and Vancouver could very well be the next NBA expansion team.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - 24 games (1982)

The Cleveland Cavaliers 24-game losing streak in 1982 is the fourth longest losing streak in NBA history. From March to November Cleveland failed to win a game, with 19 of those consecutive 24 losses closing out the 1981-82 season. It was a season which the Cavaliers finished with a 15-67 (.183) record despite the fact they had two-time ABA All-Star James Silas on the team.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - 26 games (2014)

Trusting "The Process", Philadelphia were in full rebuild mode to start the 2013-14 season. The 76ers were deliberately "tanking" to secure high draft picks by filling their roster with inexperienced and weak players. Before the season the 76ers drafted Michael Carter-Williams, ahead of the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The 76ers finished the season 19-63 (.232) with only five wins in their last 32 games. It worked out alright, as Philadelphia earned the third pick and drafted Joel Embiid in the 2014 draft. 

2. Cleveland Cavaliers - 26 Games (2010-11)

When LeBron James left for the Miami Heat to win three rings, Cleveland struggled with a lack of star power and inexperience, and they "bettered" their 1982 record of 24 straight losses with a 25th consecutive loss against the Mavericks on February 7. 

The Cavaliers finished with a 19-63 (.232( record after losing one of the greatest NBA players of all time LeBron James. Nobody would've expected the Cavaliers to lose 26 games in a row though which was the worst NBA losing streak ever at the time.

1. Philadelphia 76ers - 28 Games (2015)

Following on from their 26-game losing streak in 2013-14 the Philadelphia 76ers' 28-game losing streak across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season is the longest losing streak in NBA history. This was the peak of "The Process" which saw the weakest roster we're likely ever to see take the court. 

Was it worth it? Well the 76ers were able to draft Jahlil Okafor and Ben Simmons as a result of their tanking. But after The Process ended with the drafting of Simmons, the 76ers continue to choke in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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