I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, well maybe the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots and maybe even the New York Mets. The New Jersey Nets lost again last night in Sacramento, and are now 0-16 and one loss away from tying the worst winless streak to start the season. The Clippers back in the 1999 lockout shortened season and the expansion Miami Heat of 1988-1989 season both started 0-17.
There is talent on this squad, problem is some of it has been hurt for much of this streak to start the season. They have one of the best young centers in the game in Brook Lopez. They have an All Star point guard in Devin Harris who has missed 10 games this season. Courtney Lee who they got from the Orlando Magic in the Vince Carter trade has missed a total of 7 games but when he has played it appears he's still sulking over the trade from Orlando to New Jersey. Yi has only played in four games all year. Youngsters Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrance Williams flash some bright spots to the future. Veteran point guard Rafer Alston has given the team a nice veteran presence to help run things on the floor in the absence of Harris earlier in the seaosn. With all that being said, it's led to nothing. No wins. They also have a date Sunday night with the Lakers at the Staples Center which almost assures them of tying the mark at 0-17 and joining the Clippers and Heat in a category they don't want to be join them in.
This all brings me back to some memories from my own team. The 2003-2004 Orlando Magic. Coming off three straight playoff appearances, but unfortunately three straight first round exits, they shook things up a little in the offseason. The Darrell Armstrong era was over, in came Tyronn Lue with his prior claim for fame being doing a good job guarding Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals. Juwan Howard was coming in to man Power Forward, a veteran talent but a man who has had a history of playing on bad teams. Hold overs from the Mike Miller trade the season before, Drew Gooden and Gordon Giricek were over from the Memphis Grizzlies. The team had a different look, and subsequently there was hope that the Magic could finally end the "Curse of Shaq" and break out of the first round of the playoffs. Wrong. They actually won their first game of the year on opening night on October 29th, 2003; in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. It was an 85-83 win in Overtime. You always feel good when your team starts 1-0. That was about the only good feel you had with that team all year. They lost their next 19 games before finally winning again on December 8th 2003; at home against the Phoenix Suns, confetti dropped after the buzzer sounded. Head Coach Doc Rivers was gone by this point, fired 10 games into the 19 game losing streak.
I'm rooting for the Nets, I tune in late in the games to see if they maybe can stop the streak, it hasn't happened yet. I'm actually shocked Lawrence Frank still has a job. I'm not saying he's the issue, he's even done a good job with the Nets since taking over for Byron Scott back in the '03-04 season. Still, you figured he would have taken the fall by now. I know how it feels New Jersey, hopefully Brooklyn isn't too far away and it can pump a little life into what right now is a lifeless franchise.