This just in: The Detroit Pistons are hard to watch. The secret is out, not just in the metro Detroit area but across the NBA universe. With their recent pursuit of history sort of in the rearview mirror (each subsequent loss extends the streak, but it now belongs to them and them alone no matter what happens going forward), it seemed a good time to look back at the two teams that had previously held the record – and what became of them.
What some people may not realize is that the Sixers managed to have TWO of the longest losing streaks in NBA history, but because one of them was stretched across two different seasons (beginning at the end of the ’14-’15 season and concluding at the beginning of the ’15-‘16 season) it has something of an asterisk beside it. It’s too bad, as that one lasted for 28 games and was a real beauty. Philadelphia did manage to author a 26-game losing streak during the ’ '13-’14 season that earned them a place in the record books.
These were, of course, “The Process” Sixers that we continue to see remnants of today. Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid continues to lead the franchise that drafted him with the 3rd overall pick of the 2014 draft, so it’s fair to say that the legacy of those brutal Philadelphia teams is still unfolding. However, it’s worth noting that they didn’t even begin to recover in terms of record until the ’17-’18 season when they went 52-30. They’ve seen quite a bit of roster turnover but have ridden Embiid ever since enduring that disastrous campaign that saw them lose 26 straight games. The last chapter of “The Process” story can still be a happy one.
It's also worth noting that Brett Brown was a first-year head coach for the Sixers during the ’ '13-’14 season and would go on to hold the clipboard in Philadelphia for six more years. Here's hoping the same doesn't happen with Monty Williams.
Before the Sixers managed to lose 26 consecutive games in the same season, the Cleveland Cavaliers did it during the 2010-’11 season. As one would probably guess that dismal period of Cavaliers basketball was kicked off by “The Decision.” The media had all kinds of nicknames and catchphrases back then. LeBron James defected to the Miami Heat just before the ’11-’12 season, leaving his former franchise in ruins.
We already know that the Cavaliers enjoyed a happy end to that story as James returned to the Cavaliers four years later, soon after leading the franchise to its first NBA championship. The interim was a very dark period for the Cavaliers, indeed. Fortunately, the franchise won the draft lottery on the heels of their horrific ’11-’12 campaign, which yielded Kyrie Irving. As we all know now Irving was integral to the Larry O’Brien trophy they hoisted in 2016.
But without the cheat code that is LeBron James the Cavaliers may not have turned their nose up. They won just two more games during Irving’s rookie year and were just 33-49 the year before James initiated his rescue mission.
Can Cade Cunningham be that star for the Detroit Pistons? Or is the player who will lead them out of this still not on the team?