TrueHoop: Roy Rubin

How to have the worst record in NBA history

March, 17, 2010
3/17/10
11:47
AM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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The Nets are knocking on the door of history, threatening to displace the 9-73 Sixers as the worst team in NBA history.

And my half-joking thought is: They might as well go for it. If you finish with ten or eleven wins, you're as miserable as ever, but didn't even make the record books. But if you just win seven or eight ... well, at least you have something to remember the season by, and you'll give sportswriters a reason to call you for the rest of your days. (On the other hand, if you're trying to lure LeBron James, you hardly want to star in a torrent of "worst-ever" stories.)

The Nets' next opponent is those very same Sixers, who set the record in 1972-73. How did that team manage to be so bad? There were lots of bad personnel moves, Wilt Chamberlain's departure and, crucially, an inability to find anyone who'd coach the team after Jack Ramsay split for Buffalo.

The Sixers literally ended up placing a classified ad in the newspaper looking for a head coach. In the NBA. (Isn't that just a fantastic piece of information?)

As Frank Fitzpatrick reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer -- the very same paper that had that classified ad -- the ad led them to hire Roy Rubin, who has since come to be seen as one of the worst coaches in NBA history:
"During halftime," recalled Dale Schlueter, a 76ers center then, "he'd say something like, 'Way to go, guys.' Then he'd turn to his assistant and say, 'OK, how many minutes we got left until the second half starts?'

"He was completely lost."

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