Remembering the worst season in New Orleans history

JR Smith, New Orleans Hornets. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
JR Smith, New Orleans Hornets. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

For fans of the New Orleans Pelicans, this past season was pretty depressing. To have your season start out so promising, only to end prematurely because of injuries, is really rough. However, looking at the bright side, it is far from the worst season in franchise history.

That honor goes to the 2004-05 season. The first year of Byron Scott’s five-plus year run as head coach and the only time in the organization’s 22-year history that they have won less than 20 games. To be exact, they went 18-64 in 2004-05, which was good for a win percentage of .220 and the second-worst record in the NBA (tied with the then-Charlotte Bobcats). With the stage now set, let’s take a look back at some numbers from that fateful season.

According to Basketball Reference, the then-New Orleans Hornets ranked 30th in offensive efficiency, 22nd in defensive efficiency, and 29th in overall net rating.

In terms of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors (technically eight because they apply to both offense and defense),  the Hornets ranked 30th in offensive effective field goal percentage, 21st in turnover percentage, 13th in offensive rebounding percentage, and 28th in free throw attempts to field goals ratio. On defense, they were 20th in opponent effective field goal percentage, 15th in opponent turnover percentage, 22nd in defensive rebounding percentage, and 21st in opponent free throw attempts to field goals ratio.

Their top seven leaders in minutes played were P.J. Brown, Dan Dickau, Lee Nailon, J.R. Smith (it was his rookie season!), Chris Anderson, Boštjan Nachbar, and Casey Jacobsen. I know, a real murderers’ row of ballers.

The Hornets started out the season on an eight-game losing streak. But that wasn’t even one of their top-3 longest losing streaks on the season. They also had a nine-game losing streak, a ten-game one, and an eleven-game one, all at different points in the season.

On top of that, the eight and eleven game losing streaks both came in the span of their first twenty games. That means that the Hornets started the season 1-19. They also never had a winning streak of more than two games.

But you know what the good news is? They were so bad that they ended up selecting fourth in the 2005 NBA Draft. And you know who was available when it was their turn to make their pick? None other than The Point God himself, Chris Paul.

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