The last time the Raptors were this bad, Isiah Thomas was involved

Gradey Dick, Toronto Raptors
Gradey Dick, Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors have not had the best few weeks.

Scottie Barnes fractured his hand. Jakob Poeltl tore a ligament in his finger. RJ Barrett stepped away from the team to grieve with his family. Other than one narrow win over the Charlotte Hornets (before Poeltl got hurt) the Raptors have lost 11 of their last 12 games, including eight double-digit losses. They lost by 41 to the New Orleans Pelicans despite playing in Toronto.

In all, the Raptors have been outscored by 147 points in their last 10 games, by far the worst mark in the NBA over that span. The Washington Wizards are next at -107, and the rest of the tanking teams are next: Utah, Portland, Detroit, Charlotte, Memphis and Brooklyn round out the worst eight scoring margins int he last 10 games (the Spurs and rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama are much higher up the list).

Toronto is not simply failing when it is measured up to the rest of the league; every team has bad stretches. Yet looking at the Raptors' complete ineptitude with a historical lens uncovers something even more depressing: the Raptors are having their worst stretch of basketball in nearly 30 years.

The Raptors haven't been this terrible in 18 years

The last time the Raptors were outscored by at least 147 points in a 10-game span was the 1995-96 NBA season, the Raptors' first in the league. They joined the NBA as an expansion team the previous summer and had a roster full of other team's castoffs, unproven fringe players and first-round pick Damon Stoudemire.

Unsurprisingly, the Raptors were exceptionally bad that season. They finished 21-61 that season, and after a somewhat frisky start to the year, they absolutely fell apart down the stretch. Over the final 15 games of the season, the Raptors went 3-12 and were outscored by ##. The worst 10-game stretch spanned March 29th to April 15th, where the Raptors boasted a -193 scoring margin. They lost by 40 to the Orlando Magic and 46 to the New York Knicks during that stretch.

Isiah Thomas, tabbed with running the front office and being the face of the franchise as they got their start, used the opposuting to draft center Marcus Camby with the second overall pick, then drafted Tracy McGrady the following year. The Raptors didn't stay that terrible for long, even with some bumps along the way.

The problem with Toronto's utter collapse over the last few weeks is that they don't own their own first-round pick. If it falls in the Top 6 they get to keep it (and owe San Antonio a pick next year); if it falls to No. 7 or later it goes to the Spurs.

After their latest double-digit loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, extending their league-leading losing streak to nine games, and the Memphis Grizzlies eeking out a win over the Spurs that same night, the Raptors now have the sixth-worst record in the NBA, which gives them around a 45 percent chance of keeping it.

The best way to maximize their chances of keeping the pick is to continue losing games. Even if they didn't want to do that, the choice may be out of their hands. This team, having traded three starters and lost the other two to injury, is not good enough to compete with other NBA teams.

Hope is on the horizon for next year. Immanuel Quickley and Scottie Barnes should only continue to get better, as Gradey Dick and Ochai Agbaji should do too. They will have a first-round pick even if theirs is sent to San Antonio, owning the Indiana Pacers' pick from the Pascal Siakam deal, so they can look to improve the team in the draft. They have a substantial amount of cap space and could pursue a star, or take on bad money and build assets for larger moves down the road.

It's been a bleak 10 games of basketball, and you have to go back to the Clinton administration to find worse. There will almost certainly be more losing ahead as the Raptors seem headed for an inept close to the season.