The start of the NBA season means hope for all 30 teams. Everyone starts at 0-0 and until the first tip, they all have title aspirations.
Go on any standings page and you’ll see every NBA team sitting at 0-0. That makes sense, the season hasn’t started yet. Usually, when everyone is 0-0, teams are sorted alphabetically. ESPN seems to have taken a different approach and went with a form of alphabetical order that was accurate over 25 years ago.
Reddit user u/mtmaloney pointed out that on ESPN’s NBA standings page, they have sorted teams based on what they were named back in 1995 with teams entering the league after that situated at the bottom. Take a look at this screenshot of teams listed among each conference.
In the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets were once New Jersey and that would explain them being situated between Milwaukee and New York. And then the Toronto Raptors (introduced in 1996) and the (new) Charlotte Hornets (introduced in 2004 as the Bobcats) are at the bottom.
In the West, the New Orleans Pelicans sit in the top spot because back in 1995, the Pelicans were the (old) Charlotte Hornets. The Oklahoma City Thunder sits in between San Antonio and Utah as they were the Seattle Supersonics back then while the Memphis Grizzlies (introduced in 1996 as Vancouver) sit bottom.
More than likely it’s due to code that was implemented when ESPN’s website was created. And quite honestly, unless one has massive OCD, it’s probably not worth going through all the work and hassle to change the code so all teams are in alphabetical order. Especially if the standings change once the season starts.
Think of this as a slightly amusing Easter Egg from ESPN’s site. Stay tuned for the start of the MLB season where the Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks will probably sit at the bottom of the AL and NL respectively.