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Top 10 Best NBA Teams Not Winning A Championship

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Top 10 Best NBA Teams Not Winning A Championship

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So many variables issue into successful a championship within the NBA. Generally a staff seemingly on the street to victory will get hit with accidents or numerous roadblocks. Different occasions a darkhorse contender emerges and takes the league by storm.

Regardless of the case, there are a lot of worthy champions all through the years that didn’t recover from the hump. Particularly if an ideal staff didn’t even make the Finals, they’re typically forgotten regardless of the huge accomplishments they might have earned previous to their playoff demise.

To commemorate these fallen juggernauts, listed below are the top-10 groups in NBA historical past that didn’t win a hoop. (NOTE: If a staff contended however got here up quick for a number of seasons in a row, solely the very best model of that staff is included.)

Honorable mentions: 1971-1972 Bucks, 1995-1996 Magic, 1995-1996 Sonics, 1967-1968 76ers, 1989-1990 Lakers, 1997-1998 Lakers, 1999-2000 Blazers, 1992-1993 Knicks, 1990-1991 Blazers, 1996-1997 Rockets, 2008-2009 Celtics, 2018-2019 Warriors, 2012-2013 Spurs, 2015-2016 Thunder

10. 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers

(56-26 regular-season document, misplaced NBA Finals in Sport 5)

After the Lakers’ three-peat resulted in 2003, the staff retooled its roster to make one final run at a championship earlier than Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s feud turned too poisonous to handle. Growing old future Corridor of Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton additionally needed to win their first ring as quickly as potential, so the 4 superstars joined forces underneath Phil Jackson’s command.

Payton was the one one who stayed wholesome that season as O’Neal, Bryant and Malone missed a mixed 72 video games, based on basketball-reference. The staff was 33-9 with Malone within the lineup, so to win 56 video games regardless of so little roster cohesion is an achievement in itself, and the staff performed to its potential within the playoffs. Los Angeles was most examined in Western Convention Semifinals, with Derek Fisher’s game-winner with simply 0.Four seconds left in Sport 5 serving to his staff take a 3-2 lead within the sequence after initially taking place 2-0.

Within the Finals in opposition to the defensive-minded Pistons is the place the wheels got here off. Malone’s knee damage in Sport Three basically guided him into retirement, however Bryant and O’Neal’s private points have been largely accountable for dropping to underdog Detroit. Bryant averaged practically six extra photographs per sport than O’Neal, capturing simply 38.1% on actually horrible shot choice. O’Neal, conversely, averaged 4 extra factors per outing on 63.1% capturing, but clearly wasn’t being fed the ball by Bryant.

This staff is among the most proficient in league historical past. Because of clashing egos and large media consideration, although, they have been upset by a grittier opponent. O’Neal would later be traded to Miami and the Lakers entered a rebuild.

9. 2004-2005 Phoenix Suns

(62-20, misplaced Western Convention Finals in Sport 5)

When Steve Nash signed with the Suns in the summertime of 2004, nobody envisioned what would come. Phoenix gained a staggering 33 extra video games than the earlier season and turned the 30-year-old level guard into an MVP. He orchestrated the league’s finest offense, famously dubbed the “Seven Seconds or Much less” play-style, and paved the best way for the model of basketball you see all through in the present day’s NBA.

The No.1 offense met the Spurs within the Western Convention Finals. San Antonio earned the league’s finest defensive ranking (98.8) and easily out-executed the extra inexperienced Suns. Amar’e Stoudemire averaged an absurd 37 factors within the sequence, and Nash averaged a 20-point double-double, however the Spurs’ big-three have been machine-like. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all tallied over 20 factors per sport, with the staff capturing over 41% from behind the arc as nicely.

All-Star Shawn Marion, one of many sport’s finest and most athletic defenders on the time, was an enormous cause his staff misplaced. He averaged nearly 12 fewer factors per sport within the sequence than he did within the common season and shot simply 39.1%. Had he proven up, the Suns may need a championship banner.

Nonetheless, this staff revolutionized the best way groups performed basketball within the years to comply with and may all the time be talked about in discussions concerning the evolution of the league.

8. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings

(61-21, misplaced Western Convention Finals in Sport 7)

The 2001-2002 Kings have been one of the vital unselfish, balanced and enjoyable groups ever. Chris Webber, the staff’s clear chief, missed 28 contests and Sacramento nonetheless gained a league-leading 61 video games. They performed the quickest tempo within the league (95.6) and actually performed collectively.

They confronted the back-to-back champion Lakers within the Western Convention Finals, a staff solely reliant on its two superstars. The 2 foes have been the antithesis of one another, and it appeared like teamwork would prevail over star energy when the Kings took a 3-2 lead. The sequence was extraordinarily shut and featured a basic Robert Horry buzzer-beater in Sport 4.

Sadly for the Kings and for the NBA, Sport 6 of the sequence lives in infamy. In June of 2008, disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy alleged that the sport was manipulated and in the end determined by the officers, based on Chris Sheridan of

The Lakers shot 40 free throws to Sacramento’s 25, together with 27 within the fourth quarter. The referee crew made phantom calls on the Kings whereas lacking apparent ones in opposition to L.A., together with Byrant elbowing Mike Bibby within the face throughout a pivotal late-game inbound. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern denies any foul play, although.

Sacramento would have confronted an overmatched New Jersey Nets staff and Finals, doubtless gained and altered the legacy of Webber and the franchise. As a substitute, the Lakers immortalized their early-2000s groups by three-peating.

7. 1977-1978 Portland Path Blazers

(58-24, misplaced Western Convention Semifinals in Sport 6)

Portland entered the 1977-1978 season using excessive off an inconceivable championship the season earlier than. The staff was deep and unselfish, Invoice Walton was the Finals MVP and appeared poised to turn into one of many best basketball gamers ever. Then, his ft failed him.

Walton, who was plagued with leg and foot ache for his complete novice {and professional} profession, led his staff to a 50-10 document earlier than sitting the ultimate 22 video games with a damaged foot. Portland went 8-14 in that span, but Walton nonetheless gained his lone MVP trophy this season after taking part in simply 58 video games.

The story solely will get extra tragic, nonetheless, as Walton took ache killers to swimsuit up for the staff’s first two playoff video games in opposition to Seattle, based on He performed simply 15 minutes in Sport 2, and X-rays afterward confirmed that the navicular bone beneath Walton’s left ankle was damaged. He’d by no means play one other sport for Portland.

The nice middle later demanded a commerce from the group and sued the staff’s administration for giving him poor medical remedy, which was later settled out of courtroom. What was a very spectacular staff imploded inside months. Had Walton’s physique not betrayed him, Portland may need been the staff of the 1970s.

6. 2015-2016 San Antonio Spurs

(67-15, misplaced Western Convention Semifinals in Sport 6)

Credit score: Getty Photos

This Spurs staff was the final to function the legendary big-three of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. All three have been nonetheless stable however couldn’t play at a star-level persistently, and Duncan and Ginobili missed a mixed 45 video games from each damage and load-management. The staff’s supporting forged, although, carried the load.

2015-2016 was the season Kawhi Leonard developed right into a star. He and the newly acquired LaMarcus Aldridge reinvented San Antonio’s identification and led the staff to 67 wins, simply behind the record-setting 73-win Warriors. These two stars, mixed with extraordinary depth in Danny Inexperienced, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and David West, made the Spurs the very best defensive staff within the NBA whereas additionally remaining one of the vital offensively environment friendly.

The Gregg Popovich system tore by way of most groups within the common season apart from the Warriors and the Thunder. Oklahoma Metropolis and San Antonio cut up two playoffs sequence in the last few seasons, so a second-round assembly in 2016 was the rubber match. The Spurs swept the Grizzlies within the first spherical and appeared as polished as ever.

However the Thunder have been a foul matchup for the older and slower Spurs. Kevin Durant obtained his numbers, Russell Westbrook averaged a 25-point double-double and the frontcourt of Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter have been one of many few within the league that matched San Antonio’s measurement. Oklahoma Metropolis may need been the champions had they not blown a 3-1 lead within the Western Convention Finals that 12 months, and San Antonio in all probability might have gained all of it as nicely. It was a deep Western Convention in 2016, and the Spurs drew a foul matchup.

5. 1996-1997 Utah Jazz

(64-20, misplaced NBA Finals in Sport 6)

The 1997 and 1998 Jazz groups have been mainly the identical, however the 1996-1997 staff gained two extra video games and Malone gained his first MVP. John Stockton, Malone and Jeff Hornacek led a machine-like offense that shot 50.4% from the sector on the season. Coach Jerry Sloan drilled Utah’s power-offense into the psyche of his gamers and yielded elite effectivity and win totals because of this.

The Jazz are doubtless back-to-back champions had Michael Jordan’s Bulls not existed. Like so many different Corridor of Famers from the 1990s, Stockton and Malone’s championship desires have been thwarted by Jordan’s dominance. The Jazz had the very best home-court benefit within the league, dropping simply three video games in Utah within the common season, and deserved to get not less than one title.

This Finals was one of many closest ever with the Bulls scoring solely 4 extra complete factors than the Jazz and the general common margin of victory being simply six factors. The video games have been sluggish and grueling. Jordan’s 32.Three scoring common was sufficient to hold his staff and outduel Malone, so now Utah’s two Corridor of Famers are thought to be maybe the very best duo to by no means win all of it fairly than the staff that ended Chicago’s dynasty.

4. 1992-1993 Phoenix Suns

(62-20, misplaced NBA Finals in Sport 6)

Like Nash, Charles Barkley’s gained MVP in his first season in Phoenix and elevated the franchise to a championship-level. The staff gained a league-best 62 video games and ranked first in offensive ranking (113.3) regardless of lacking its third and fourth main scorers — Kevin Johnson and Richard Dumas — for a mixed 67 video games. The Suns have been clutch, skilled and beat another robust squads within the playoffs like Seattle and San Antonio.

Just like the Jazz, Phoenix’s title aspirations have been shattered by Jordan. Like Stockton and Malone, Barkley went ringless. Jordan averaged a document 41 factors within the Finals in 1993. The Suns performed in addition to some other staff that the Bulls confronted within the 1990s, however No.23 was taking part in at a stage not seen since Wilt Chamberlain.

The Suns have been deep, athletic, might shoot, play quick, rebound, defend. There weren’t any actual weaknesses with this bunch. They may have used a Jordan-stopper, however no such participant existed. John Paxson’s game-winner in Sport 6 put the nail within the coffin for Phoenix, and the franchise wouldn’t get shut in any of Barkley’s subsequent three seasons.

3. 2017-2018 Houston Rockets

(65-17, misplaced Western Convention Finals in Sport 7)

Say what you’ll about Houston’s basketball philosophy and Harden’s playoff historical past, however the Rockets have been completely dominant in 2017-2018. Even with the newly acquired Chris Paul lacking 24 video games and Harden lacking 10, the staff gained a league-leading 65 video games and held the highest offensive ranking (114.7). Harden lastly gained the MVP trophy he’d been clamoring over for years and the Rockets have been probably the most prolific 3-point capturing staff ever.

Houston carried that momentum into the playoffs and took a 3-2 sequence lead over the big-four Warriors earlier than Paul blew out his hamstring. The Rockets infamously missed 27 consecutive triples in Sport 7, however there’s little doubt they’d have superior to the Finals had their second-best participant been on the courtroom. The staff defended higher this season than it had beforehand and appeared to lastly discover the stability of long-range capturing and ball motion. It simply wasn’t meant to be.

In opposition to a Cavaliers staff with out Kyrie Irving from its earlier Japanese Convention championship season, the Rockets would have simply beat them as Golden State did. Harden’s popularity would look solely totally different in the present day with a Finals MVP on his resume. Alas, he and Houston are nonetheless trying to find a successful method.

2. 1972-1973 Boston Celtics

(68-14, misplaced Japanese Convention Finals in Sport 7)

After Invoice Russell rode off into the sundown together with his 11th and ultimate title in 1969, the Celtics entered what is perhaps the quickest rebuild in league historical past. The franchise gained simply 34 video games in 1969-1970 and elevated its win complete in every of the following three seasons, peaking with a franchise-record 68 wins in 1972-1973.

John Havlicek, Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White are perhaps the very best big-three you’ve by no means heard of. All three are Corridor of Famers and averaged practically 20 factors every this season. They anchored the NBA’s finest protection, stayed wholesome all through the common season and had improbable chemistry with each other.

Had this Celtics staff gained the title, they’d be thought to be among the finest groups of all time. Why you’ve in all probability by no means heard of them is as a result of they misplaced to the eventual champion New York Knicks in seven video games within the Japanese Convention Finals, and nearly no person remembers a runner-up from the early-1970s NBA. The groups cut up the primary two video games, however in a Sport Three Celtics loss, Havlicek injured his shoulder. He missed the following sport, got here off the bench within the ultimate three contests and by no means fairly appeared the identical. Had its finest participant stayed wholesome, Boston doubtless wins and isn’t forgotten.

Nonetheless, they gave New York all it might deal with, however the Knicks punctured Boston’s seemingly impenetrable protection and had six gamers common double-digit factors for the sequence. The Celtics obtained revenge the following 12 months, nonetheless, beating the Knicks in 5 video games after which successful the title over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Bucks.

1. 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors

(73-9, misplaced NBA Finals in Sport 7)

Surprisingly, you can argue that the winningest regular-season staff in NBA historical past truly isn’t the very best staff to by no means win a championship. The 2015-2016 Warriors have been among the finest and most selfless offenses of all time but discovered themselves down 3-1 to the Thunder within the Western Convention Finals earlier than blowing a 3-1 lead of their very own within the subsequent spherical, which ought to show that they have been extra susceptible than another groups on this record.

What folks neglect, nonetheless, is that back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry wasn’t absolutely wholesome all through these playoffs. Between an ankle damage in spherical one and a knee damage in spherical two, the purpose didn’t even play 4 full video games earlier than the convention finals. He had robust moments in that sequence in opposition to Oklahoma Metropolis however didn’t look himself within the Finals in opposition to Cleveland, averaging simply 22.6 factors per sport.

Had Curry been utterly himself, James in all probability doesn’t carry that legendary title to Cleveland. This iteration of Golden State epitomized the best way staff basketball is performed and revolutionized the significance of the 3-pointer. In the event that they gained the Finals, it’d be onerous to argue in opposition to them being the best staff in league historical past. As a substitute, they’re seen as basketball’s greatest chokers.

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