Top 10 Best NBA Teams of All Time Rankings
Ranking the greatest basketball teams in the history of the NBA
The history of the NBA is as rich and glorified as any of the professional sports leagues within the United States as well as around the World. With this rich and glorified history the NBA has provided the storybooks and their fans a long list of exciting teams over the years from the dynamic Boston Celtics built with Bill Russell to the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s built with Michael Jordan to the Los Angeles Lakers teams of the 1980’s with Magic Johnson to the late Lakers teams of the early 2000’s with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal to the dynamic Golden State Warriors led by Steph Curry.
Throughout the history of the NBA the game has been blessed with these teams as well as many other great teams. The big debate between fans, basketball experts and historians is which NBA team over the years is the best of All-Time and which teams are deserving of a spot on the Top 10 NBA Teams All-Time list? With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 NBA Teams All-Time.
Boston Celtics (2007-2008) & Detroit Pistons (1988-1989)
For these two teams they could have easily made themselves into the top 10 as well as a few other teams that could be debated. Unfortunately only 10 teams could make the list making it difficult for these two great teams to land within them. The Pistons would go on to post a 63-19 regular series during the regular season before going 15-2 during the playoffs including sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in four games during the NBA Finals. The team was led by a long list of key performers including John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.
Meanwhile the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics were led by their big three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The Celtics would win 66 of 82 games during the regular season before knocking off the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship.
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Top 10 NBA Teams
Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1971)
Landing at number 10 on the Top 10 NBA Teams All-Time is the 1970-1971 Milwaukee Bucks after a strong regular season record of 66-16 and NBA Championship. The Bucks were led by Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson as well as Bob Dandridge and Jon McGlocklin. Alcinder would average 31.7 points a game and 16 rebounds en route to the NBA MVP Award.
The team also saw Robertson (19.4 ppg), Dandridge (18.4 ppg), McGlocklin (15.8 ppg) and Greg Smith (11.7) all average double digits for the season. The Bucks would go on to go 12-2 during the playoffs including sweeping the Baltimore Bullets to win the NBA Championship.
Chicago Bulls (1991-1992)
It is hard to pick just one or two of the Chicago Bulls teams from the 90’s after winning all NBA Finals that Michael Jordan appeared in. After winning the NBA Finals the previous season, this Bulls team lived up to the hype winning 67 of 82 games during the regular season to finish with the best record in the NBA while Jordan took home his second straight NBA MVP Award.
After a strong regular season, the Bulls dominated during the playoffs sweeping the Miami Heat to open up the playoffs before knocking off the New York Knicks in seven and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games before needing six games to knock off the Portland Trail Blazers. Jordan would carry the load in the playoffs averaging 34.5 points a game while averaging 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest.
Golden State Warriors (2016-2017)
This Golden State Warriors team posted arguably the best postseason run in the history of the NBA going 16-1 during the post season including taking home the NBA Championship. With the big three of Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green at the helm the team would finish with a 67-15 overall record during the regular season before dominating in the playoffs including a record 15-0 start before eventually losing one game. In addition this team featured the likes of Kevin Durant who would lead the team during the playoffs averaging 28.5 points a game to go with eight rebounds while Curry added 28.1 points and 6.7 assists.
For many this Warriors team may rank as their best but it is hard to look past the season of the 2015-16 team. Durant’s strong play earned him the NBA Finals MVP Award and the strong play of Green earned him Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2001)
The Los Angeles Lakers have put together some of the greatest teams in the history of the NBA and the 2000-2001 team was one of their best led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. This dynamic duo was as good as any one-two punch in the history of the NBA and it paved the way for the team to win three straight NBA Championships.
Prior to the start of the season the team added veterans Horace Grant and Isaiah Rider to add depth to a roster that also featured Brian Shaw, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher and Tyronn Lue. The Laker would go on to post a 56-26 record during the regular season before posting a 15-1 record during the NBA Playoffs including winning four of five against the Philadelphia 76ers to win the NBA Championship. O’Neal would average 30.4 points during the playoffs with 15.4 rebounds while Bryant added 29.4 points per game and 6.1 assists.
Philadelphia 76ers (1982-1983)
One great team that tends to get overlooked is the 1982-1983 Philadelphia 76ers team that finished off the season with a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship. After losing the 1981-1982 NBA Finals to the Lakers, the team would get its revenge the following season. After that season the team acquired Moses Malone to pair him up with Julius Irving, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones. The move paid off as the team would win the NBA Championship.
The 76ers would go on to post a 65-17 record during the regular season led by the strong play of Malone who would take home the NBA MVP Award. During the playoffs the 76ers were nearly unbeatable winning 12 of the 13 contests including the four games in the NBA Finals while Moses Malone took home the NBA Finals MVP Award.
Boston Celtics (1985-1986)
The Boston Celtics was one of the best teams of the 1980’s and have been one of the best teams in the history of the NBA. While the team had many great teams, the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics were as dominant as any team in the history of the NBA. The team would go on to post a 67-15 record during the regular season led by the team's big three of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. Along with those three, the team had Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge who both played a key role on this team while averaging double figure points during the regular season. Larry Bird would go on to win the NBA MVP Award, the NBA Finals MVP Award and the Player of the Year Award while averaging 25.8 points during the regular season and 25.9 points a game during the playoffs.
The Celtics would go on to sweep the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls before knocking off the Atlanta Hawks in five games and the Milwaukee Bucks in a four game sweep before knocking off the Houston Rockets in six games to win the Championship.
Los Angeles Lakers (1971-1972)
History has to start somewhere and this is the case for the Los Angeles Lakers storied history as they posted their first NBA championship as the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1971-1972 NBA Season. The Lakers were loaded with talent including the great Wilt Chamberlain as well as Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West.
The Lakers would roll during the regular season setting the record for the best record in the NBA at 69-13 a record that would eventually be broken by both the Warriors and Bulls teams on this list. Chamberlain would average 14.8 points and 19.2 rebounds during the regular season while West averaged 25.8 points and 9.7 assists per game. In the playoffs, the Lakers would need only five games to knock off the New York Knicks en route to the NBA Championship.
Golden State Warriors (2015-2016)
If not for failing to win the NBA Championship, the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors team may have ended up at the top spot after breaking the Chicago Bulls record for the best regular season mark. The Warriors would go on to post a 73-9 record during the regular season led by the NBA MVP Steph Curry and Coach of the Year Steve Kerr. In addition to Curry, the Warriors featured two additional dynamic players in the likes of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Thompson and Curry formed the dynamic splash brother’s tandem who could shoot as well as any player in the NBA while Green was tremendous on both ends of the floor.
Over the course of the year, this team set a long list of records including starting the season with 24 straight wins, the longest home winning streak, the most three pointers during the regular season and the most three pointers made in the postseason. Unfortunately after running to the NBA Finals, the Warriors failed to secure a 3-1 series lead before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7.
Los Angeles Lakers (1986-1987)
One team that could make a run at the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls team is the 1986-1987 Los Angeles Lakers who would finish the regular season with a 65-17 mark landing the top spot in the Western Conference. The team was built around a storied group of greats including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Magic Johnson.
The Lakers would go on to sweep the opening round of the playoffs over the Denver Nuggets before needing five games to move onto the NBA Western Conference Finals before sweeping the Seattle SuperSonics to advance to the NBA Finals a series they would go on to win over the Boston Celtics. Johnson led the way from start to finish averaging 23.9 points a game to go along with 12.2 assists and 6.3 rebounds winning the regular season NBA MVP Award as well as the NBA Finals MVP Award. In addition to those greats, Michael Cooper won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Chicago Bulls (1995-1996)
The greatest NBA team of All-Time is a difficult one to crown but in the end the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls land at the top of the list. The Bulls were led by five time NBA MVP Michael Jordan and one of the greatest small forwards of All-Time Scottie Pippen. Along with those two greats, the Bulls added key veterans Dennis Rodman, Randy Brown and John Salley to go along with the likes of Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper and Luc Longley. With this roster the Bulls would go on to become the first team in NBA history to win 70 games (72-10) en route to the NBA Finals and the team's fourth NBA Championship over a six year span while Jordan finished with his fourth NBA Finals MVP award.
The path to the Championship included a three game sweep of the Miami Heat, a 4-1 record against the New York Knicks and a four game sweep of the Orlando Magic before defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in six games.
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