There’s no better moment for any NBA team than to win a championship. As of this moment, twenty franchises can say they achieved that feat. The NBA is rich in history when it comes to talking about the greatness that NBA teams display during championship moments. In this piece, we’re going to be ranking the 10 greatest NBA teams of all time.
In 1996, the NBA celebrated their 50th anniversary by naming the Top 10 teams without ranking. These teams were chosen by the members of the media, who were regulars in reporting about the NBA.
For this article, let’s take a look back and rank the 10 greatest NBA teams of all time. It is difficult to rank them, given that some of them played in different eras. Because of this, we considered their achievements and the circumstances they faced during their time. Furthermore, we will also look into the defining moments of each team, which allowed them to become part of the greatest teams in the championship books.
10. 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers
Season Record: 57-25
Postseason Record: 16-5
Achievements: Number one seed in the Eastern Conference, The first and only team to comeback from a 1-3 deficit in a Finals series, Defeated the Golden State Warriors 4-3 in the NBA Finals to win the title, First and only championship for Cleveland Cavaliers franchise
Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had a chip on their shoulders, after they were dispatched by the Golden State Warriors in six games for the NBA Title in the previous season. Because of this, a championship remained elusive for the Cavaliers. In order to get back to the championship stage, there’s no doubt the Cavaliers took no chances and dominated the Eastern Conference, as they took the number one seed. Spearheaded by Lebron James and a healthier Kyrie Irving, the team averaged 104.3 points a game, while holding opposing teams to 98.3 points per game.
Lebron James had another dominant season posting averages of 25.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. His performance led him to become an All-Star Captain for that season and a Top 3 MVP candidate. On the other hand, Kyrie Irving had a healthier season, as he posted 19.6 points and 4.7 assists a game after getting hounded by a knee injury during the previous season. Kevin Love, a double-double machine, chipped in with 16.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The supporting cast also played a critical role in their winning season. The Cavaliers roster also included tenacious rebounder Tristan Thompson, stretch big man Channing Frye, spit-fire guard Iman Shumpert, defensive guard Matthew Dellavedova, and talented swingmen in Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith.
The dominance did not end there. Cleveland wanted to make a statement in the playoffs as well. Lebron James and the Cavaliers continued to prove they were kings of the Eastern Conference, as they swept the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds of the playoffs. They would go on to beat the Toronto Raptors in six games, as they took their place in the NBA Finals for the second straight season.
However, Cleveland would come face to face again with their tormentor. With a rematch against the Warriors led again by the All-Star trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Cavaliers looked like they were about to throw in the towel once again. Lebron James and the Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, as they fell into a 1-3 hole against the hot-shooting Golden State Warriors, the team that just broke the record for most wins in a season posting a winning record of 73 wins and only 9 losses.
However in unexpected fashion, the Cavaliers pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history by winning three straight games, as they beat the Warriors in a thrilling Game 7. In the final moments of Game 7, Lebron James made one of the biggest plays of his career when he blocked Andre Iguodala’s lay up in transition, which led to a dagger fade-away triple by Kyrie Irving.
Because of this great feat that no NBA other team has accomplished in history, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to win their first ever NBA Championship. Thus, they made a case to be placed in the Top 10 greatest NBA teams of all-time.
9. 2012-2013 Miami Heat
Season Record: 66-16
Postseason Record: 16-7
Achievements: Third longest winning streak in NBA history with 27, Became the first team since Chicago Bulls (‘98) to become 3-Peat Eastern Conference Champions, Handed the Spurs their first Finals series lost, Defeated San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in the NBA Finals to win their second straight championship (3rd overall)
Arguably one of the most stacked teams in history, the Miami Heat were coming off a championship after disposing Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. The Big Three, composed of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, were hungry for another championship ring. Aside from the three all stars, the Heat had a veteran laden bench that included sharp shooters Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis, James Jones, and Shane Battier. They also had a decent defensive frontline beefed up with Chris Andersen, Joel Anthony, and Juwan Howard. This was a complete team that completed the season in a dominant fashion, as they posted a 27 win-streak that was good for third longest in NBA history.
Aside from a dominant season, the Heat also made a mark in the playoffs. Miami made a statement by easily sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks and capitalizing on the absence of Derrick Rose as they outlasted the Chicago Bulls in five games. Later on, the Heat would have their hands full as they faced a highly motivated Pacers team that included Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert, and Lance Stephenson. The highly physical series turned the Pacers into a rival team, especially with Stephenson’s antics on full display such as his infamous act of blowing into Lebron’s ear. The Heat eventually showed their championship desire as they went on to beat the Pacers in Game 7 behind Lebron James’ 32 points.
The Finals series weren’t a walk in the park as well, especially when the Heat were up against a seasoned San Antonio Spurs coached by no other than Gregg Popovich. The Spurs were also spearheaded by the great trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili. Furthermore it was a team that also included a young defensive specialist in Kawhi Leonard and a deadeye streaky sniper in Danny Green.
The series was a back-and-forth affair especially with players from both sides dropping MVP-like performances. The highly intense match-up went on until Game 6 happened, which required an overtime session to decide a winner. In the fourth quarter, the Heat were down by three and needed to tie in order to stay alive in the series. Just when they were experiencing a broken play in the final seconds that didn’t allow them to buy a bucket, Chris Bosh got an offensive rebound off Lebron’s 3-point miss and immediately passed it to Ray Allen for a crucial corner three point shot that was arguably one of the biggest shots in Finals history. With that shot, it eventually gave the Heat the victory for that game and later on, a championship ring.
With this team, the Miami Heat franchise was able to have their second straight championship and third overall. Given the all-star power of this team and formidable supporting cast, there’s no doubt that they had the ability to make history by breaking records and winning a championship. As a result considering their achievements and roster composition, it should be enough to land this team at the 9th spot of the greatest teams in this list.
8. 1964-1965 Boston Celtics
Season Record: 62-18
Postseason Record: 8-4
Achievements: Number one team in the Eastern Division, Defeated Lakers 4-1 in the Finals, Won the 8th straight Championship for the franchise
The Boston Celtics have a rich history when it comes to winning championships as they lead the league with 17. If there is a team that can be considered one of the greatest, it would be this 1964-65 Boston Celtics team. They were officially declared as one of the Top 10 NBA Greatest Teams in 1996, so it is no surprise that they are also considered to be part of this list. Coached by Red Auerbach, the team was in the middle of its eight consecutive championship run at that time. It was a feared team at that time, as the Celtics were led by Sam Jones, John Havlicek, and the legendary Bill Russell. Those three players played a critical role in the Celtics’ dominant championship run.
During the regular season, John Havlicek averaged 18.3 points per game. On the other hand, Sam Jones took over in scoring as he made a career best 25.9 points per game. The legendary Bill Russell posted ridiculous numbers by averaging 14.1 points and an eye-popping 24.1 rebounds a game, which allowed him to lead the league for the second straight season.
The Celtics had a division semifinal bye, which allowed them to automatically punch a slot in the East Division Finals. Here, they had there hands full as they battled the Philadelphia 76ers, which were led by the great, Wilt Chamberlain. The series would go down as one of the all-time classics, as the Celtics went back and fort with The Sixers until Game 7. In the final seconds, Boston led Philadelphia by one point, 110-109 with Hal Greer about to inbound the ball for the Sixers’ potential winning play. John Havlicek would come out as the hero for the Celtics, as he deflected the inbound pass for a crucial steal that would seal the victory for the Celtics and help clinch a spot in the NBA Finals.
In the Finals, the Celtics dueled with the Los Angeles Lakers who were led by Hall of Famer, Jerry West. The Celtics capitalized on the Lakers, who lost Elgin Baylor to a knee injury. Boston simply dominated the Finals series as they averaged 123.4 points a game as a team, while showing top-tier defense by holding the Lakers to only 110.8 points per game. Eventually the Celtics claimed their championship after beating the Purple and Gold in five games.
Throughout the Finals series, Sam Jones led the team in scoring with 27.8 points per game. On the other hand, Bill Russell controlled the boards in a dominant fashion by averaging 25.0 per game, as he also scored 17.8 a game. John Havlicek continued to be a torn in the opposing team’s side as he chipped in 18.2 points per game. Other players that averaged in double figures were Satch Sanders, Tom Heinsohn, and K.C. Jones as they averaged 13.8, 11.4, 11.4 points per game respectively.
Because of their dominant performance as a team, there should be no question that they should have a spot in the top 10 NBA greatest teams of all time.
7. 1966-1967 Philadelphia 76ers
Season Record: 68-13
Postseason Record: 12-3
Achievements: Best start in the NBA History in 50 games (46-4), Number one in Eastern Division, Ended the Celtics’ championship dynasty by beating them 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, Defeated the San Francisco Warriors 4-2 for the championship, Second championship for the franchise
There is a saying that a good start is already half the success. There is no better team that manifested that better than the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers. Until today, there is still no other team that had a better start to their season than this edition of the Philadelphia Sixers. Led by Mr. 100, Wilt Chamberlain, the Sixers played like a well-oiled machine as they secured the top spot in the Eastern Division.
Wilt Chamberlain was the main leader of his team and a major double-double threat by averaging 24.1 points and 24.2 rebounds per game. On the other hand, Hal Greer and Chet Walker proved to be scoring threats as well the former contributing 22.1 points per game and the latter scoring 19.3 points per game. Other notable players included Billy Cunningham, Luke Jackson, and Wali Jones, as they also averaged in double figures in points with 18.5, 12.0, and 13.2 respectively. With these players in tow, the Sixers not only dominated the regular season as they also went on to make a statement in the playoffs.
The Sixers made easy work of the Cincinnati Royals by beating them three games to one in a best of five series. Afterwards, the Sixers faced their Eastern Division rival in the Boston Celtics. With Chamberlain and the Sixers motivated to dethrone the Champions, the Sixers took care of business by almost sweeping the Celtics as they won the series, 4-1. Chamberlain was said to be very dominant in the series, as he recorded an unofficial quadruple double in Game 1 against the Celtics. He posted 24 points, 32 rebounds, 12 assists, and 12 blocks. Unfortunately, it is worth noting that blocks and steals were unofficial by the league until 1972. However with the monumental victory over the Celtics, the Sixers were successful in dethroning the eight time defending champions.
With their morale soaring high as ever, the Sixers came out strong in the Finals by taking the first two games as it also included Wilt Chamberlain’s crucial block against the Nate Thurmond’s lay up in the final seconds and force an overtime period. However the Warriors, which were led by Rick Barry, would not go down without a fight as they took Games 3 and 5 from the Sixers. Although the Warriors tried to fight back, the championship desire of the Sixers were just too much to handle as they finished the series in six games.
Wilt Chamberlain was dominant in the Finals series, as he averaged 17.7 points and 28.5 rebounds. Hal Greer and Chet Walker continued to score as they averaged 26.0 and 23.3 points, respectively. Billy Cunningham chipped in with 19.7 points a game, while Luke Jackson gave a near double-double average of 9.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
The Sixers were simply a winning team throughout the season as they started strong and ended their campaign with a championship. In the process, they also knocked out the defending champions in the Celtics. Because of this, I believe they deserve a spot above the Celtics in the Top 10 greatest NBA teams of all time.
6. 1985-1986 Boston Celtics
Season Record: 67-15
Postseason Record: 15-3
Achievements: Record-holder for most wins at home with 40, Second most number of wins during the regular season in franchise history with 67, Defeated the Rockets 4-2 in the Finals to win the championship, Gave the franchise their 16th championship
The 1985-86 Boston Celtics were a team to be reckoned with. The team was spearheaded by its Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. Furthermore they were also supported by their Sixth Man, Bill Walton. Given their roster, they dominated the NBA season with ease, especially at home as they only suffered one lost in the Garden.
Larry Bird led the team in scoring and rebounding as he averaged 25.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. The remaining two players of the Big Three were also instrumental as McHale averaged 21.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while Parish contributed 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson would also chip in double digit averages with 10.7 points and 15.6 points, respectively.
Given how this team was well-rounded in terms size and scoring, it would not be a surprise on how they started the playoffs like a house on fire. The Boston Celtics were up against the Chicago Bulls that had a dangerous shooting guard in Michael Jordan. Jordan would set the most points in a single game by a player with 63 and almost pulled an upset against the heavily favored Celtics. However despite the scoring tenacity of the great Michael Jordan, Boston would weather the storm and sweep the Bulls in a three game series.
After dealing with the Bulls, the Celtics had to deal with the Hawks. The Hawks team were no match to the Celtics, with exception to Game 4. However in Game 5, Boston immediately put off the fire of the Hawks comeback, as they drubbed Atlanta 132-99. The Celtics dominated the Hawks, in an unforgettable fashion during the third quarter of this game. The tally for the third quarter was 36-6 in favor of Boston.
The Celtics would again bring out their brooms for the Eastern Conference Finals, as they swept the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were also no match for the Celtics, with the latter defeating them by an average margin of 15 points. All the games in the series resulted in blowouts with exception to Game 3, where the Celtics still emerged victorious, 111-107. With this, the Celtics had a clear shot for the championship.
Coming off a sweeping series win, the Celtics were highly to motivated to win the crown. With Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the way, the Celtics’ Big Three remained undaunted with his unmatched footwork and incredible size. Boston took advantage of their home court in the first two games as they emerged victorious. However, the Celtics would be stunned on the road when Houston escaped with a 106-104 victory. The Rockets would also eventually take Game 5, however, the Celtics denied the Rockets of a comeback and closed the series out on Game 6 with a 114-97 victory.
With Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics emerging as champions, there’s no doubt this is a team you would not want to face, especially in their home court. Because of this team’s ability to defend their home court and win a championship, it should be enough to place them 6th in the list.
5. 2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers
Season Record: 56-26
Postseason Record: 15-1
Achievements: Number one seed in Western Conference, One of two teams to almost go undefeated in the playoffs (Second-best playoff record), Beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in the NBA Finals, Gave the franchise its 13th championship
Speaking of dominance, the 2000-01 Lakers were coming off a championship from the previous season. However, that did not stop them from going for another. In the middle of their three-peat, the Lakers, led by the unstoppable duo of Shaquille O’Neal and a young Kobe Bryant, unstoppable in the the playoffs. Although they did not make the top team in the Western Conference during the season, the Lakers who were coached by Phil Jackson, displayed ultimate dominance in the postseason, as they went undefeated in their trip to the finals.
During their run in the playoffs, Shaquille O’Neal was the main contributor as he easily averaged a double-double with 30.4 points and 15.4 rebounds a game, where he would be named Finals MVP. On the other hand, Kobe Bryant emerged to become a scoring threat and an effective partner to Shaq by averaging 29.4 points and 6.1 assists.
In the first round, Shaq and Kobe led the Lakers to a sweep at the expense of the Portland Trailblazers in three games. The Purple and Gold won by an average margin of 11.3 points against a team that had the likes of Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas Sabonis, and Shawn Kemp.
The Lakers continued their dominance in the second round against Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings that also had Vlade Divac, Hedo Türkoglu, and Peja Stojaković. Shaquille O’Neal came out of the gates on fire, as he registered two straight 40-20 games to take games one and two. Shaq had 44 points and 21 rebounds in Game 1 and had 43 points and 20 rebounds in Game 2. Kobe Bryant led the way in closing out the Kings in Game 4, as he had 48 points and 16 rebounds.
The dynamic duo would not stop there as they also did not flinch against the number one seed in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were led by David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Avery Johnson, and Steve Kerr. They were also coached by Gregg Popovich. Despite being a formidable contender, the Lakers still routed them with ease in four games which manifested the team’s sheer dominance in the postseason.
After doing away with the Spurs, the Lakers faced an Allen Iverson led Philadelphia 76ers. During the first game, the Lakers took their first loss at home in the postseason, as they fell in overtime 101-107. However, the Purple and Gold would bounce back in an empathic fashion as they won the next four straight games and finishing Iverson and the Sixers in five games for the coveted NBA Title.
This Lakers edition should be considered in the Top 5, given their sheer dominance in the postseason that has only been matched by one team until this day. I believe this team is one of the very few to beat the legitimate contenders of their era in a commanding manner. There’s no doubt why this Lakers team was feared during the early 2000’s, especially with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant at the disposal of Phil Jackson.
4. 1986-1987 Los Angeles Lakers
Season Record: 65-17
Postseason Record: 15-3
Achievements: Number one team in the Western Conference, Defeated the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the NBA Finals, Gave the franchise its 17th championship and 2nd straight
If there’s another Lakers team that should be in the Top 5, it should be the 1986-87 edition. This Lakers team is arguably the best in league history. Coached by Pat Riley, the team was led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. Its supporting cast included A.C. Green, Wes Matthews, and Mychal Thompson. With this, there’s no doubt that this is a stacked team and legitimate contender in its era, as they dominated the season by taking the the top spot in the Western Conference.
During the season, the team had seven players who averaged in double figures. The player who led them in scoring and assists was Magic Johnson. Standing at 6’9, Johnson had the size of a big man and playmaking ability of a point guard. He averaged 23.9 points, 12.2 assists, and 6.3 rebounds. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, despite his age during this time, was still effective in the paint. He still managed to average 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. James Worthy also took up the scoring responsibility, as he logged in 19.4 points per game. On the other hand Byron Scott, A.C. Green, Michael Cooper, and Mychal Thompson all averaged in double figures as well with 17.0, 10.8, 10.5, and 10.1 respectively.
Given their unmatched ability to run the fast break, which allowed them to be branded as Showtime, they were able to make a statement in the postseason. They first swept the Denver Nuggets in three games in dominant fashion as all games resulted in a blow out with the Lakers winning by an average margin of 27.3 points. Afterwards, the Lakers faced the Golden State Warriors, as they won all games with exception to Game 4. The Purple and Gold finished their counterparts in five games behind their balanced attack.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers also proved to be too dominant as they performed a clean sweep the Seattle Sonics in four games. Although the games were tighter, the Sonics just could not figure out how to stop the Showtime Lakers as they took the biggest loss in Game 4, being blown out by 31 points.
The Finals was a tougher journey for the Lakers as they were up against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. However, the Lakers showed how formidable they are as they kept in step with the seasoned Celtics. The Lakers took the first two games at home before they experienced a back-and-forth affair with the Celtics on the road. Game 4 was the tightest and most exciting game of the series as the Lakers managed to escape the Celtics in the latter’s home court by one point due to a timely hook shot made by Magic Johnson during the last moments of the game, as the games ended 107-106 in favor of the Lakers. The Lakers took home the trophy when they outlasted Boston in Game 6, as Magic Johnson brought home the NBA Season MVP and Finals MVP as well during that season.
As a result, give this team’s achievements and roster composition, this is arguably the best team in Lakers’ history and one of the greatest NBA teams we’ve ever seen in the league. This team was responsible for making the Lakers a fun team to watch and also a feared contender during their time. Because of this, they deserve to be placed in the fourth spot of this list.
3. 1991-1992 Chicago Bulls
Season Record: 67-15
Postseason Record: 15-7
Achievements: First in the league in terms Offensive Rating (115.5), Number one seed in the Eastern Conference, 37-5 start to the season, Defeated the Portland Trailblazers 4-2 in the NBA Finals for the championship, Gave the franchise its 2nd straight championship
If there is a team that preaches efficiency, the 91-92 Bulls should be on the top of your mind. Coached by Phil Jackson, this Bulls team was very deadly especially with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, and Bill Cartwright on board. In the hunt for a second straight title, this was a hungry Bulls team that was a class of its own in the Eastern Conference, as no other team came close to touching 60 in terms of wins for the season.
Michael Jordan led the way for the Bulls by averaging 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. His contributions were good enough to win the scoring title and to declare him an All-Star for that season. Alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen also played a crucial role by contributing 21.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists, as Pippen was also named to the All-Star team. Horace Brant was a vital cog as well for this Bulls team as he provided double-double averages of 14.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per outing.
With Jordan and the Bulls on the rise, the playoff teams were put on notice when Jordan put on a scoring spree against the Miami Heat. His Airness averaged 45.0 points in that series, including a 56 point output to sweep the Heat.
The Bulls would have their hands full when they faced a tough New York Knicks team that had the likes of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, and Tim McCormick. It was a back and forth affair between these two elite teams. The Knicks were able to steal one in Chicago and proved to be a tough contender on their homecourt. However, the Bulls’ championship desire proved to be too much for the Knicks as the latter were blown out by the Bulls in Game 7, 100-81. Michael Jordan had 42 points in that game, while Scottie Pippen had a triple double of 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
After a grueling seven game series against the Knicks, the Bulls faced a gritty Cavaliers team led by spitfire guard, Mark Price. As the second best team in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers proved to be a problem for the Bulls for Games 2 and 4. However the main trio of Bulls team were just too much for the Cavaliers as the series ended in six games in favor of the Bulls.
In the Finals, the Bulls took on a dangerous Portland Trailblazers that had Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, and Kevin Duckworth. The series started with Chicago and Portland trading wins with another. With what looked to be a series that would reach seven games, Michael Jordan and the Bulls would finish the Blazers in Game 6, where the Bulls were able to pull out a four point win, 97-93. Jordan would have a game high 33 points, which was enough to close out the series and hoist the coveted NBA trophy for the second straight year.
Given how this Bulls team was able to stand above the competition, this team deserves to be in the 3rd spot of this list. The trio of Jordan, Pippen, and Grant proved to be too much to handle for their opposing teams during their era.
2. 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors
Season Record: 67-15
Postseason Record: 16-1
Achievements: Best playoff record in NBA history, Number one seed in Western Conference, One of the two teams to win 30 road games in back to back seasons, Fastest team to clinch playoff berth, League leader in team points per game (115.9), Ranked 1st in Offensive Rating (115.6) Defeated the Cavaliers 4-1 in NBA Finals for the championship, Gave the franchise their 5th championship
Coming off a disappointing run in the previous season, the Warriors were eager as ever to bounce back and reclaim the NBA title and boy did this team did. The Warriors made some noise by signing All-Star forward, Kevin Durant from free agency which drew a lot of flak as it rocked the NBA world. With their current All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Kevin Durant Gave them another scoring option who can score pretty much anywhere. With a super team like this, there was no question that the rest of the league struggled to keep up. The Warriors led the league in scoring as a team, while also becoming the most efficient team during that season.
In the end of the regular season, the Warriors stood tall as the number one seed in the Western Conference. Three players from the team managed to average over 22 points. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and and Kevin Durant averaged 25.3, 22.3, and 25.1 respectively. Furthermore the all-around efforts of Draymond Green complimented these three stars perfectly as he put up numbers of 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists.
Throughout the season, this Warriors team ran through teams with their accurate and consistent sniping, while Draymond Green, Matt Barnes, Javale McGed and former Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala, went to work on the defensive end.
Kevin Durant and the Warriors carried over their dominance into the playoffs. They toyed with the Portland Trailblazers and easily swept them in four games. The Warriors shot a deadly 40% from deep throughout the series while shooting 48% overall. Golden State remained as lethal in the next round when they went up against the Utah Jazz. This Warriors team brought out their brooms once again sent their counterparts home in four games, with all of it resulting in double-digit margins.
The hot shooting Warriors eventually clashed with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. In Game 1 when it looked like the Spurs would win it, their counterparts came alive and clawed their way back from a 25 point deficit behind Stephen Curry’s 40 points. Afterwards, the Spurs had to endure the rest of the series without Kawhi Leonard due to an injury, as the Warriors went on to sweep the seasoned San Antonio Spurs in a commanding fashion.
The Warriors marched to the Finals undefeated in the postseason, however they came face to face once again with Eastern rival, Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the Warriors armed with Kevin Durant this time, the Cavaliers struggled and only managed to get one win in the series, which was the only loss that the Warriors suffered during the postseason. But despite that loss, the Warriors avoided a repeat of the previous season (losing the 3-1 lead) by finishing the Cavaliers in Game 5. Kevin Durant was named Finals MVP, but it was evident that there were also three other candidates that were worthy of the MVP trophy. This only goes to show how dominant this Warriors team was.
Therefore, this team can make a case to be the greatest NBA team of all time, given their star power, roster composition, and overall achievements. However for this list, we will rank them at second.
1.1995-1996 Chicago Bulls
Season Record: 72-10
Postseason Record: 15-3
Achievements: Second most number of wins in a regular season, First NBA team to win 70 games in the regular season, started 37-0 at home, Recorded a 44-game winning streak, Second most number of road wins (33), Only team to win 70 games in a season and win the championship, Eastern Conference champions, Defeated the Seattle Supersonics 4-2 in the NBA Finals, Gave the franchise its 4th NBA Championship
If there is any team that deserves the top spot in the greatest NBA teams of all time, it would be the ‘95-96 Chicago Bulls. This team showed complete mastery of the league by dominating the season and emerging as the overall champion in the league. The team was famously headlined by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. With Michael Jordan coming out of retirement and getting eliminated by the Orlando Magic during the previous season, the Bulls were more motivated than ever to relieve their 3-peat glory days.
Michael Jordan went on to give MVP numbers as he averaged 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. This was good enough to crown him as an All-Star and the league’s MVP. On the other hand, Scottie Pippen continued to be a terror in the wings as he contributed 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists which were good enough to name him in the All-Star team. Dennis Rodman was a rebounding machine as he grabbed 14.9 per outing. Another player that helped the Bulls was Toni Kukoč, a designated shooter from Croatia. Kukoč shot 40% from beyond the arc as he also averaged 13.1 points per game for the season.
With a complete team like the Bulls, they dominated the league and set the season record for most wins. As of now, it has only been broken by one team, which were the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors who made 73 wins. However there’s one important achievement that separates the ‘95-96 Bulls from the ‘15-16 Warriors which is a championship. Not only did the Bulls dominate the season, but they also took home the trophy. Here, Michael Jordan and the Bulls got their fourth championship.
Chicago opened the playoffs by sweeping the Miami Heat in three games. All the games in the series turned out to be lopsided, where the Heat succumbed to the Bulls by an average margin of 25.7 points. In the Conference Finals, the New York Knicks were also of no match to the Bulls as they conceded in five games. Later on, the Bulls would avenge their elimination in the previous season by sweeping the Orlando Magic that had a young and dominant, Shaquille O’Neal in the Conference Finals.
The Finals also saw the Bulls came out of the gates on fire. They dominated the Seattle Supersonics in the first three games. Falling to a 0-3 hole, the Supersonics didn’t back down as they took Games 4 & 5, which were held in their home court. However with the title just one win away from the Bulls, they immediately brushed off the Supersonics’ comeback attempt, as they outlasted Seattle in the United Center, 87-75 in Game 6.
With their achievements, there’s not a lot of teams that come close to the ‘95-96 Chicago Bulls when it comes to displaying their sheer dominance. This is the reason why they were also named to the Top 10 Greatest Teams during the NBA’s 50th Anniversary. Therefore, we believe their accomplishments as a team are enough to claim them as the greatest team we’ve ever seen in the NBA.