Top 5 NBA Teams To Never Win The Finals

By: Kevin Sinatra

April 16, 2020

Throughout history there have been many great teams, in every single sport, to never win a championship. In this article we will look at the best 5 single-season NBA teams to never win a championship. 

5. 2006-2007 Phoenix Suns

The ‘06-’07 Suns were a very underrated team. With a solid core of players consisting of reigning back-to-back MVP Steve Nash,  a prime Amar’e Stoudemeire, and a very talented Shawn Marion, along with role players such as Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Eddie House, many basketball fans often wonder how this team didn’t win a championship. Finishing 61-21 on the 2006-2007 season, the only force to stop this team from getting an NBA Championship was one of the games’ best dynasties in the San Antonio Spurs, who went on to knock out the Suns in only the 2nd round of the Western 

Conference Playoffs. The Spurs eventually went on to beat the Utah Jazz in the WCF and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, both teams in which many basketball fans speculate the Phoenix Suns would have defeated. 

4. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings 

Here lies another very talented NBA team that seems to slip through the cracks when talking about championship contenders throughout the years. Led by the duo of Mike Bibby and Chris Webber, the Kings also had a lot of depth consisting of sharp shooter Peja Stojakovic, dominant post defender Vlade Divac, and young talented wing players such as Hedo Turkoglu, Gerald Wallace, and Doug Christie. Many basketball fans at the time thought this team would for sure win a title, but running-into arguably the best duo the league has ever seen in Kobe and Shaq, the Kings found themselves on the wrong side of a devastating buzzer-beater by Robert Horry in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers went on to sweep the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals, a team that most basketball fans would assume the Kings would have beaten. 

3. 1997-1998 Utah Jazz

Arguably one the best teams to never win an NBA title, the '97-'98 Jazz were, at their time, “the team to beat.” Led by Hall of Fame duo John Stockton and Karl “The Mailman” Malone, these two were also accompanied by talented two-way player Jeff Hornacek, big man Greg Ostertag, and veteran Antoine Carr. Finishing 62-20 on the season, the Jazz flew through the Western Conference playoffs, giving themselves a chance to compete for an NBA Championship. Unfortunately for the Jazz, in the 1998 NBA Finals they found themselves on a date with the best dynasty the sport has ever seen, Micahel Jordan and his Bulls. After a very well-played Finals series, the Jazz eventually went on to find themselves on the wrong side of the 3-peat for the Bulls. 

2. 1984-1985 Boston Celtics 

As basketball fans, we know that the NBA in the 80’s pretty much consisted of two teams, the Celtics and the Lakers. The 1984-1985 season would prove no different. This Celtics team may have arguably been the best team the NBA has ever seen. With the “Big 3” of McHale, Parish, and Bird, and a surrounding cast consisting of guys such as Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, Rick Carlisle, M.L. Carr, and Cedric Maxwell, this team was locked and loaded for a Finals repeat. Finishing 63-19 on the season, it was clear that the Celtics would eventually find themselves matching up with rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, in the 1984 NBA Finals. As always, it was a very physical, gritty, and all-around very well-played series by both teams, but after a clutch shot by LA’s Magic Johnson late in Game 6 of the 1985 Finals, the Celtics found themselves falling to the Lakers 4-2. However, the Celtics would bounce back in the 1985-86 season and go on to win the 1986 Finals against the Houston Rockets. 

1. 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors

Most basketball fans would say that this is the best single-season team to never win a title. Despite their successes in the last 5 years, the Golden State Warriors have also had their ups and downs as well. After becoming the best single-season team ever, with a record of 73-9 for the 2015-2016 NBA season, the ‘16 Warriors pretty much seemed to be a lock to win the Finals for the second year in a row. Unfortunately things do not always work out as expected. With arguably the most lethal backcourt in NBA history, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as energy-bringing and lockdown defender Draymond Green, role players such as Harrison Barnes, Mo Speights, and Brandon Rush, with veterans such as Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, and Andrew Bogut, the Warriors had the most complete team the NBA had seen in quite a few years. After going 16-5 and breezing through the Western Conference Playoffs, the Warriors found themselves in another finals matchups with King James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. After going up 3-1 in the Finals and pretty much locking in another NBA title, that’s when things took a rough turn for the Warriors. After a Draymond Green suspension and a costly injury to big man Andrew Bogut, the Cavaliers eventually went on to force a Game 7, where a clutch late-game  LeBron James block and Kyrie Irving 3-pointer would secure the first NBA Championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers organization as well as one of the best comeback in modern day sports. 

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