The Best NBA Teams Of All Time
There are a lot of opinions out there on who the best NBA teams are of all time. To determine an accurate list, we took a look at each team’s accomplishments and weighed them against one another. After careful deliberation, we compiled our top 10 list of the best NBA teams. Keep reading to find out who made the cut!
10. 1998-99 San Antonio Spurs
Due to a lockout by NBA owners, the season was shortened to 50 games. That doesn’t take away from the Spurs’ 37-13 record, which projects 61 wins over an entire season. Led by superstars Tim Duncan and David Robinson, the Spurs also had key role players such as Sean Elliott, Mario Elie, Steve Kerr, and Jerome Kersey.
Duncan averaged 21.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, while Robinson added 15.8 points and ten rebounds. The Spurs took down the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and New York Knicks to win the first title in franchise history.
9. 1966-1967 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
This team was once known as the greatest team of all time but still makes the top ten. Led by Wilt Chamberlain, the 76ers went 68-13 during the regular season. Shooting guard Hal Greer and forward Billy Cunningham were other stars on this team that took down the Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics, and San Francisco Warriors in six the NBA Finals. Chamberlain averaged 21.7 points and 29.1 rebounds for the 76ers first title.
8. 2000-01 LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The Lakers won 56 games in the regular season and 16-1 in the playoffs, led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The team also had great role players in Derrick Fisher, Rick Fox, and Horace Grant. Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson led the 2000-01 Lakers. Their relatively weak competition in the playoffs has this team lower on the list had they defeated some juggernauts on the way to their title.
7. 2015-2016 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Although this team won under 60 games and didn’t dominate like other teams on this list, the Cavaliers make a list due to taking down the Warriors, who were favorites in the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers had plenty of talent in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love.
Beating the Warriors, who set a regular season record with 73 wins, could be the biggest accomplishment and upset in league history. Although one of only two teams on this list with under 60 regular season wins, you can’t overlook what they did in the finals.
6. 1990-91 CHICAGO BULLS
The 1990-91 were led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who came into his own this season. The team took down the Detroit Pistons for Michael Jordan’s first three straight rings and six overall. After winning 61 games during the regular season, the Bulls cruised through the playoffs, losing only two games.
Although not a formidable roster beyond Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls had enough solid role players and a great coaching scheme to make it work for them.
5. 1971-72 LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The most impressive part of this team might not be the 69 wins but the 33-game winning streak, which is the longest in the history of the NBA. This team was loaded with talent, which included Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim McMillan, and 37-year-old Elgin Baylor.
Impressively, the Lakers took down the Milwaukee Bucks featuring Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. This team checks all the boxes for greatness and deserves a top-five spot.
4. 1985-86 BOSTON CELTICS
A dynasty during the 1980s, the 1985-86 Boston Celtics featured five players who ended up in the Hall of Fame. To win MVP, Larry Bird averaged 26 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists per game. Boston also featured the likes of Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, and Bill Walton.
The Celtics went 40-1 at home, which remains an NBA record. They won 67 regular season games and deserved a spot on this list, although they didn’t have a tough run through the playoffs.
3. 1970-71 MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Kareem Abdul Jabbar led the Bucks in his second season in the NBA, winning league MVP. The Bucks also featured Oscar Robertson, the top-rated defense, the NBA scoring champion, and a balanced attack with four other players in double-digit scoring.
Overall, the Bucks scored 66-16 in the regular season, losing only two games postseason. With Kareem and Robertson among the very top players in the history of the NBA, it’s a no-brainer to list this team as among the very best.
2. 2016-17 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
This team was loaded with All-Stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. They cruised through the regular season, winning 67 games and dominating in the postseason, winning 16 of 17 games. That record tied the 2000-01 Lakers for the best playoff record in the history of the NBA.
In addition to simply outscoring teams in a shootout, the Warriors of 2016-18 had one of the top defenses in the NBA. Perhaps their road through the playoffs wasn’t as daunting as some on the list, but there’s no doubting the unbelievable talent level at the top of this roster.
1. 1995-96 CHICAGO BULLS
There is nearly a unanimous decision that the 1995-96 Bulls is the top team in the history of the NBA. No NBA championship team won more games than this Bulls team. The top three players on the team were Jordan, Pippen, and Dennis Rodman and they were all playing excellent basketball, like a well-oiled machine. Toni Kukoc added significant scoring off the bench, and the team was stacked from top to bottom.
The 1995-96 Bulls were rated the top offensive and defensive team in the NBA. They were not threatened in the playoffs, dropping only three games. It’s easy to see why this team is ranked as the best in the history of the NBA.
There’s always room for debate when discussing the top teams in the history of the NBA. You could argue for many other teams over the last 50 years to make this list. That’s what’s great about sports, discussing and debating the best of the best.
One might wonder where the 73-win Golden State Warriors team is? They failed to win a title as great as they were in the regular season. Ultimately, isn’t that the goal? A great case can be made for all the teams on this list, one that I deem as the top ten teams in NBA history, starting with the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.