SLAM’s TOP 75 NBA Teams of All Time List: No. 54-44


This week, SLAM is unveiling our TOP 75 NBA Groups of All Time checklist that solely ran in our particular concern, SLAM Presents TOP 75 NBA Groups of All Time. This checklist is comprised of the perfect 75 particular person season groups that dominated whoever it was they had been taking part in in opposition to.

We’re gonna hold it actual although: this checklist was fairly robust to place collectively. It was principally guided by the concept that the best way to measure the true high quality of a staff is to consider how significantly better they had been than everybody else they performed in opposition to. Some first rate staff within the 2000s would nearly undoubtedly destroy a superb staff from the ’70s if we teleported all the gamers into the identical dimension and allow them to go at it, however that’s not how this works. That is about dominating your period. Learn right here for No. 75-66, and 65-55.

Right here’s our prime 55-44 greatest groups of all time:


54. 1978-79 Seattle Supersonics

Coach: Lenny Wilkens

Document: 52-30

Roster: Dennis Awtrey, Fred Brown, Lars Hansen, Joe Hassett, Dennis Johnson, John Johnson, Tom LaGarde, Jackie Robinson, Lonnie Shelton, Jack Sikma, Paul Silas, Dick Snyder, Wally Walker, Gus Williams

For the best staff in franchise historical past, it was all about stability. Seven gamers averaged double-figures for Seattle in ’78-79, led by the high-powered younger backcourt duo of Gus Williams (19.2 ppg) and Dennis Johnson (15.9 ppg), whereas second-year large man Jack Sikma held it down within the paint to the tune of 15.6 and 12.4 per sport. The Sonics rode that younger core to the Finals, the place they dropped the sequence opener in Washington earlier than taking 4 straight from the Bullets.

53. 1974-75 Golden State Warriors

Coach: Al Attles

Document: 48-34

Roster: Rick Barry, Butch Beard, Steve Bracey, Invoice Bridges, Derrek Dickey, Charles Dudley, Charles Johnson, George Johnson, Frank Kendrick, Jeff Mullins, Clifford Ray, Phil Smith, Jamaal Wilkes

Rick Barry led the NBA in free-throw proportion and steals in ’74-75, League-leading numbers
to go together with an informal 30.6 ppg, 6.2 apg and 5.7 rpg. The Dubs had been strong, with silky-smooth rookie Jamaal Wilkes averaging 14.2 ppg and a gradual backcourt pairing of Butch Beard and Charles Johnson. However it was Barry, a decade right into a spectacular profession, who carried Golden State to a Finals sweep of the Bullets for the franchise’s first championship since relocating to the Bay.

52. 1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers

Coach: Pat Riley

Document: 62-20

Roster: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tony Campbell, Michael Cooper, AC Inexperienced, Magic Johnson, Jeff Lamp, Wes Matthews, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, Mike Smrek, Billy Thompson, Mychal Thompson, Ray Tolbert, Milt Wagner, James Worthy

It had been 19 years since an NBA champion efficiently defended its title, so when Pat Riley assured his Lakers would just do that after the ’87 Finals, the stress was on. If not for Isiah Thomas’ injured ankle, Detroit might need made Riley a liar, however don’t inform a Laker fan that the final title of the Showtime period was a fluke. James Worthy confirmed his Corridor of Fame bona fides with a 36-point triple-double in Sport 7 to make sure his coach’s assure held up.

51. 2020-21 Milwaukee Bucks

Coach: Mike Budenholzer

Document: 46-26

Roster: Jaylen Adams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, DJ Augustin, Elijah Bryant, Pat Connaughton, Torrey Craig, Mamadi Diakite, Donte DiVincenzo, Bryn Forbes, Jrue Vacation, Justin Jackson, Rodions Kurucs, Brook Lopez, Sam Merrill, Khris Middleton, Jordan Nwora, Bobby Portis, Jeff Teague, Axel Toupane, PJ Tucker, DJ Wilson

You may concentrate on the pandemic-shortened schedule, or the location of Kevin Durant’s toe, however as time passes, what individuals will keep in mind in regards to the ’20-21 season will principally come down to 1 dude: Giannis. A two-time League MVP who nonetheless confronted skeptics who stated he couldn’t produce when it mattered most, Antetokounmpo did simply that, first in opposition to KD and the Nets (31.9 ppg, 12.9 rpg) in a seven-game Jap Convention Semifinal thriller, then much more impressively in opposition to the Suns (35.2, 13.2) within the Finals.

50. 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers

Coach: Phil Jackson

Document: 57-25

Roster: Ron Artest, Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Lamar Odom, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton

It was Kobe’s staff, however even prime Kobe knew he couldn’t do it alone. In 2010, with a title to defend and a matchup with the hated Celtics within the Finals, the Lakers’ star as soon as once more relied on the stability of Pau Gasol (18.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg), and acquired invaluable protection and clutch play from a resurgent Ron Artest. “Kobe handed me the ball!” the person now generally known as Metta Sandiford-Artest stated after hitting a title-sealing three late in Sport 7. Each Laker fan shared his pleasure.

49. 1973-74 Boston Celtics

Coach: Tom Heinsohn

Document: 56-26

Roster: Don Chaney, Dave Cowens, Steve Downing, Hank Finkel, Phil Hankinson, John Havlicek, Steve Kuberski, Don Nelson, Paul Silas, Paul Westphal, Jo Jo White, Artwork Williams

Russell and Cousy had been retired, Purple Auerbach was now not on the bench, and it had been 5 lengthy years because the Celtics final hung a banner from the Backyard rafters. However with John Havlicek (22.6 ppg) nonetheless round and younger Dave Cowens (19 ppg, 15.7 rpg) already trying like a future Corridor of Famer, Boston determined 5 years was lengthy sufficient. They wanted seven video games to take down Kareem, Oscar and the Bucks, however quickly sufficient, Purple was lighting that stogie as soon as once more.

48. 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks

Coach: Rick Carlisle

Document: 57-25

Roster: Alexis Ajinca, JJ Barea, Rodrigue Beaubois, Corey Brewer, Caron Butler, Brian Cardinal, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, Dominique Jones, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Shawn Marion, Steve Novak, Dirk Nowitzki, Sasha Pavlovic, DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry

There was nonetheless a way that calling Dirk Nowitzki “the best European participant of all time” was kind of a diss. No person doubted his manufacturing, however loads of individuals questioned whether or not he may very well be that dude when it mattered. All questions had been answered that June: With assist from a veteran supporting solid that included Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and 37-year-old Jason Kidd, Dirk averaged 26 factors and 9.7 rebounds within the Finals to dispatch the Heatles and ensure his spot among the many all-time greats.

47. 2005-06 Miami Warmth

Coach: Stan Van Gundy, Pat Riley

Document: 52-30

Roster: Derek Anderson, Shandon Anderson, Earl Barron, Michael Doleac, Gerald Fitch, Udonis Haslem, Jason Kapono, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, James Posey, Wayne Simien, Dwyane Wade, Antoine Walker, Matt Walsh, Jason Williams, Dorell Wright

A decade dominated by the Lakers and Spurs didn’t depart a lot room for Jap Convention contenders, however in ’06, a Miami staff loaded with unfastened elements and a wild array of past-their-prime big-name vets coalesced round a dynamic third-year guard from Marquette. Certain, Dwyane Wade benefitted from some pleasant officiating in a Finals matchup that Dirk and the Mavs are most likely nonetheless mad about, however principally, Flash earned what he acquired in main the Warmth out of a 0-2 Finals gap and on to the title.

46. 2003-04 Detroit Pistons

Coach: Larry Brown

Document: 54-28

Roster: Chucky Atkins, Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell, Hubert Davis, Tremaine Fowlkes, Darvin Ham, Richard Hamilton, Lindsey Hunter, Mike James, Darko Milicic, Mehmet Okur,  Tayshaun Prince, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Corliss Williamson

Larry Brown talked on a regular basis about taking part in basketball “the best manner,” however he had by no means
received a title till the Pistons hit the League with their stifling protection. Certain, Richard Hamilton was a potent scorer, Chauncey Billups was good all 12 months (particularly within the Finals win over the Lakers) and the mid-year arrival of Rasheed Wallace was enormous. However the embodiment of Detroit was lunch-pail heart Ben Wallace, whose relentless method keyed a championship.

45. 1998-99 San Antonio Spurs

Coach: Gregg Popovich

Document: 37-13

Roster: Antonio Daniels, Tim Duncan, Mario Elie, Sean Elliott, Andrew Gaze, Jaren Jackson, Avery Johnson, Steve Kerr, Jerome Kersey, Gerard King, Will Perdue, David Robinson, Malik Rose, Brandon Williams

It was the post-Bulls period and a lockout-shortened season, however the Spurs had been ascendant. Their first championship staff featured the Tim Duncan-David Robinson inside axis, one of many few instances a twin towers configuration had loved supreme success. Avery Johnson ran the staff, Mario Elie hit large pictures and locked down opposing excessive scorers, whereas Sean Elliott was a do-everything sort who slot in completely. The Spurs misplaced simply two video games your complete postseason.

44. 1994-95 Houston Rockets

Coach: Ruddy Tomjanovich

Document: 47-35

Roster: Tim Breaux, Scott Brooks, Chucky Brown, Adrian Caldwell, Sam Cassell, Pete Chilcutt, Clyde Drexler, Mario Elie, Carl Herrera, Robert Horry, Charles Jones, Vernon Maxwell, Tracy Murray, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Zan Tabak, Otis Thorpe

If Houston’s ’94 title run was impressed, the ’95 model appeared unlikely to ever occur. The Rockets posted the NBA’s Tenth-best document and had been pushed to the gap of their first two playoff rounds. However one thing about matchups with arguably the opposite two greatest facilities within the League appeared simply what Hakeem Olajuwon wanted: He Dream-shook and dominated newly topped MVP David Robinson within the convention finals, then went for 32.8 and 11.5 to comb younger Shaq and the Magic for the title.


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Pictures by way of Getty Photographs.



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