Basketball and the NBA are a sporting powerhouse that ranks second in the world of all organised sport. As such, an NBA franchise often enjoys clothing lines and online games, to celebrate the greatness of the team and appeal to those fans who are devoted. While most teams enjoy the respect of their fans, few teams rise above the fray to be universally considered among the greatest of all time. Here we explore which teams deserve this elevated position in the NBA.
1995-96 Chicago Bulls
The top team in NBA history has to be the Chicago Bulls led by the great Michael Jordan in 1995 – 96 season. The squad had a record of 72 – 10 in the main season and then 15 – 3 in the play-offs – just an insane level to play at over a season. Jordan himself offered more than 30 points per game as an average – but then there was Scottie Pippen and Denis Rodman that made a great team immortal. If you were to rank all NBA players at this time, it is likely that you’d say the Bulls had at least two of the top five.
2016 -17 Golden State Warriors
While it is hard to get close to this Bull’s squad, the Golden State Warriors came close with the top-end talent on show. You might argue it is so close they tip over the edge into being the best, but this is a dinner table discussion for NBA superfans.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all together in one squad – then add the MVP level ability of Kevin Durant to add that little boost. In this 16 – 17 season, the Warriors went 67 – 15 in the season and then 16 – 1 in the playoffs. .
1971-72 LA Lakers
But hang on a minute… what about a squad that has four different hall of fame inductees in its locker room? Put together the talents of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich – and you are looking at an astonishing level of talent on show. With a record of 69 – 13 and 12 – 3 in this season, they are clearly in the running for a greatest of all time tag. While Chamberlain was not at his prolific best this season, he was still a talent worth watching and brought home an average of 15 points per game.
1985-86 Boston Celtics
As with the Lakers, there are plenty of Celtics we could have chosen – it is a franchise that often hits the top spot. However, this was the squad filled with talent such as Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton. In the regular season they enjoyed a record of 67 – 15 – with 40 – 1 in home games. They were a team that made themselves tough to beat and were an unhappy place to visit for all teams this season.
1996-97 Chicago Bulls
So, sure this is just about the same squad as the team from the previously named season – but this group of players dominated for much of the 90s. Jordan and Phippen were on fire this season.
1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers
While Chamberlain may have lost some of his shine when he played with the Lakers in 71 – 72, he was at his absolute best in this season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 24.1 points per game – and this was a time when he wasn’t picked for his scoring. There were a total of four hall-of-famers in the squad with Costello, Greer and Walker in the starting lineup alongside Chamberlain. Any team turning up must have been awed by this talent on show.
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
The franchise was only three seasons old by this point but they hit the ground running. The squad included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson – two hall-of-famers – as well as strength and depth from the bench.
1986 – 87 LA Lakers
The Lakers are a dominant franchise in NBA history, and it is not surprising that a new generation of Laker players came together to be considered as the greatest of all time. This squad has some of the best coaches paired with Kareen, Thompson, Johnson and Worthy. No wonder this team was considered unbeatable. They topped the offensive metrics and came 7th for defense, which is a clear recipe for huge success.
1998-99 San Antonio Spurs
This was the lockout season, so we will never know the full potential of this squad. However, on paper, with Coach Popovich and players Duncan and Robinson – they would have figures that equalled the best of the best. While offensively, they were no more than middle of the table, they averaged only 84.7 points per game on the opposition scoreboard. With that wall in place, they were clearly hard to beat.
2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers
Phil JAckson took his record of success with the Bulls and did some excellent work shaping the LA LAkers into a team worthy of note. He had the advantage of two of the best players of all time on the squad, with Bryand and Shaq. Add to this bright star talent the solid capacity of Fisher, Grant and Fox, and it is easy to see why they took the Championship this season.