Every franchise has that one season that they will never forget about, in a good way. This season we’re referencing is the best record that the franchise has ever had. Of course, for the Chicago Bulls, it would be the 1995-96 season when they went 72-10 and then went on to win their fourth NBA Championship. Usually during these type of seasons, players have good chemistry with not only their teammates, but also with the coaching staff. They can also play selfish basketball when they rely on one player to take over the game, but sometimes that’s part of the game.
While some teams do rely on superstars to carry their teams, role players contribute a key part as well. In today’s game, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs took over the 2015-16 season. The Warriors have all-stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to lead them, with role players such as Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala helping them out. The Spurs, on the other hand, have all-stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, but don’t overly rely on them. They just play good team ball where everyone gets touches and plays as a unit. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is known for resting his players, but even when he rests his best players, the Spurs are a competitive team.
Most people know about the main teams success such as the Bulls, Warriors, Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics, but these are the best regular seasons of the other teams in the NBA.
2014-15 Atlanta Hawks (60-22)
The Atlanta Hawks accomplished a feat during the 2014-15 season that has only been done six other times, and that’s sending four players to an All-Star game. At the All-Star break, the Hawks had the best record in the Eastern Conference and sent Jeff Tegaue, Paul Milsap, Al Horford and Kyle Korver to the All-Star game. The Hawks went on to finish the season 60-22 for the best record in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the Hawks franchise. The Hawks made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1970, but got swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
1972-73 Boston Celtics (68-14)
With three All-Stars on their team in John Havlicek, Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White, the trio led the Boston Celtics to a NBA best record of 68-14. With one of the best records in NBA history, the Celtics wanted to win a championship after losing in the Conference Finals the previous season. The Celtics made it back to the Conference Finals against the team that knocked them out the previous season, the New York Knicks. Although the Celtics had the talent and skills, the Knicks had their number and beat them in a highly contested seven games. The Celtics got their revenge next season, winning their 13th NBA Championship.
2001-02 Brooklyn Nets (52-30)
The New Jersey Nets had missed the playoffs the past three seasons and needed some change ASAP. Led by All-Stars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, the Nets went a franchise best 52-30 on the season, good enough for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Nets did not stop there as they made it to the NBA Finals to face off against Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Nets had a great team, the Lakers had a better one, as they swept the Nets in four games. Back in their ABA days, the Nets actually went 58-26 (84 games) with a team that featured Julius Irving.
1996-97 Charlotte Hornets (54-28)
Before the start of the 1996-97, the Hornets had only made the playoffs twice in their franchise and were not really a threat to the other teams in the league. They shocked the league when they went 54-28, for their best record in franchise history. The Hornets were led by their only All-Star on the roster Glen Rice, but Rice could only do so much. The Hornets were swept by the New York Knicks in the first round, a disappointing end to a great season.
1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10)
Everybody knows about arguably the best team in NBA history, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. This team consisted of superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and great role players like Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and Ron Harper. The Bulls had the best NBA record in history for the past 30 years, until the Golden State Warriors did the unthinkable by winning 73 games in 2015/16. The Bulls went into the postseason with the confidence of a million men, only losing three games in the playoffs on their way to their fourth NBA Championship.
2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers (66-16)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were looking for their first NBA championship in their franchise history and superstar LeBron James was hoping to lead them to that promise land. Two seasons earlier, James led the Cavs to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, but they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. James did not want to go through that pain again and led the Cavs to a franchise best 66-16 record during the 2008-09 regular season. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, James and the Cavs swept the competition, making them seem like the favorites to win the championship. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs were upset by the Orlando Magic and lost in six games.
2006-07 Dallas Mavericks (67-15)
After accomplishing one of the biggest accomplishments in their franchise history by winning 67 games in regular season, they accomplished something in the playoffs that they never will forget. Led by All-Stars Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, the Mavericks entered the playoffs as the number one overall seed. In the first round of the playoffs, they faced off against the eighth seeded Golden State Warriors. The Warriors upset the Mavericks in six games in one of the biggest playoff upsets in NBA history. The Mavericks magical season, including Dirk Nowitzki winning the NBA MVP award, was not the storybook ending they were hoping for.
2012-13 Denver Nuggets (57-25)
We bet you thought they’d have their best record with Carmelo Anthony on the team, right? Wrong. The Nuggets of 2012/13 were just a really good team as a unit. This team had players such as Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faired, Evan Fournier and Andre Miller. The Nuggets season came to a end in the first round of the playoffs when they lost to a young Golden State Warriors team that consisted of a younger Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
2005-06 Detroit Pistons (64-18)
The Detroit Pistons finished the 2005-06 regular season with the best overall record in the NBA at 64-18 and became only one of seven teams in history to send four players to the All-Star game in a single season (Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton). The Four Horsemen led the team into the playoffs with high hopes for a championship. The Pistons were coming off two straight NBA Finals appearances and was looking to make it three in a row, but were stopped short by Dwyane Wade, Shaquillle O’Neal and the Miami Heat. The Pistons won an NBA championship two years prior, so although they were disappointed, it could have been worse.
2015-16 Golden State Warriors (73-9)
The chase for history is over as the Golden State Warriors broke a record that many thought would never be broken (the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record of 72-10). Led by the reigning and soon to be two-time MVP Stephen Curry and All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the Warriors have been playing lights out. The Warriors combination of fast-paced offense and lockdown defense has them looking to repeat for the NBA Championship in June. The Warriors are the favorites to win the championship this season, but beating the record may have tired them out, potentially opening the door for teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Can the Warriors truly follow in the Bulls footsteps by winning the championship too?
1993-94 Houston Rockets (58-24)
After winning three straight championships, Michael Jordan retired from the NBA. With Jordan out of the picture, the NBA Championship was up for grabs. The Houston Rockets knew this and took full advantage of it, by winning a franchise best 58 games during the regular season and finishing the season with the second best overall record. Led by All-Star and MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets made it to the NBA Finals for just the third time in franchise history. The Rockets faced off against the New York Knicks and beat them in seven games for their first championship in franchise history.
2003-04 Indiana Pacers (61-21)
The Indiana Pacers, led by All-Stars Jermaine O’Neal and Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), ended the 2003-04 regular season with the best overall record at 61-21. The Pacers entered the playoffs by winning 8 of 10 games in the first two rounds. They then met the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals for a chance to make the NBA Finals for only the second time in Pacers history. The Pacers came up short as they lost to the Pistons in six games. The Pacers did not make the Eastern Conference Finals again until nine years later, when they lost to the Miami Heat in seven games.
2013-14 Los Angeles Clippers (57-25)
When the Los Angeles Clippers acquired superstar point guard in Chris Paul in 2011, they knew their franchise would be changed forever. During the 2013-14 season, Paul with the help of All-Star Blake Griffin, led the Clippers to a franchise best record of 57-25, good for the third best record in a competitive Western Conference. In the playoffs, the Clippers knocked off the Golden State Warriors in the first round in seven games. Despite their season success, the Clippers could not hang with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing in six games.
1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (69-13)
The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 1971-72 regular season after going to three NBA Finals in four years, but had no championships to show for it. The Lakers needed a change and knew it. The Lakers had three All-Stars in Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich, who led the Lakers to their franchise best record of 69-13. The Lakers made it back to the NBA Finals for the fourth time in five seasons and were not going to be denied this time. The Lakers went on to beat the New York Knicks in five games to win their sixth championship (at the time).
2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies (56-26)
The Memphis Grizzlies had just one All-Star in Zach Randolph during the 2012-13 regular season, but that did not stop them from going 56-26 for the best record in Grizzlies’ history. The Grizzliers also had players such as Mike Conly, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay, who played major parts in their success. Despite a successful season, the Grizzlies had just the fifth best record in the Western Conference, but that did not stop them from fighting for a title. The Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder to reach the Western Conference Finals against the more experienced San Antonio Spurs, where they were swept. That was the Grizzlies only Conference Finals appearance in franchise history.
2012-13 Miami Heat (66-16)
When LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join their draft classmate in 2011, everyone knew that they would be successful. The Heat had just came off their first NBA Championship since 2006 after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The Heat were looking to defend their title after winning a franchise best 66 games. The Heat had some challenges after going to seven games with the Indiana Pacers in order to reach the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat were looking like they were going to lose in game six after being down 3-2 in the series, but thanks to a Bosh rebound and the biggest shot of Ray Allen’s career, the Heat won game six and eventually game seven to win back-to-back championships.
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (66-16)
In just their third season as a NBA franchise, the Milwaukee Bucks went 66-16, which has stood as their best record in franchise history for the past 45 years. The Bucks were led by Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and went into the playoffs with the best record by a mile. The Bucks went on the NBA Finals and swept the Washington Bullets, only losing two games in the entire NBA Playoffs for their first championship in history. Not only has their record not been broken in 45 years, but the Bucks also have not won an NBA Championship since.
2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves (58-24)
Behind MVP Kevin Garnett, the Minnesota Timberwolves went 58-24 for the best record in franchise history and in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves got past the first round of the playoffs by defeating the Denver Nuggets in five games. The T-Wolves did not stop there as they beat the Sacramento Kings in seven games to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their history. However, the more experienced Los Angeles Lakers were too much for the Timberwolves as they lost in six games. The Timberwolves have not been back to the playoffs since 2004 when they accomplished this milestone.
2007-08 New Orleans Pelicans (56-26)
Led by All-Stars Chris Paul and David West, the Hornets, as they were known at the time, went 56-26 for the second best record in the Western Conference and the best record in Pelicans history. The Hornets beat the Mavericks in five games in the first round of the playoffs for their first playoff victory, a milestone that still stand today. In the second round, the Hornets lost to the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. With the Western Conference getting tougher each season, the Pelicans need to get Anthony Davis some help if they ever expect to make it past the second round of the playoffs or compete for a championship.
1969-1970, 1992-93 New York Knicks (60-22)
The New York Knicks actually accomplished their best record in franchise history twice and in two different decades. The first time came during the 1969-70 regular season when the Knicks first went 60-22 behind All-Stars Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dave DeBusschere. The Knicks entered the postseason with the best record in the NBA and made sure the rest of the league knew it. The Knicks made it to the NBA Finals and beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games for their first championship.
When the Knicks accomplished this milestone in the 1992-93 season, they had the second best record in the league, but had the best record in the Eastern Conference. This Knicks team only consisted of one All-Star, Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing. The Knicks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals just like the 1969-70 team, but they had to face Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls beat the Knicks in six games, crushing their chances of another NBA championship.
1995-96 Oklahoma City Thunder (64-18)
Before the combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder name change, the Thunder were known as the Seattle SuperSonics and they were a pretty good team as well. All-Stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton led the SuperSonics to a 64-18 recond, which was second best in the league behind only the 72-10 Chicago Bulls, foreshadowing the end to the SuperSonics season. The SuperSonics made it to the NBA Finals for the third time at this point, but fell to arguably the best team in NBA history in Jordan and the Bulls.
1995-96 Orlando Magic (60-22)
The Orlando Magic knew they had something going with the duo of stars Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal, and they were absolutely right. The duo led them to 60 wins, which is still the best record in franchise history 20 years later. The Magic entered the playoffs with the second best record in the Eastern Conference. After just losing one game in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Magic met the Chicago Bulls in one of the most anticipated playoff matchups of all time. The Bulls were not playing around as they swept the Magic with no regards, crushing the Magic’s dreams of winning their first NBA championship. The Magic are still one of 13 teams to not have won a championship.
1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers (68-13)
When most people see the record of 68-13, they might think there was a mistake. However, back in the late 60s, the NBA only had 81 games instead of 82. The 76ers were led by All-Stars Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Chet Walker for the best record in the league. These stars led them to the NBA Finals against the San Francisco Warriors, which they won in six games for their second championship in franchise history (at the time).
1992-93, 2004-05 Phoenix Suns (62-20)
Similar to the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns accomplished their best franchise record twice. During the 1992-93 season, when the Suns went 62-20 for the first time, they were led by Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle. They also had players like Kevin Johnson and Danny Ainge to help out as well. The Suns went into the playoffs with the number one overall seed and were the favorites to win the title. They went through the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and the Seattle SuperSonics in order to reach the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls beat the Suns in six games to complete their three-peat.
Their second 62-20 season came during the 2004-05 season, when the Suns had three All-Stars in Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and MVP Steve Nash. The Suns had the best record in the league and were favorites to win their first NBA championship in franchise history. The Suns made it to the Western Conference Finals like the ’92-’93 team, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
1990-91 Portland Trail Blazers (63-19)
The Portland Trail Blazers had just come off a heartbreaking season in which they lost in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons. The Blazers came back with a vengeance on the entire league, finishing the season with a league and franchise best record of 63-19. The Blazers went into the postseason led by All-Stars Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler and Kevin Duckworth. The Blazers made it to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight year, but heartbreak struck twice as they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
2001-02 Sacramento Kings (61-21)
The Sacramento Kings were coming off a disappointing season in which they got swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. The next season, with All-Stars Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic leading the way, the Kings posted a franchise best of 61 wins. With players such as Mike Bibby, Doug Christie, Vlade Divac and Bobby Jackson helping out, the Kings were looking better then ever. In the playoffs, sadly, the Lakers crushed the Kings dreams again by beating them in seven games in the Conference Finals.
2015-16 San Antonio Spurs (67-15)
With the Golden State Warriors making history by going 73-9, the San Antonio Spurs having a franchise best of 67 wins this season was overshadowed. The Spurs were led by All-Stars Kwahi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, but also had pieces such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, David West, Danny Green and Boris Diaw. They also have the brilliant mind of head coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs are the best team of the last decade and now they are getting better? The Spurs are the favorites to stop the Warriors winning back-to-back championships.
2015-16 Toronto Raptors (56-26)
The Toronto Raptors had two All-Stars on their roster at the same time for the first time in franchise history with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. These two have helped the Raptors to the second best record in the Eastern Conference, though they’ve sturggled in the postseason. The Raptors have great role players in Patrick Patterson, Jonas Valanciunas, and Terrence Ross and have a good shot at making the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
1996-97 Utah Jazz (64-18)
Michael Jordan came out of retirement prior to the 1996-96 season and won a championship in his first season back. The Utah Jazz were knocked out of the Conference Finals by the Seattle SuperSonics, missing the chance to challenge Jordan and the Bulls for a ring. The following season, the Jazz came back better then ever with a franchise best 64 wins, led by Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone. This season, the Jazz made it to the NBA Finals where the defending champion Bulls were waiting and ready for battle. In their first NBA Finals in franchise history, the Jazz fell short to the Bulls in six games. The next season, it was deja vu as the Bulls beat the Jazz in the NBA Finals again for their second three-peat.
1974-75 Washington Wizards (60-22)
Back when the Washington Wizards were known as the Washington Bullets, they were one of the best teams in the league, especially during the 1974-75 season. The Bullets had three All-Stars in Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and Phil Chenier lead them to a franchise best 60 wins in the 1974-75 regular season. The Wizards went to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history that year, but got embarrassed and swept by the San Francisco Warriors. The Wizards have not been to the NBA Finals since 1979.
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