The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics reign atop the NBA in terms of titles, with both teams winning the same number of championships over the course of the league’s existence.
The Lakers evened things up with their Bubble triumph in 2020, but the Celtics seem the likelier group to separate themselves at the top after reaching the finals last season, while the Lakers missed the playoffs.
The Lakers are in danger of missing the playoffs again for the second straight year as they’re ninth in the Western Conference, while the Celtics are second in the East, so they are well on their way to postseason play.
Winning In The NBA Is Hard
All 30 NBA teams have the opportunity to win a championship at the beginning of every season, but lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy is notoriously hard to do, as 11 of the teams in the league will tell you, given that they’ve never won it. That’s more than a third of the entire NBA.
Of those teams which have won a title, a good few have only done so once, while some haven’t been able to repeat the feat in several decades. The Sacramento Kings have gone 71 years without winning, and the Atlanta Hawks aren’t far behind, as they both won their last championship in the 50s. Back then, they weren’t even playing in the cities they are now.
So, yeah, winning NBA titles is incredibly difficult, but that’s the point. It’s why the Chicago Bulls are still respected despite falling off since Michael Jordan left. Jordan helped the Bulls win six championships, three of them consecutively, before retiring and coming back for another three straight.
The Most Successful NBA Teams
The Golden State Warriors are considered the modern-day NBA dynasty, as they’ve won four times since 2015 and seven championships in total.
The Warriors are the reigning NBA champions after beating the Celtics in last year’s finals.
Only five NBA teams have won at least five NBA titles. The Lakers and Celtics have won 17 each and had one of the most bitter sports rivalries back in the day.
The Lakers won their first five rings while playing in Minnesota, led by the great George Mikan, going to six finals and only losing one.
The Celtics’ 17 titles include eight, which were won in succession from 1959 to 1966, but they haven’t won since 2008. They will be looking to put another banner in the rafters at the T.D. Garden and are only behind the Milwaukee Bucks where the title odds are concerned. And with betting promos now available in Massachusetts, local fans are sure to place some wagers on their chances.
The Bulls went to six finals and won every one of them. They’re the only team in the NBA to make multiple finals appearances and never lose.
The San Antonio Spurs are the other team with five championships to their name, having gone 5-1 in NBA finals. The Spurs won their last chip in 2014 under head coach Gregg Popovich, who has been in charge for all five wins. Coach Pop, as he’s known, is the winningest coach in NBA history.
It’s also worth noting that the Lakers are the most successful NBA team in the Larry O’Brien era. The league’s championship trophy was named the Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984. It was renamed after former commissioner Larry O’Brien, who was the league’s top man from 1975-1984.
The Lakers have won said trophy 11 times since it was renamed.
Teams Without A NBA Championship
Below are the 11 NBA teams to have never won an NBA championship:
- Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Hornets
- Denver Nuggets
- Indiana Pacers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Phoenix Suns
- Orlando Magic
- Utah Jazz
The Suns have lost in the finals more than any other team in the list above, having made three appearances. The Jazz and Magic have both appeared twice.
Below are the eight active teams in the league with just one title to their name:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Dallas Mavericks
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Sacramento Kings
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
Can The Lakers Make It To The Playoffs This Year?
The Lakers are within a shot of making it to the playoffs this year after missing out in 2022 and can at least make it to the play-in tournament if they move no further than ninth.
Unfortunately, LeBron James is out with a right foot injury, so it will be even more of a challenge. On the bright side, Anthony Davis is playing well in his absence, though L.A. just lost to the New York Knicks this Sunday night.
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