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A Ranking of the Most Dominant Teams in NBA History

The NBA season tips off this week, and this year, the league is marked by the development of superteams, where star players team up in a quest to win a title. In honor of this, here is a look at some of the best teams from NBA history.

Chicago Bulls (1991-98)

Michael Jordan. The only thing that really needs to be said about the team is that they had the greatest player of all-time. The Bulls won three consecutive titles twice in eight years, broken up only when Jordan chose to pursue a career in professional baseball. The Bulls posted a .789 winning percentage in the six years in which they won a title, allowing them to slightly edge out the Lakers and Warriors.

Los Angeles Lakers (1982-89)

They were as fun to watch as any team in history; they were the Warriors before the Warriors. They enjoyed a run of going to the Finals in seven of eight seasons, in a time when the league was extremely competitive. They were hurt by their shortcomings in the Finals, but the “Showtime” Lakers had to battle it out with Bird and the Celtics often, yet they still won four titles in eight years. The star power on all of these teams is incredible, but led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, this Lakers team had two of the five best players of all time and a great supporting cast of Hall of Famers on top of it.

Warriors (2015-present)

The Warriors could ultimately wind up with the top spot on this list if their core of superstars stick together. Their combination of talent, potential and team chemistry is off the charts, and they are competing at a time when the talent in the NBA is at its peak. They posted the best regular season record of all-time when they went 73-9 in the 2015-16 season, but their claim for the best single season ever was hurt when they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. However, they still have the greatest record in a three-year stretch of any team as well as two championships. If they can continue their dominance, they would quickly move to number one on this list.

Boston Celtics (1981-87)

Another Celtics run of greatness, this is the most talented Celtics team in history, which is impressive considering the Celtics have won the most NBA championships of any franchise. The team started with Larry Bird, and then had four other Hall of Famers as well. They dominated the regular season and won three titles in the stretch, including when they made an appearance in four straight NBA Finals from 1984-87. However, they are not higher on the list because of their, comparatively, mediocre postseason record. The Celtics had to battle Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers as well as Magic Johnson’s Lakers, and it was hard to dominate these talented teams.

Boston Celtics (1957-66)

The Celtics dominated the 50s and 60s, winning an unbelievable nine titles in a ten-year stretch. The team featured eleven Hall of Famers, notably Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek, but the NBA featured only eight and then nine teams at the time. The lack of teams hurts the Celtics’ ability to be the greatest NBA team of all-time, although they were certainly the most dominant.

Los Angeles Lakers (2000-02)

The early 2000s Los Angeles Lakers were led by the two-headed giant of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. They posted the best playoff record of all-time, going 16-1 on their way to the 2001 title. The team won three straight championships, but they lose points because of the inability of Shaq and Kobe to coexist. The team only stuck together for three seasons before they split ways, and the lack of longevity to their run hurts their case. Shaq and Kobe were two of the most dominant players in NBA history, and their playing styles would have translated across all generations.

About the author

Andrew Hansen

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