NBA started with 11 teams when it started its operation back in 1948. Now it has 30 teams and these 30 teams have built themselves with some great and some average players. Every team tries to build a team which could clinch the Championship, they want a team which can't get defeated by any other team.
Superteams are built by adding elite players who can dominate the floor and set a new level of competition in the game. Superteams have always existed in the NBA, but they are not considered good for the league as they ruin the competitiveness in the league. Superteams are made by putting up hard work, planning and working on team's smartness and executing them during the game.
But some teams which were titled as superteams failed in proving that. Maybe, they were considered as superteams way too early or they became so comfortable on their own after getting titled as a superteam that they forgot to perform like one. Now let's keep this conversation up and throw some light on those teams which couldn't serve the meaning of a superteam.
#10 Brooklyn Nets: 2013-14
The 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets team featured future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as well as NBA All-Stars like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The Nets team had Jason Kidd as their Head Coach and when we see a team which is equipped with that much talent and skill, we pick them as the championship contenders.
But the 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets team couldn't keep up the faith people had on the team. The Nets ended the season with 44-38 and stood at the sixth place in the Eastern Conference at the end of the regular season.
It was suspected after analysing the standings chart that the Brooklyn Nets would face the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The Nets somehow tackled the young Raptors team, took the round to Game 7 and Paul Pierce's block against Kyle Lowry helped the Nets clinch the series and they progressed to the second round.
In the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Nets faced Miami Heat, the team which had elites like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Heat beat the Nets team by 4-1. So, the Nets team which was seen as the Championship prospect, couldn't even go to the Conference Finals.
The Nets team even after having Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, relied more on Brook Lopez at the defensive end while they were confused at the offensive end as to who should run it. Lopez led the entire team and averaged 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game during the season.
He went through some nagging leg injuries which slowed down the team's momentum and they couldn't figure out the force which could help the team to success. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had a majori\ty of their game in isolation while the team was looking for Lopez to come back, this made the team a mess and they failed.
#9 Indiana Pacers: 2004-05
The 2004-05 Indiana Pacers team is one of the considered superteams which didn't work as expected. They had stars like Reggie Miller, Jermaine O'Neal, and Stephen Jackson. The incidence of the Indiana Pacers when hosted by the Detroit Pistons is hard to forget. The fight of Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) with the Pistons' audience took him to an entire-season suspension.
O'Neal, Jackson, and Anthony Johnson were also suspended for several games. This flushed out almost all the stars of the Pacers' roster out of the game and the Pacers then went down in the Central Division.
The Pacers team went through many tough situations, Miller got injured, and they only had the bench players to play on the floor. Despite all these, the Pacers somehow managed to record 44 wins and 38 losses at the end of the regular season and were the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers went up to the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they faced the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons swept the Pacers by 4-2 and after this, Miller announced his retirement which took-off the title of a superteam from the Pacers and ended Miller's era as well.
#8 Sacramento Kings: 2001-02
A team which had four All-Stars on their roster and was the first seed in the conference could easily get recognized as a superteam. But some things tugged this team from becoming a true superteam. The key players of the team were Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, and Mike Bibby who with a deep bench had kind of a cakewalk during the regular season with a record of 61-21 when they finished the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Kings went well up to the Western Conference semi-finals but in the conference finals, they fell down as they blew a 3-2 lead to the Los Angeles Lakers. There are some rumors which still exist that the conference finals series was fixed and NBA former Referee Tim Donaghy is one of those who claimed this. But it surely was an end to a superteam which was trying to win a championship after a huge gap of 50 years.
#7 Orlando Magic: 1994-95
The 1994-95 Orlando Magic is another superteam which disappointed their fans. Before the 1994-95 NBA season, Shaquille O'Neal was already dominating the floor for the Magic and during the offseason, they added stars like Horace Grant and Brian Shaw to their roster.
They finished first in the Eastern Conference and in the playoffs, they even defeated Chicago Bulls and went to the NBA finals. But in the Finals, they got swept by the Houston Rockets who were the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
The first game was very close to the Orlando Magic as they almost emerged with a win but due to four consecutive missed free-throws by Nick Anderson, the game bent towards Houston. The Magic then couldn't recover from that and the Rockets swept them in four games.
#6 Houston Rockets: 1996-97
The team which accomplished two consecutive championships (1994 and 1995), had a clear vision for another title in 1997. For this, Houston Rockets added a 10-time All-Star and an NBA MVP Charles Barkley. They also add Kevin Wills and Brent Price during the off-season to strengthen their bench.
With the help of Hakeem Olajuwon, Barkley, and Clyde Drexler, the Rockets had a brilliant start of 21-2 and the Rockets started to dominate the floor early in the season. But at the end, the Rockets finished the season with 57-25.
During the playoffs, the Rockets had a fairly good trip to the Western Conference Finals, but the real competition started in the Conference finals where they got hammered by the Utah Jazz and another potential superteam season came to an end.
We see players getting injured during crucial times and that hampers a team very badly and that happened to the Rockets' team as well. Barkley and Drexler were among the most important players for the Rockets and they suffered injuries throughout the season.
Barkley played only 53 games where he averaged 19.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. He suffered hip and knee injuries because of which he missed 29 regular season games.
Drexler also went through some injuries and the injuries disturbed both of them even during the playoffs. In the Western Conference finals, only Olajuwon had an impact on the game, but Barkley and Drexler were still somewhere dealing with their injuries and couldn't contribute to their team
#5 Los Angeles Lakers: 2003-04
The 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers and their fans had dreams of being a superteam not like any other, but the first superteam of the new era. They were all broke after they got defeated in the second round of the Western Conference by the San Antonio Spurs in 2003 as they were confident enough that they would win four titles in a row.
In 2003-04 NBA season, the Lakers, as they were more ambitious than ever before, added elites like Karl Malone and Gray Payton during the off-season in free agency to make their roster rock-solid. At the start of the season, they had stars like Kobe Bryant, Shaquile O'Neal, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone. The Lakers finished the regular season with a record of 56-26 and clinched the second seed in the Western Conference.
In the playoffs, they defeated the Houston Rockets in the first, San Antonio in the second, and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the final round of the Western Conference to head to the NBA Finals where they played against the underdogs Detroit Pistons. The Lakers got defeated by the Pistons in a five-game series and the dream of becoming a superteam couldn't get turned into reality as the Lakers were fragmented after that season.
Karl Malone and Gary Payton never won a title and they signed with the Lakers to win one, Bryant got into a scandal of sexual assault in Colorado during the off-season and had to visit Colorado for a court appearance and due to that he missed several games.
O'Neal had a feud with Bryant throughout the season and the Chemistry of the Lakers' roster didn't seem like of a superteam. Malone suffered knee injuries and missed several games as well. Payton was disturbed because of the Lakers' head coach Phil Jackon's triangle offense as he could not use his ball handling and scoring ability in that.
The whole team including Jackson was off-track as Jackson showed disdain for Bryant and called him "uncoachable". All these turned into the weaknesses of the Lakers and that' what helped the star-less Detroit Pistons to win the title.
#4 Miami Heat: 2010-11
The Miami Heat went on to build a superteam when they added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to their roster. Many people had high expectations from this team and even considered them as a superteam. Who would forget the day of July 8, 2010, when James held an hour-long special show on ESPN where he announced that he is taking his talent to Miami.
Some even expected that the Heat would beak the 72-10 record of the Chicago Bulls, but the Heat started the season with a record of 9-8 which troubled everyone who had faith in them. They further worked on the team's performance and came out of a losing streak to set a 12-game winning streak. They finished the season with 58-24 and were the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat had kind of a cakewalk up to the Eastern Conference finals as they dismissed every team they faced by a record of 4-1. By looking at the Western Conference winners, the Dallas Mavericks, it was clear that the Heat would sweep them out as the Heat had the best nuclear power an NBA team could ever have. But this didn't happen as expected, the Mavericks or the underdogs crushed the championship dream of the Heat team and the Heat failed as a superteam.
#3 Dallas Mavericks: 2006-07
The Dallas Mavericks' 2006-07 roster included superstars like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and Josh Howard. Along with Anthony Johnson and Jerry Stackhouse, the team had the best fire-power which a team needs to be a superteam.
The team finished the 2006-07 NBA season with the record of 67-15, which was their best record in franchise history. Also, Nowitzki was named as the NBA MVP that year. All was going good for the Mavs as they also clinched the first seed in the Western Conference. A team which performs so good doesn't usually fall down and create a mess, but the Mavs made this happen as well. The Mavericks lost the first round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors 2-4.
When the postseason started, the Mavs faced the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors which had a weak lineup and had somehow made it to the playoffs. The Mavericks were like giants in front of the Warriors. Mavericks head coach Avery Jackson decided to take out Erick Dampier after looking at the undersized Warriors which was the worst move by him. The Warriors made the best of this opportunity and won the first game.
The Warriors then slowly improved their momentum and were able to disturb the balance of the Mavericks by keeping Nowitzki's mojo out of the game with the help of tight defense and the Mavericks couldn't come out of the Warriors' defensive shield to win the series. The Mavericks' dream season came to an end.
#2 Los Angeles Lakers: 2012-13
All the starting five of the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers' were all-stars (Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, and Dwight Howard). Everyone considered the Lakers as the 2013 NBA championship contenders and believed that they could break many records as well.
The season started and the Lakers stumbled to a lowly 1-4 record. They made several changes in their coaching staff but still, they had a record of 15-21. The dream team was falling apart.The team had many ups and downs during the regular season and they somehow qualified for the playoffs - a team which was seen as a championship contender, struggled throughout the regular season to reach the playoffs.
In the first round of the playoffs, they went against the San Antonio Spurs and got swept by them with a 0-4 series record. A superteam dream came to an end before it even started. No team which had five All-Stars on their roster ever fell so hard.
The Lakers started the season with Mike Brown as their Head Coach. After a record of 1-4, they fired Brown and finally hired Mike D'Antoni as their Head Coach. The changes they made in their coaching disturbed their playing style.
They implemented multiple offenses and defensive strategies, but they struggled in each of those. Bryant's late regular-season injury, poor team-work, and coordination issues made a huge impact on their game and the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers became one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA history.
#1 Golden State Warriors: 2015-16
Let's recall what the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors earned during the year. They broke the record set by the Chicago Bulls for the most wins in the regular season of 72-10 by going 73-9 during the season. Stephen Curry became the league MVP for the second time, first ever unanimous MVP of the league. He also broke the record for the most 3-pointers made in a regular season by hitting 402 3-pointers.
The list goes on and this team got all the attention which no other team ever got before. Everything looked excellent for the Warriors, there wasn't any team out there which could break them apart and win the Championship. They finished the regular season with the best record ever and got the first seed as well. They started their playoff run and went against the Portland Trail Blazers and got past them.
In the second round, despite Curry's injury, the Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets. But in the Conference Finals, they had a really tough competition against the Oklahoma City Thunder where they were 1-3 in the series. But their historic comeback shocked the basketball world and they reached the NBA Finals.
They started the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and won 3 games out of 4, but the motivation that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving showed after Game 4 changed the whole series and the Cavaliers won the Championship in seven games. This was the most disappointing end of a superteam ever and this was felt in Curry's performance even in the entire 2016-17 NBA season.
Everything was going good for the Warriors, but the injury to Curry in the first round did some damage to him although he made an amazing comeback in game 5 where they defeated the Blazers. In the second round, Curry had another injury which slowed down their momentum and Curry couldn't play to his full potential in the NBA Finals.
Draymond Green got suspended for the fifth game which really hampered the Warriors' game. Curry got ejected in Game 6 and the Cavaliers forced the seventh game in the series. Andrew Bogut also suffered an injury and their teamwork was shaken-up. During the do-or-die game, the Warriors had a good lead at halftime, but they became so comfortable that the whole game went out of their reach and they lost the finals. The clutch three-pointer from Irving in the last minute made all the difference.