NBA: 5 Longest Playoff Appearance Streaks EVER
- Looking at the longest playoff streaks in NBA history
The goal for the overwhelming majority of NBA franchises, as they begin the season is to make the Playoffs. Some go into the season with other goals, young player development and ensuring a good draft pick or a championship or bust mentality, but for most getting to the Playoffs and being competitive there, is enough to mark the season as a successful one.
With only 3-6 true contenders in any given year, it is important for franchises to have realistic expectations, lest they start making panic moves that set the franchise back years.
Many fans may disagree, but a streak of 20+ playoff appearances is the mark of a total franchise that makes sound, process over results, decisions and is highly successful. This may mean they win multiple titles and sometimes they just have an extended run of good play that doesn't result in the ultimate prize.
But giving your fanbase a competitive, entertaining product year after year is what every franchise should strive for.
#5 Boston Celtics 1951-1969, 19 seasons
The only streak on this list that doesn't hit 20+ season, but inarguably the most successful. The early part of this streak was led by Bob Cousy but the diminutive point guard could never quite lead the Boston Celtics to the promise land. For six seasons, the Celtics kept coming up short as they tried to advance to the Finals, losing in the East Division Finals three times.
Enter, one Bill Russell, whom the Celtics traded for immediately after he was selected 2nd in the 1956 draft by the St. Louis Hawks. Russell, fresh off winning two NCAA championships brought his winning ways across the coast and the Celtics proceeded to roll off 11 championships in 13 seasons that Russell was with the team. First led by the legendary Red Auerbach and then by Russell himself for the last three seasons, the Celtics personified excellence and winning.
It's only fitting that this streak came to an end when Russell retired from both playing and coaching after the 1969 season. While many greats helped contribute to this streak, such as Sam Jones, Cousy, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, and Auerbach, this streak is truly defined by Russell's greatness. He transformed them from a good team to one that became near unstoppable for more than a decade.