Winning in the NBA is the ultimate achievement for every franchise and is the main goal of all 30 teams. However, there are 11 franchises currently playing which have not achieved the glory of an NBA championship. In this article, we will rank the five best franchises without an NBA title.
Top 5 NBA teams with no championships
There are a number of NBA franchises that have been in the NBA Playoffs in many seasons, but a championship win has evaded them every time.
While the ultimate goal is to win the Larry O'Brien trophy in the NBA, some franchises can be considered as top dogs even without having achieved the honor.
In this article, we will list five franchises which have competed well in the NBA despite not achieving the main objective.
Without further ado, let us start.
#5 Orlando Magic - 2 NBA Finals appearances
The Orlando Magic came into the league in 1989 and have 16 postseason appearances in their 32 years as an NBA franchise.
Orlando have a 1,191-1,294 win-loss record since they entered the league.
Among teams without championships, Orlando rank seventh in postseason victories but are one of the newest teams in the league.
The Magic made the Finals in 1995, with Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. However, they lost against the Houston Rockets in four games. Then, Dwight Howard guided the team to the NBA Finals in 2009, but the LA Lakers beat them in five games.
#4 Brooklyn Nets - 2 NBA Finals appearances
Now known as the Brooklyn Nets, the team was named New Jersey Nets since the second season after the NBA-ABA merger.
Jason Kidd guided the New Jersey Nets to two consecutive Finals in 2002 and 2003. In those two occasions, the team fell to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Lakers in 2002, while Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs beat them in 2003.
They rank sixth in playoff wins among teams without a title.
When known as the New York Nets, the franchise won two ABA championships in 1974 and 1976 with Julius 'Dr J' Erving. However, the NBA title has evaded the team.
#3 Indiana Pacers - 1 NBA Finals appearance
The Indiana Pacers are another franchise who came from the ABA. Mel Daniels and Roger Brown were two big names during the Pacers' run of three titles in the ABA.
In the NBA, the franchise has not won a title. Nevertheless, they have a solid history.
The Pacers rank 19th in terms of regular-season wins and have a winning record (1,789-1,761 W-L).
In their 45 NBA seasons, Indiana have played in 27 Playoffs. Among teams without titles, the Pacers rank third in postseason games and third in postseason wins.
Reggie Miller played 18 years for the Indiana Pacers, and as the leader of the franchise, he led them to the postseason 15 times. With Larry Bird coaching, Miller and the Pacers got close to the title in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
They made three consecutive Eastern Conference Finals from 1998 to 2000. In 1998, they fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. In 2000, they made it to the Finals but could not beat the Shaq-Kobe LA Lakers.
#2 Utah Jazz - 2 NBA Finals appearances
The Utah Jazz are usually remembered as the team that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls did not allow to win an NBA championship during the late 1990s.
However, the franchise has been great in the NBA. They have 29 postseason appearances in their 47 seasons.
The Jazz have had just 16 losing seasons in the league. They rank first in postseason games among teams without titles (275), and second in wins (127).
Karl Malone is the only Jazz player to have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award.
Malone and John Stockton guided the Jazz (coached by Jerry Sloan) to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. However, they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games in those two series.
#1 Phoenix Suns - 2 NBA Finals appearances
The Phoenix Suns have been in the NBA since 1968 and they have made the Playoffs in 29 of their 53 seasons.
The Suns have a 2,220-1,987 win-loss record in their history. Despite having a streak of six consecutive losing seasons in the past six years, their winning percentage is at .528.
Phoenix has played two NBA Finals (1976 and 1993) in their history. Their two NBA Finals appearance are the highest among the current franchises without any NBA titles. The Utah Jazz, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic have played two NBA Finals and lost both times as wel.
Moreover, the Suns have had 19 seasons of at least 50 wins and three of at least 60 wins.
Charles Barkley and Steve Nash are the only players who have won NBA MVP while being a member of the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are 12th in regular season wins, and eighth in terms of winning percentage in NBA history. In the NBA Playoffs, they rank 13th both in wins and winning percentage.
Among teams without NBA championships, the Suns rank second in terms of postseason games with 274 and first in wins with 133.
Also read: Top 10 NBA teams with the most championships