1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls
No surprise here, the top team in NBA history is the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls that were led by Michael Jordan. Jordan’s squad went 72-10 in the regular season and easily moved through the playoffs with a 15-3 record. Jordan’s 30.4 PPG that season was impressive but the team around him led by Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and more is what really put this team over the edge. Pippen almost averaged 20 PPG that season playing a secondary role which led a lot of people around the league to think that the Bulls potentially had two top 5 players in the entire league.
2. 2016-17 Golden State Warriors
Another team that was loaded with top-end talent was the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were already a loaded team with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green but it got even better in the 2016 offseason when they added MVP level talent Kevin Durant from the OKC Thunder. Durant was in his prime and could easily go out and get 30 PPG if he wanted to but he was able to bump his efficiency playing on a team with so much talent. This Warriors team went 67-15 and ran through teams in the playoffs going 16-1 en-route to an NBA championship. There will be arguments on if this team or the 95-96 Bulls were the best but we will give the edge to Chicago here.
3. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
The 1971-72 Lakers were led by 4 different hall-of-famers, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Gail Goodrich. This team went 69-13 in the regular season and went on to go 12-3 in the playoffs while beating a very good Knicks team in 5 games. Even though Wilt Chamberlain was at the end of his career he was still extremely productive putting up 14.8 PPG and 19.2 RPG. A far cry from what we saw in the past but against this type of competition if was very good to see. The Lakers have had many superb teams over the years but in my opinion, this was their best one.
4. 1985-86 Boston Celtics
Like the Lakers, the Boston Celtics have had tons of good teams in the history of their franchise but this one takes the top spot. This Celtics team was led by Larry Bird with help from Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Bill Walton. They went 67-15 in the regular season but a big part of their success was their home record. This Boston team went 40-1 at home, which is tied for the best home record in the history of the NBA. Whenever you have a game-changing player like Larry Bird averaging 25.8 PPG 9.8 RPG and 6.8 APG in that era you are going to be tough to beat on a nightly basis and they proved that en-route to an NBA championship.
5. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls
The 96-97 Chicago Bulls team looked very similar to the 95-96 squad which is probably why they were just as successful. Whenever you can have the likes of Jordan and Pippen starting night in and night out and then have Steve Kerr and Robert Parish coming off the bench you will be a tough team to beat. This version of the Bulls lost a couple more games than the 95-96 team but it didn’t matter as they led the league in points per game as a team and were 6th in opposing points per game allowed. They went on to beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals in 6 games.
6. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers
Wilt wasn’t in his prime with the 71-72 Los Angeles Lakers but he sure was on the 66-67 Philadelphia 76ers. Chamberlain averaged 24.1 PPG 24.2 RPG and 7.8 APG in this season with Philly and despite scoring not being as big back then as it is now, the 76ers averaged a huge 125.2 PPG. Whenever you look back on a team and they had 4 hall-of-famers, Wil Chamberlain, Larry Costello, Hal Greer, and Chet Walker, in the starting lineup you know they were a hard team to beat. They finished the season 68-13 and defeated the San Francisco Warriors 4-2 in the NBA finals.
7. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
In the 1970-71 season, the Milwaukee Bucks were a franchise that was only 3 seasons old but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t compete right away. With NBA Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, they had their way with most of the other teams in the league. The team ended up going 66-16 and went 12-2 in the playoffs finishing with a 40- sweep vs the Baltimore Bullets in the finals. When you have Kareem averaging 31.7 PPG and 16.0 RPG and Robertson putting up 19.4 PPG and 8.2 APG you will be tough to beat and they proved that.
8. 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers
Led by Pat Riley, the 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers were one of the best teams to ever take the floor in LA. With one of the best coaches in the history of basketball paired with the likes of Kareem, Mychal Thompson, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and many other players they were borderline unbeatable. They ended up with a record of 65-17 and only lost 3 total games in the playoffs beating the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the finals. They were 1st in the NBA in offensive rating and a top 7 team defensively as well which is a recipe for success and a common trend that we have seen with the other teams on our list.
9. 1998-99 San Antonio Spurs
We will never know the record that the Spurs could have finished with if they played a full year but during the lockout 98-99 season they were still one of the best squads. Coach Gregg Popovich had superstars Tim Duncan & David Robinson in the frontcourt which made it very hard for any team to stop. They only allowed 84.7 PPG on the defensive end so despite being a middle-tier offensive scoring team, they were able to still be successful. They went on to go 37-13 in the shortened regular season and 15-2 in the playoffs and defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the NBA Finals.
10. 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers
After Phil Jackson led the Chicago Bulls to multiple NBA championships he turned his attention to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 2000-01 Lakers weren’t that deep of a team but they were led by two of the best players in the league, Kobe Bryant & Shaq. Kobe was putting up 28.5 PPG and Shaq had 28.7 PPG and 12.7 RPG of his own. With solid role players Derek Fisher, Horace Grant, and Rick Fox the Lakers were bound for a title and that’s where they ended up. They beat the 76ers in the finals and had a pretty easy road sweeping the first 3 series’ and going 4-1 in the finals.