Top 25 NBA Starting Lineups of All-Time

Top 25 NBA Starting Lineups Of All-Time

The long history of the NBA has given us some truly great teams, and within those teams came tremendous starting fives. We go back to the 80s and had Magic Johnson’s Lakers, or we go to the late 2000s and see the Celtics and their big three. Currently we have been watching the Warriors roll out a starting five capable of competing with any over the last few decades. Comparing lineups over eras can be tough, as rules, pace, and players all have changed throughout the year. We are in a three-ball era right now where analytics have told teams to shoot more threes and also get more looks at the rim. During the 80s and 90s, we saw more teams grind out games and play more mid-range basketball.

Narrowing down 25 of the top starting fives of all time was incredibly tough, but taking into account offensive and defensive ratings, player accolades, postseason success, and sheer domination we have landed on these 25. Some of these teams were able to keep their core intact for a few years over time. Take a stroll down memory lane as we review some of the top lineups of all time. When you’re done, check out the latest NBA starting lineups and NBA rosters for the current season.

1. 1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Magic Johnson (19.6 PPG, 11.9 APG, 6.2 RPG)

SG: Byron Scott (21.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.1 APG)

SF: James Worthy (19.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG 3.9 APG)

PF: A.C. Green (11.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.1 APG)

C: Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (14.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.7 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-20112.810743.528.68.24.9

Los Angeles LakersThe 1987-88 Lakers had an incredibly seasoned starting five, as many of the Lakers were in the midst of their prime. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 40 years old that season, while their leading scorer was Byron Scott with 21.7 points per game. Magic Johnson averaged a double-double, putting together 11.9 assists per game to go with 19.6 points per game. The Lakers finished with the second highest offensive rating that season, and were also top ten in defensive rating. They may have played three Game 7’s to end up on top of the basketball world that season, but they faced three teams that won 50+ games, which included a Pistons team that ran through both Boston and Chicago to get to the finals that season.

2. 1985-86 Boston Celtics

PG: Dennis Johnson (15.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.4 RPG)

SG: Danny Ainge (10.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 2.9 RPG)

SF: Larry Bird (25.8 PPG, 982 RPG, 6.8 APG)

PF: Robert Parish (16.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.8 APG)

C: Kevin McHale (21.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.0 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
67-15114.1104.746.429.17.86.2

Boston CelticsBoston and Los Angeles were at their peak in the 80s, and Boston took home the title during the 1985-1986 season. This was also a year for Larry Bird to bring home an MVP. They dominated the East with 67 wins, and Milwaukee was the next closest with 57. They had the best defensive rating in the league, and their margin of victory that season was 9.4 points. Boston ran through those 1986 playoffs, losing a total of three games across all four series. This included three teams that won 50+ regular season games. This core would go onto compete for a few finals, but this year they put together all the pieces.

3. 1969-70 Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Jerry West (26.8 PPG, 6.4 APG, 3.9 RPG)

SG: Happy Hairston (19 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.8 APG)

SF: Elgin Baylor (21.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 4.8 APG)

PF: John Tresvant (19.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.8 APG

C: Wilt Chamberlain (23.4 PPG, 15.8 RPG, 3.5 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
46-36113.7111.850.724.8N/AN/A

Los Angeles LakersThis was a few seasons before they landed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Lakers starting five dominated minutes and production. While they didn’t go on to win the NBA finals, losing to the Knicks in seven games, this starting five was still something else. Any lineup with Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West together has to be ranked fairly high, but the secondary pieces really rounded out to be a somewhat underrated lineup when you look back through the Lakers history. Their defense was solid when you look at the standards for that year, ranking 4th in defensive rating, allowing the second fewest points per game.

4. 2017-18 Golden State Warriors

PG: Stephen Curry (26.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 5.1 RPG)

SG: Klay Thompson (20.0 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.8 RPG)

SF: Kevin Durant (26.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 5.4 APG)

PF: Draymond Green (11.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.3 APG)

C: Zaza Pachulia (5.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.6 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
58-24113.5107.543.529.387.5

Golden State WarriorsWhile it may not have been their highest win total among the Warriors dynasty, the Warriors adding Kevin Durant to an already loaded squad was unfair. You had three players average over 20 points, and Draymond Green was the glue player to take a step back and do the dirty work. They scored 113.5 points per game this season, and were third in offensive rating. In the playoffs the Warriors blew through the Spurs and Pelicans, before being tested by a Rockets team that loaded up to try and take them down. They still fell short, and the Warriors went on to sweep what may have been LeBron James’ worst finals team of his career.

5. 1962-63 Boston Celtics

PG: Bob Cousy (13.2 PPG, 6.8 APG, 2.5 RPG)

SG: John Havlicek (14.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.2 APG)

SF: Sam Jones (19.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.2 APG)

PF: Tom Heinsohn (18.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 APG)

C: Bill Russell (16.8 PPG, 23.6 RPG, 4.5 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
58-22118.8111.672.724.5N/AN/A

Boston CelticsThis team was in the midst of a stretch of eight straight championships for the Celtics. There were just nine teams in the league that season, but Bill Russell took home the MVP trophy, and the Celtics finished first in wins across both divisions. They were the best defensive team according to the ratings this season. Boston played solid team basketball, as the production was fairly spread out across the board. Their average margin of victory was 7.1 points, and that ranked first in the league. The Royals and Lakers both made it close in the playoffs series, but the Celtics would win in 6 against the Lakers.

6. 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Derek Fisher (11.5 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.0 RPG)

SG: Kobe Bryant (28.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.0 APG)

SF: Rick Fox (9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.2 APG)

PF: Horace Grant (8.5.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 APG)

C: Shaquille O’Neal (28.7 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 3.7 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
56-26100.697.244.723.06.96.0

Los Angeles LakersThe 2000-2001 Lakers were mainly about Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Byrant. It was sheer domination as both combined for nearly 60 points per game. Los Angeles went on and won the NBA Finals that year. This Lakers team averaged 100.8 points per game, and allowed just 92.3. The dominance in the postseason is what stood out this season. They lost one game, which was in the Finals against the 76ers. They swept, San Antonio, Sacramento, and Portland to get there. All three of those teams won 50 games that season. Winning 80% of their games that season puts them among the top of all time. While some of the secondary names may not stand out like some of the other starting fives, they dominated the league.

7. 2015-16 Golden State Warriors

PG: Stephen Curry (25.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.5 APG)

SG: Klay Thompson (24.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.3 APG)

SF: Harrison Barnes (9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.3 APG)

PF: Draymond Green (15.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 6.0 APG)

C: Andrew Bogut (4.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.4 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
73-9114.9104.146.228.98.46.1

Golden State WarriorsThis was the year before the Warriors landed Kevin Durant in free agency. The Warriors failed to win the championship this season, losing on an impressive comeback by LeBron James and company. However, this Warriors team still won 73 games, and Stephen Curry won the MVP. Golden State was both top five in defensive and offensive rating, and the average margin of victory was a whopping 10.7 points. You can argue that Golden State could have had another championship if Green wasn’t suspended during a crucial game in the finals, but unfortunately we will never know. While the Warriors didn’t win it all, this was one of the more fascinating teams of the recent era. 

8. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls

PG: Ron Harper (6.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.5 APG)

SG: Michael Jordan (29.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.3 APG)

SF: Scottie Pippen (20.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.7 APG)

PF: Dennis Rodman (5.7 PPG, 16.1 RPG, 3.1 APG)

C: Luc Longley (9.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
69-13103.192.345.126.18.74

Chicago BullsThe Bulls were right in the middle of the their three-peat championship period. Michael Jordan led the league in points per game this season, and Dennis Rodman led the league in rebounds. The Bulls won 69 games under Phil Jackson, and only lost four postseason games that year. Both Jordan and Scottie Pippen averaged over 20 points per game. Bringing in Rodman for this stretch really got Chicago over the hump after some losses to Detroit in prior years. The Bulls demolished teams in the regular season, averaging a 10.8 margin of victory. They led the league in points scored, and offensive rating.

9. 2007-08 Boston Celtics

PG: Rajon Rondo (10.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.2 RPG)

SG: Ray Allen (17.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.1 APG)

SF: Paul Pierce (19.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.5 APG)

PF: Kevin Garnett (18.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.4 APG)

C: Kendrick Perkins (6.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.5 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
66-16100.590.34222.48.54.6

Boston CelticsThe term big three came more to life in the recent era of basketball, even though the process has been around since the beginning. Boston developed their own big three by bringing in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to join Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. They won 66 games that year, and had one of the best defenses as well. They ranked first in defensive rating, and allowed just 90.3 points per game, which is absurd. The Celtics won their games by an average of 10.2 points, but playoff Boston was a bit of a different story. They went to Game 7 in their first two rounds, and went six games over the last two. They eventually went onto beat the Lakers in a season where Kobe Bryant was the MVP.

10. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks

PG: Oscar Robertson (19.4 PPG, 8.2 APG, 5.7 RPG)

SG: John McGlocklin (15.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.7 APG)

SF: Bob Dandridge (18.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.5 APG)

PF: Greg Smith (11.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.8 APG)

C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (31.7 PPG, 16.0 RPG, 3.3 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
66-16118.4106.253.027.4N/AN/A

Milwaukee BucksThis has been the lone championship for the Milwaukee Bucks franchise, and it was brought by two hall of fame players. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson both led this team, but Bob Dandridge and John McGlocklin both chipped in over 15 points per game. This Bucks team ranks inside the top 40 in points per game during an entire season. Winning 66 games was a huge accomplishment, and they crushed opponents in the postseason, losing just two games across three series. They finished first in offensive and defensive rating, and their margin of victory was by 12.2 points. The late Robertson addition in his career really pushed this team over the edge.

11. 2002-03 San Antonio Spurs

PG: Tony Parker (15.5 PPG, 5.3 APG, 2.6 RPG)

SG: Stephen Jackson (11.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.3 APG)

SF: Bruce Bowen (7.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.4 APG)

PF: Tim Duncan (23.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 3.9 APG)

C: David Robinson (8.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.7 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
60-2295.890.442.6207.76.5

San Antonio SpursYou can run through numerous Spurs starting fives and find them deserving of this list. This was the end of an era with David Robinson as they transitioned into the prime Tim Duncan years. Duncan brought in an MVP trophy, but also put together one of his best seasons in his career. The Spurs won 60 games, and they held teams to 90.4 points per game. These Spurs teams were excellent defensively, and while many criticized this team as being boring, fundamentally they got the job done. They beat a very good Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Dallas team to get to the Finals, and when you look at those teams, the Spurs championship run that season was extremely tough.

12. 1989-90 Portland Trail Blazers

PG: Terry Porter (17.6 PPG, 9.1 APG, 3.4 RPG)

SG: Clyde Drexler (23.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 5.9 APG)

SF: Jerome Kersey (16.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.3 APG)

PF: Buck Williams (13.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG)

C: Kevin Duckworth (16.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.1 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
59-23114.2107.947.625.49.14.4

Portland Trail BlazersDuring the late 80s and early 90s, Portland had a lot of talent, but could never get over the hump. In the regular season they were won of the better teams, but struggled to win those games to move on in the postseason. You had peak Clyde Drexler producing over 20 points per game, and Terry Porter was one of the better point guards during this time period. Jerome Kersey, Buck Williams, and Kevin Duckworth all chipped in with strong numbers, rounding out a very good starting five. They averaged 114 points per game this season, and were top five in defensive rating. They ended up losing in five games to the Detroit Pistons during their championship run.

13. 1991-92 Detroit Pistons

PG: Isiah Thomas (18.5 PPG, 7.2 APG, 3.2 RPG

SG: Joe Dumars (19.9 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.3 RPG)

SF: Orlando Woolridge (14.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.1 APG)

PF: Dennis Rodman (9.8 PPG, 18.7 RPG, 2.3 APG)

C: Bill Laimbeer (9.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.0 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
48-3498.996.944.323.26.74.4

Detroit PistonsThe “Bad Boys’ era was special, and this core of Pistons player gave Detroit back-to-back championships, and held off the Bulls from potentially having an even more insane run during the early 90s. They won the prior two seasons before this, and were looking to win three in a row. They won 50 games yet again, and were swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Bulls. This marked the end of an era, as we saw Dennis Rodman eventually join the Bulls and go onto win a few more years. Isiah Thomas continued to produce at an all-star rate, and this grind it out squad eventually parted ways.

14. 1967-68 Philadelphia 76ers

PG: Wali Jones (12.8 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.8 RPG)

SG: Hal Greer (24.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.5 APG)

SF: Chet Walker (17.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.9 APG)

PF: Billy Cunningham (18.9 PPG, 7.6 APG, 2.5 APG)

C: Wilt Chamberlain (24.3 PPG, 23.8 RPG, 8.6 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-20122.611472.126.8N/AN/A

Philadelphia 76ersIt was an MVP season for Wilt Chamberlain, who led the league in rebounds and win shares. He averaged over 20 rebounds per game and 20 points per game, which definitely goes down as one of the best seasons of all time. You had Hal Greer as one of the better scorers of the era, and this bunch eventually found themselves on the top of the NBA during the regular season with 62 wins. Scoring 122 points per game, it was hard to see any team slowing them down. Of course the only team that stood a chance against them in the Eastern Conference was the Celtics, who eventually beat them in seven games in the Eastern Finals.

15. 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers

PG: Maurice Cheeks (12.5 PPG, 6.9 APG, 2.6 RPG)

SG: Andrew Toney (19.7 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.8 RPG)

SF: Julius Erving (21.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.7 APG)

PF: Marc Iavaroni (5.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG)

C: Moses Malone (24.5 PPG, 15.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
65-17112.1104.447.924.69.97

Philadelphia 76ersIn a decade that was dominated by Lakers and Celtics championships, the 76ers were able to sneak in and win a ring this year. Moses Malone led this team, and took home an MVP this year as well. They led the league with 65 wins, and were top five in offensive and defensive rating. The 76ers dominated in the postseason, sweeping the Lakers in the finals, and only losing once in the prior series. The combination of Julius Erving and Malone dominated, as they both averaged over 20 points per game and nearly two blocks per game. Both were at the peak of their game, and managed to put all the pieces together for a championship.

16. 2012-13 Miami Heat

PG: Mario Chalmers (8.6 PPG, 3.5 APG, 2.2 RPG)

SG: Dwyane Wade (21.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.1 APG)

SF: LeBron James (26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG)

PF: Udonis Haslem  (3.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.5 APG)

C: Chris Bosh (16.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
66-16102.995.038.623.08.75.4

Miami HeatIt was another MVP season for The King, as LeBron James took home the MVP. He also led the “Heatles” to another NBA Finals. They took home the championship in seven games against the Spurs, and this was coming off a seven game series against Indiana. Offensively they ranked second in rating, and were also top ten in defensive rating as well. Winning 66 games in a season is a major accomplishment, and they cemented themselves among some truly great teams for the regular season. Completing it with a championship is what excels them to these rankings. Dwyane Wade and James were the major threats on the offensive side, but having Chris Bosh as your third option really says a lot about your starting five.

17. 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Derek Fisher (7.5 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.1 RPG)

SG: Kobe Bryant (27.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.0 APG)

SF: Ron Artest (11.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3 APG)

PF: Pau Gasol (18.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 3.4 APG)

C: Andrew Bynum (15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.4 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
57-25101.79744.321.17.54.9

Los Angeles LakersThis was the second year in a row the Lakers had won the NBA Finals, and while this team may not have had flashy superstars like some of the others on this page, they were still one of the best lineups by the numbers. They were a top five defensive rating team, and Kobe Bryant carried them offensively. Andrew Bynum had also evolved into a potential superstar, but we know how that turned out. Pau Gasol was one of the more consistent bigs during this time, averaging a double-double. Taking on the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics in the final two series of the postseason says a lot about this championship run.

18. 1992-93 Phoenix Suns

PG: Kevin Johnson (16.1 PPG, 7.8 APG, 2.1 RPG)

SG: Danny Ainge (11.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.3 APG)

SF: Dan Majerle (16.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.8 APG)

PF: Charles Barkley (25.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 5.1 APG)

C: Mark West (5.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.3 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-20113.4106.744.525.59.25.5

phoenix sunsThroughout the eras of the NBA it seems the Phoenix Suns would have the same story. They had some really good cores, but were never able to get it done in the postseason. This was another one of those seasons. Charles Barkley had an MVP year, and they were the best offensive team in the league that season, finishing first in offensive rating, and averaging 113.4 points per game. Adding Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, and an aging Danny Ainge to the mix of Barkley led them to be one of the better teams in this era. The playoffs were a battle this season, going to a final game in each of the three Western Conference rounds, but fell in six games to the Bulls. You will certainly see the Suns go through more experiences like this later on in years.

19. 1994-95 Orlando Magic

PG: Penny Hardaway (20.9 PPG, 7.2 APG, 4.4 RPG)

SG: Dennis Scott (12.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.1 APG)

SF: Nick Anderson (15.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.1 APG)

PF: Horace Grant (12.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.3 APG)

C: Shaquille O’Neal (29.3 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.7 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
57-25110.9103.84427.88.26

Orlando MagicBelieve it or not, Orlando used to be very good and had a lot of young talent. In the 1994-95 season the Magic won 57 games, which was good enough to finish first in the Eastern Conference. They had the best offensive rating in the league, and beat the Celtics, Bulls, and Pacers to make the Finals that season. While they were swept by the Rockets, we saw the beginning of two all-star players. Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway destroyed the league this season, and for seasons to come. You also had Horace Grant, who was a nice role piece behind those two options.

20. 1995-96 Seattle Supersonics

PG: Gary Payton (19.3 PPG, 7.5 APG, 4.2 RPG)

SG: Hersey Hawkins (15.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG)

SF: Detlef Schrempf (17.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.4 APG)

PF: Shawn Kemp (19.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.2 APG)

C: Sam Perkins (11.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.5 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
64-18104.596.741.524.410.84.8

The Bulls had a habit of knocking out some truly great Western Conference teams during their championship run, and Seattle was part of that. This offensive juggernaut scored 104 points per game that season, and won games by nearly eight points per game. Both Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton were under the age of 30, and dominating. Pieces like Detlef Schrempf and Hersey Hawkins also chipped in with over 15 points per game. They beat a very good Jazz team in the Western Finals, but lost in Game 6 of the finals to Michael Jordan’s Bulls. The Sonics had a great core during these years, but never went onto win a title.

21. 2004-05 Phoenix Suns

PG: Steve Nash (15.5 PPG, 11.5 APG, 3.3 RPG)

SG: Quentin Richardson (14.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.0 APG)

SF: Joe Johnson (17.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.5 APG)

PF: Shawn Marion (19.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.9 APG)

C: Amar’e Stoudemire (26.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.6 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-20110.4103.344.123.57.05.5

phoenix sunsThis was the first of back-to-back MVP seasons for Steve Nash. He was the oldest of this starting five at 30, while the rest of these names were in their early to mid 20s, and heading into the prime production of their career. Mike D’Antoni had this offense rolling, averaging 110.4 points per game, and they had a 114.5 offensive rating. They lead the league in pace at 95.6, which is wild to think that was leading the league when you look at today’s NBA. Phoenix won 62 games, and breezed through the first two series of the playoffs before running into the Spurs, who were a class team of the Western Conference. The Spurs would eventually go on to with the NBA Finals. The Suns won 54 games the next season with a slightly different core, but fell in the Western Finals again.

22. 1997-98 Utah Jazz

PG: John Stockton (12.0 PPG, 8.5 APG, 2.6 RPG)

SG: Jeff Hornacek (14.2 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.4 RPG)

SF: Adam Keefe (7.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.2 APG)

PF: Karl Malone (27.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.9 APG)

C: Greg Foster (5.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-2010194.441.125.27.95

Utah JazzThe Jazz could never get over the hump in the playoffs, but continued to dominate in the West when they had the core of Karl Malone and John Stockton. During the 1997-98 season, the Jazz won 62 games, and had the best offensive rating in the league. They managed to sweep a good Lakers team in the Conference Finals, but went on and lost to the Bulls yet again in the finals. Malone was in his prime averaging 27 and 10 that season, while Stockton continued to handout assists at an extreme rate. Both Stockton and Malone are two of the greats who never went onto win a ring.

23. 2003-04 Detroit Pistons

PG: Chauncey Billups (16.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.7 RPG)

SG: Richard Hamilton (17.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.0 APG)

SF: Tayshaun Prince (10.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.3 APG)

PF: Rasheed Wallace (13.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.8 APG)

C: Ben Wallace (9.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 3.0 BPG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
54-2890.184.342.820.887

Detroit PistonsIn an era where San Antonio and Los Angeles were dominating finals wins, Detroit came along and won the league. The Pistons won 54 games, which was the second highest in the division. They were holding teams to just 84.3 points per game, and will go down as one of the best defensive teams in the last 20-30 years. Detroit beat an Indiana team that won over 60 games in the Eastern Conference Finals, before going onto demolish the Lakers in five games. Both Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace averaged a combined five blocks per game that season, while Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups were the go-to offensive players.

24. 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder

PG: Russell Westbrook (23.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.5 APG)

SG: Thabo Sefolosha (4.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 APG)

SF: Kevin Durant (28.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.5 APG)

PF: Serge Ibaka (9.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.7 BPG)

C: Kendrick Perkins (5.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.2 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
47-19103.196.943.718.57.58.2

Oklahoma City ThunderAnother team to fall short because of the Miami Heat run was Oklahoma City. This was a shortened season due to the holdout, but all was figured out. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were a lethal combo, and while not part of the starting five, you also had James Harden off the bench as a sixth man. They had the second best offensive rating, and were one of the best shooting teams in the league. The West was not a problem for them, losing just three games in the Western playoffs. Miami ended their season in five games, which started the trend of playoff troubles for Oklahoma City.

25. 2010-11 Chicago Bulls

PG: Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.7 APG)

SG: Keith Bogans (4.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.2 APG)

SF: Luol Deng (17.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.8 APG)

PF: Carlos Boozer (17.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.5 APG)

C: Joakim Noah (11.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.2 APG)

RECPTS/GOPP PTS/GRPGAPGSPGBPG
62-2098.691.344.222.37.25.7

Chicago BullsIt was a short window for the Bulls to win a championship during this stretch, but a man named LeBron James ended a lot of teams chances no matter how good they were in the regular season. That happened to the Bulls in the 2010-2011 season, as they won the most games that year, and were holding teams to 91 points per game. This was also a year where Derrick Rose won the MVP, and Joakim Noah was a defensive presence in the paint. The Bulls made it to the Conference Finals that season, but fell in five games to Miami’s Big 3.

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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