To rank the greatest NBA teams of all time, we had to get a few things straight. What is important in basketball? Winning championships! How many rings can you wear on your fingers? This list will focus on winning championships and being one of the greatest teams ever. Below are the 10 greatest NBA teams of all time:
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10. 1964-65 Boston Celtics | Record 62-18
At number 10 of the greatest NBA teams is the 1964-1965 Boston Celtics, this team was a phenomenon in their time. The Celtics were led by Bill Russell who had no equal in his prime. Averaging 15 points, 22 rebounds per game, and leading the league in assists are some reasons why he is considered one of the greatest players ever along with being a 12-time All-Star, five-time MVP, and 11-time NBA champion (11 rings).
Not only did this team have an amazing leader but it also had great talent surrounding him such as Sam Jones making ten straight All-Stars and K.C.Jones playing for seven years without missing a single start! They played their best basketball when they won eight out of nine championships from 1959 to 1966, with their best record coming in the 1964-1965 season.
9. 1991-92 Chicago Bulls | Record: 67-15
Arguably, the greatest player in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan. He was by far the best player on every team he played for and could take over games at any moment. The ’91-’92 season was no different as MJ averaged 32 points per game to lead his Bulls to their first championship, of their first three-peat – beating Magic Johnson’s Lakers in five games.
The Bulls team was stacked with young talent. Scottie Pippen averaged 17 points per game, Horace Grant brought in 14 and B.J. Armstrong averaged 11 a game during the championship run.
8. 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers | Record: 65-17
The greatest player in franchise history, Moses Malone. He had already led the Rockets to a championship and this season he wanted his second one. The Sixers would go on to beat the Lakers that year after beating Dr. J’s 76ers team twice during said playoffs en route to an easy finals victory over the Showtime Lakers.
Malone averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds per game for Philly who also won their division title by 13 games with just nine losses all regular season long – only three teams have ever done so well! This is because of players like Julius Erving (averaged 22 PPG), Maurice Cheeks (11 assists), and Andrew Toney (18 PPG). But wasn’t enough as they lost to the Lakers in six games.
7. 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks | Record: 66-16
The greatest small forward to ever play the game, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He was just unstoppable and could score at will during his career – but not this year! The “skyhook” master averaged 31 points per game throughout the season with 14 rebounds and five assists as he led Milwaukee to their first championship since joining the league in ’59. They would beat Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers after beating both Baltimore Bullets teams along their way en route to four games to two series win against L.A. This team also features Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson who averaged a triple-double for an entire season back when that wasn’t possible.
They were so good defensively too, they only gave up 98 points per game while scoring 121! They had four players averaging 17 points or more and they were led by Kareem.
6. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls | Record 69-13
Michael Jordan averaged 29 points per game with seven assists and six rebounds during the regular season as he led his team to an amazing 69-13 record that year!
Not only did the greatest player in NBA history return better than ever, but he also came back with a stacked roster. Scottie Pippen who was an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year averaged 22 points per game while newcomer Dennis Rodman averaged 14 rebounds throughout his first season in Chicago – both players were key components to this championship team!
They had four other members averaging double figures as well including Steve Kerr (15), Luc Longley (11) Toni Kukoc (14), and Ron Harper (12). The ’96-’97 Bulls went on to beat Karl Malone’s Utah Jazz after beating Patrick Ewing’s New York Knicks twice en route to their second three-peat.
5. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons | Record 63-19
This team is known for being the greatest Pistons squad ever. The Bad Boys or Detroit players were tough, mean and they bullied their way to another championship – even with Isiah Thomas hurt! They beat Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics after beating Michael Jordan’s Bulls twice during that year’s playoffs en route to a four-game sweep of the Lakers who had league MVP James Worthy on their side.
They finished second in both scoring (110 PPG) and defense (100 PPG allowed). Defensive specialist Joe Dumars averaged 20 points per game while Mark Aguirre scored 17 per contest himself. This was also Isiah Thomas’ final season before his tragic accident which ended up putting him out for good after just 69 games that year.
I’m not going to talk about this championship team without mentioning Dennis Rodman who led the league in rebounding at 19 boards per game! The Pistons went on to beat a Lakers team that was filled with stars such as Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar en route to their second straight title – Isiah Thomas was injured though during both runs, unfortunately.
4. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers | Record 69-13
This was the greatest Lakers team ever! Wilt Chamberlain averaged a double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds while shooting .540 from the field. He also had 18 assists, four blocks and three steals per game to help him earn his second of two MVP awards during his career – he won five in total including this one.
Jerry West who led L.A. in scoring that year at 31 PPG finished runner up for the league’s most prestigious individual award, but still earned All-NBA First Team honors after averaging 29 points with six assists per contest on top of five boards as well as two swipes and a block per outing too!
This team also finished second in defense allowing only 97 PPG on their way to beating New York Knicks’ Willis Reed led squad four games to none during the Finals. They had five players averaging double figures scoring including Pat Riley (15), Jim McMillian (12) Gail Goodrich (11), and Archie Clark (13).
3. 1985-86 Boston Celtics | Record 67-15
Larry Bird won the NBA MVP award, while also earning All-NBA First Team honors after beating out Magic Johnson for league’s best player that year. He averaged 24 points with nine rebounds and eight assists per game as well as two blocks to go along with his solid shooting percentages of .496 from the field, .376 on threes, and .86 FT%.
Kevin McHale was runner up for NBA MVP this season finishing right behind Larry Legend in the voting process due to his efforts averaging 25 points per night including 11 boards too alongside three swipes at a very high percentage (.528) – he shot 80 percent from within three feet! Robert Parish who had put together a great campaign finished second-team All-Defense while shooting .593 from the field, which was second to only Utah’s Mark Eaton (.597) for the highest FG% in the league.
This team went on to beat Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston Rockets four games to two during that year’s playoffs including a 40 point game five blowout win by McHale! They also finished with the aggressive defense allowing just 101 PPG throughout their run this season – they gave up 100 points or less in 67 of their 80 contests.
The greatest Celtics squad ever is one of three teams in NBA history so far who have gone undefeated at home during an entire 82 games a regular season! This included beating Magic Johnson and his Lakers twice that year too without Kareem Abdul Jabbar as well as Byron Scott.
2. 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers | Record 65-17
Kareem Abdul Jabbar won the league MVP award as well as earned All-NBA First Team honors after averaging 27 points along with eight boards and three blocks per contest. He shot .559 from the field including a career-high of 60 percent on his two-point attempts!
Magic Johnson finished runner up to Kareem in this year’s voting but still managed to earn second-team All-Defense and lead L.A. back to their fourth Finals appearance during that decade while finishing first overall in scoring at 23 PPG – he also averaged 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals, and one block per game too throughout all 82 contests this season! James Worthy who led the Lakers’ bench was named Sixth Man of the Year averaging 16 points with seven boards to round out a solid supporting cast.
This greatest Lakers team ever defeated number one seeded Houston Rockets led by Hakeem Olajuwon four games to two during the Western Conference Finals but lost to Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird and his squad in six hard-fought contests during that year’s Finals – MVP Kareem Abdul Jabbar averaged just 12 PPG against Larry Legend despite shooting over .500 from both around the paint as well as beyond-the-arc! This Los Angeles roster also featured Byron Scott, A.C Green, Mychal Thompson, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper, and James Worthy.
1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls | Record 72-10
Michael Jordan won his fourth career MVP award and led Chicago Bulls to the greatest regular-season winning percentage of all time, going on a dominant run throughout the league that year. He averaged an incredible 30 points – nine rebounds – six assists per game while shooting .497 from the field including averaging one steal for every contest this campaign!
Scottie Pippen finished runner up in NBA MVP voting but was able to earn All-NBA First Team honors after putting together another great year leading the team with 22 points along with seven boards alongside three steals each night too. Dennis Rodman who lead them both in rebounding average (13) also earned second-team All-Defense after finishing top five blocks at two per outing during this greatest regular season Bulls squad ever.
This greatest team of all-time led by Michael Jordan went undefeated at home during the 1995-96 campaign, which included winning both games against Charles Barkley led Phoenix Suns in their Conference Finals matchup that year – they also beat Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando Magic in six tough contests to advance to their first of three consecutive Finals appearance. This Chicago roster featured Toni Kukoc who had a career-high 17 points per game alongside NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner Steve Kerr (13 PPG) while Ron Harper finished third for defensive honors behind Dennis Rodman.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our greatest NBA teams ever. You can find more articles like this one by checking out other posts on the blog!
What do you think of this greatest NBA teams list? What are your thoughts on the greatest squads throughout history for this league? Let us know in the comments below.
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