The NBA Finals are a series of games played between the winners of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference to determine who is the best team in basketball. This year, it will be the Golden State Warriors going against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The nba teams that never made the finals is a list of all the NBA teams that have never won the NBA Finals.
Every club will be vying for a spot in the NBA Finals. Whether you’re rebuilding or competing, the objective is to finish in the top two teams at the conclusion of the season. Some teams are attempting to break a curse, while others are attempting to reverse it.
Others are attempting to return to the NBA Finals for an even longer length of time after the Milwaukee Bucks ended their 50-year title drought. Which club will make a push to the finish line in the 2021-2022 season? It will be the first time in a long time for several teams. This is the last time each NBA team has reached the NBA Finals.
1961 Atlanta Hawks (1-4 vs. Boston Celtics)
It’s been a long time since Cliff Hagan and Bob Petitt led the Hawks to success when they were located in St. Louis. With Bill Russell at the helm and another aging superstar in Bob Cousy, the Celtics were much too strong. The Celtics won three of the four games by double digits, while the Hawks only won one, a 124-120 nailbiter in Game 3.
The Hawks would have played for a championship for the first time in 60 years if they had beaten the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks have had their chances, including trips to the Conference Finals in 2015 and 2021, but they haven’t been able to go over the hump, falling to elite players such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
2010 Boston Celtics (3-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
The Boston Celtics were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers, who won their second NBA title in a row. On his way to earning Finals MVP, Kobe Bryant led all points in six of the seven games he participated. This was the team’s second participation in the NBA Finals, and their first since winning the championship in 2008.
The Celtics have advanced to the Conference Finals three times in the past five years, but have yet to reach the NBA Finals. Jayson Tatum is the team’s new face, and he’ll try to have the Celtics dancing for the first time since the championship years of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. The squad lost to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the NBA Finals in 2010.
2003 Brooklyn Nets (2-4 vs. San Antonio Spurs)
In this series, the Nets and Spurs fought to a 2-2 draw before the Spurs won two straight. Tim Duncan had a brilliant 20-20 effort in Game 6 to lead the Spurs to a championship, scoring 21 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.
The Nets are expected to play in the NBA Finals for the first time in almost two decades. In reality, the Nets were just a hair’s breadth from from reaching the NBA Finals this season. The combination of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant, on the other hand, has the sports betting industry humming. Brooklyn may not only compete in a championship game, but but win it for the first time since entering the NBA.
Hornets of Charlotte – Never Give Up
The Hornets’ greatest postseason participation occurred in 2001. In the first round, the squad swept the Heat in three games. The Hornets were on the verge of reaching the Conference Finals, leading the Bucks 3-2 in the semifinals. The Bucks, on the other hand, came back to win the series in seven games.
Since 2002, the Hornets haven’t advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs. Even with all-time leading scorer Kemba Walker at the helm, the Hornets couldn’t go beyond the first round of the playoffs. Because the Hornets have never reached the Conference Finals, they must set modest objectives like reaching the second round of the playoffs.
1998 Chicago Bulls (4-2 vs. Utah Jazz)
When it came to contending for championship hardware, the “Last Dance” was indeed the last dance for the Bulls. Since the days of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls haven’t made it to the NBA Finals. Jordan won his sixth NBA Finals title, completing his second three-peat, and attempted to ride off into the sunset in the NBA Finals.
Derrick Rose led the Bulls to the Conference Finals, but they were beaten by LeBron James, a Bulls killer. The club has barely flirted with playoff contention since then, and hasn’t reached the postseason since 2018.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Cleveland Cavaliers) – 2018 (0-4 vs. Golden State Warriors)
The previous time the Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals, it seemed as if they knew what would happen before the game even began. The Warriors swept the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, with Kevin Durant winning his second title.
LeBron James carried the team’s competitive spirit with him when he departed Cleveland. The Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals every season from 2015 to 2018, winning the title in 2016. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love led the team to its greatest season in club history. It will be a long time before we see the Cavaliers win a title unless they get a superstar like LeBron James in the future.
2011 Dallas Mavericks (4-2 vs. Miami Heat)
In 2006, Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals, and again in 2011, when they won the championship. The Mavericks, who were seeded third overall, had an incredible run in 2011. They swept the No. 2 ranked Los Angeles Lakers and then defeated the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks beat LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the NBA Finals.
In almost every statistical category, the franchise leader is the greatest to ever represent Dallas. Luka Doncic, who will be the team’s captain for the next five years, wants to win in the same manner that Nowitzki did. Doncic will need to get through the first round, something he has yet to do.
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In the past 15 years, the Nuggets have reached the Conference Finals twice. In 2009, it was Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups who led the way. The other was when Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray gave it their all a year ago. The Nuggets lost both occasions against the Lakers, one with Kobe Bryant and the other with LeBron James.
The Nuggets are a Western Conference contender if they stay healthy. That is, assuming Murray is able to return and receive some repetitions; otherwise, the Nuggets may have to wait another year before everyone is fully healthy.
2005 Detroit Pistons (3-4 vs. San Antonio Spurs)
The 2005 NBA Finals were entertaining to watch since they lasted seven games. The Pistons came back to win the following two games after winning the first two games because to Manu Ginobili’s scoring. The Spurs won Game 5 96-95, while the Pistons won Game 6 95-86. Tim Duncan led all scorers with 25 points in Game 7 to help his team win.
Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, and Rip Hamilton were a force in the Eastern Conference. In 2004 and 2005, the club made back-to-back NBA Finals trips, capturing the championship in 2005. The Pistons haven’t been the same since the dynasty ended. Maybe they can relive the golden days with No. 1 overall selection Cade Cunningham in the future plans.
The Golden State Warriors will compete in the 2019 NBA Finals (2-4 vs. Toronto Raptors)
The Warriors’ previous visit left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both departed the game with injuries, and the Warriors were unable to win. Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP, and Toronto earned their first franchise title.
From 2015 through 2019, the Warriors appeared in the NBA Finals five times in a row. In 2015, 2017, and 2018, he won three championships. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green will be remembered for the rest of their lives. There’s speculation that the dynasty is back now that Thompson is healthy for the first time in two years. Curry is coming off of a scoring championship. Perhaps the rumors are true.
1995 Houston Rockets (4-0 vs. Orlando Magic)
Hakeem Olajuwon won his second consecutive Finals MVP award by guiding the Rockets to a sweeping victory over the Magic in their second grace year without Michael Jordan. Orlando’s run with a young Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway was incredible. The Rockets were just too strong in the end.
In recent years, the Rockets have come close to reaching the NBA Finals on two occasions. Before losing to the eventual champion Warriors in 2015, James Harden came close to leading the squad. Then, with Chris Paul’s injury, the club had a chance to beat the Warriors in seven games. Instead, the Warriors took home two championships, while the Rockets were sent home, keeping the 26-year run intact.
The Indiana Pacers were a professional basketball team that was founded in the year 2000. (2-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
Shaq had one of the greatest overall seasons in NBA history in the first of the three-peats. The Lakers took a 2-0 series lead until the Pacers rallied for a one-game victory. The Lakers then won two of the following three games, including a 41-point performance by Shaq in Game 6 to defeat the Pacers.
With Paul George and David West at the helm, the club came close to reaching the NBA Finals in 2013 and 2014. In both attempts, though, LeBron James and the Heat were too much.
Never say never when it comes to the Los Angeles Clippers.
For the last decade, the Clippers have been on the upswing. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan were the catalysts. Despite having outstanding players, the club was unable to go beyond the second round of the playoffs.
In 2021, the Clippers were the first team in club history to reach the Conference Finals. The club could have also reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history if Kawhi Leonard hadn’t been injured. Now that Leonard may be sidelined for the whole season, the team’s streak of never reaching the Finals may have to wait another year.
The 2020 Los Angeles Lakers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California (4-2 vs. Miami Heat)
In the first year with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers won the 2020 championship. With the exception of Jimmy Butler’s 40-point performance, LeBron James dominated this game, topping all scorers in four of the six matchups. In Game 5, he scored 40 points in a 111-108 win.
Last season, the Lakers were plagued by injuries. This year, the club added Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, as well as bringing back Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard. This group’s resumes are impressive. Can the group live up to the hype?
The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that has never won a championship.
In 2013, the Grizzlies reached their first Conference Finals, led by Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. shocked opponents in the playoffs before succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs.
Since then, a lot has changed, with both Gasol and Conley gone, and Ja Morant taking his best shot at heading the club. Memphis is trying to move out of the center of the rankings and get to the top, and the Grizzlies may be the next version of the Clippers here shortly.
Heat of Miami – 2020 (2-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
The Heat reached the NBA Finals in 2020 after defeating Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Finals and then the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler were outstanding. Tyler Herro became a star, but because of his ceiling, he was the subject of trade speculations for a whole year. However, after winning the series, LeBron James and Anthony Davis had other ideas.
With Kyle Lowry in the mix, the Heat may rely on their defense to carry them to the Finals. This year’s Heat are expected to be contenders in the Eastern Conference, so this might be a fast turnaround.
2021 Milwaukee Bucks (4-2 vs. Phoenix Suns)
In 2021, it was a fight of lengthy droughts. The Bucks hadn’t won a championship since 1971, while Phoenix was seeking its first in club history. In the clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo became the sixth player in NBA Finals history to score 50 points.
The NBA champs will undoubtedly attempt to reclaim the ball. Antetokounmpo has said that one is insufficient. The nucleus of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday is back and ready to go. Milwaukee does not want to wait another 50 years for another championship, particularly when the majority of the squad is back.
Never say never when it comes to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In 2004, MVP Kevin Garnett made the Timberwolves the talk of the NBA. It’s been almost two decades since that memorable season. Garnett was unable to lead the Lakers past Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. If the Timberwolves had advanced to the NBA Finals, a Detroit-Minnesota Finals would have captivated the whole Midwest.
The Timberwolves have only made one postseason appearance since 2004, and the odds are stacked against them doing so anytime soon. Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards have all been lottery selections for the T-Wolves with nothing to show for it.
The Pelicans of New Orleans are a team that has never won a championship.
Anthony Davis was once thought to be the savior. Chris Paul came before him. Both never advanced beyond the second round of the Conference Finals. Davis won a championship his first season away of New Orleans after being moved to a new club.
Could this be repeated again that Zion Williamson is in his third year and has yet to make the playoffs? The Pelicans have made moves to help them win now, but we’ll have to wait and see whether Williamson can be the south’s salvation.
The New York Knicks won the NBA championship in 1999. (1-4 vs. San Antonio Spurs)
When Michael Jordan wasn’t playing, the Knicks had little chance of making the NBA Finals. Following Jordan’s retirement, the squad fell to the Rockets in 1994 and then to the Spurs in 1999. In the 1999 Finals, David Robinson and Tim Duncan combined to create a twin tower that was too much for Patrick Ewings’ single tower.
Since then, the Knicks haven’t even come close to making the playoffs, finishing in the second round in 2013. To go this far, Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s top scorer, has to lead the league in scoring.
Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Thunder) – 2012 (1-4 vs. Miami Heat)
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, a youthful triumvirate from Oklahoma City, stunned the world by cruising through the postseason bracket to reach the NBA Finals. They were all in their early twenties. It was never going to be simple to stop LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, which is why the Heat triumphed in the end.
All three-star OKC players have now completed their contracts. Durant and Westbrook had a 3-1 lead against the 73-win Warriors in 2016, but they dropped three consecutive games. Then Durant returned to the club, winning two Finals MVP awards, and Thunder fans have been enraged ever since.
The Magic of Orlando – 2009 (1-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
Dwight Howard’s peak years were filled with must-see basketball. Howard led a team to the NBA Finals that included Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson as the club’s big three. The squad was defeated in the Finals by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, but it resurrected Orlando for the first time since Shaquille O’Neal departed for Los Angeles.
Bryant scored over 30 points in each of the Lakers’ four victories. The Magic battled back at times, with Rashard Lewis scoring 34 points in a losing effort, but the Lakers were too much. The Magic now have a lengthy reconstruction ahead of them. Getting back to this stage will take some time.
The Philadelphia 76ers won the NBA championship in 2001. (1-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
When the 76ers went all the way in 2001, Iverson was named MVP, but they lost in the Finals to Shaq and Kobe. The moment when Iverson stepped over Tyrone Lue will be replayed every year, but it is the only piece of renown the team gained from their participation in the Finals. Shaq averaged 33.8 points and 15.8 rebounds per game on his route to Finals MVP.
When the 76ers earned the No. 1 seed in the regular season in 2021, supporters thought they had a chance to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in 20 years. Instead, Joel Embiid has a long way to go before he can dethrone Iverson as Philadelphia’s most popular athlete.
The Phoenix Suns will be in the NBA in 2021. (2-4 vs. Milwaukee Bucks)
Fans in Phoenix have endured a 28-year wait until last season. For the first time since 1993, Chris Paul and Devin Booker created a strong backcourt combination to lead the Suns to the NBA Finals. Paul qualified for the Finals for the first time, but he came up short against the Bucks. On the other hand, stopping is difficult.
The Suns will attempt to qualify for a second straight season with their core intact. Paul agreed to a four-year contract extension in order to help Phoenix win their first title and earn his first ring.
1992 Portland Trail Blazers (2-4 vs. Chicago Bulls)
The Trail Blazers had a youthful Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter’s sharpshooting, and Jerome Kersey and Buck Williams as powerful towers. The squad won 57 games and fought to the very finish. It was the end of their season in the end since they had to beat Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. That was not going to happen as the Bulls won their second consecutive championship.
The Trail Blazers have reached the Conference Finals three times since then. Damian Lillard will be remembered as the greatest Trail Blazer of all time, yet he has only been in the Conference Finals once, in 2018.
1951 Sacramento Kings (4-3 vs. New York Knicks)
Despite the fact that the Kings haven’t reached the NBA Finals in 70 years, they do have a title due to a seven-game series victory against the New York Knicks. The Kings were known as the Rochester Royals at the time, and this was one of their last seasons before relocating to Cincinnati and then Sacramento. Bob Davies, Red Holzman, Bobby Wanzer, and Arnie Risen were among the Hall of Famers on the roster. A
With their 70-year drought, the Kings also have the longest current playoff drought, having failed to qualify since 2006. The Kings, like the Timberwolves, have squandered numerous lottery selections, including DeMarcus Cousins, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley II.
Spurs of San Antonio – 2014 (4-1 vs. Miami Heat)
The Spurs were in the NBA Finals for the second year in a row, having lost a seven-game thriller to the Miami Heat in 2013. The Spurs defeated LeBron and his teammates this time. In some ways, this victory may have influenced LeBron’s decision to leave the Heat. On his path to earning Playoffs MVP, a teenage Kawhi Leonard proved himself as the game’s greatest two-way player in these finals. It would also be Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili’s last Finals participation and title.
It was a pleasant surprise to beat the Heat in five games. The Heat had reached the Finals for the fourth time in a row. This squad was still exceptional with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but it just goes to show how courageous the Spurs were.
Raptors of Toronto – 2019 (4-2 vs. Golden State Warriors)
The Raptors’ previous appearance in the NBA Finals was also their first. Before the season began, the Raptors made a daring move by selling DeMar DeRozan, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, to the Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. It was all worth it in the end. In the second round of the playoffs, Leonard’s game-winning goal will go down in Toronto sports history. The squad then accomplished the impossible by defeating the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors. With his second squad, Leonard was awarded Finals MVP.
The Raptors remained competitive the next season, but they were unable to retain their championship after losing Leonard and Green to Los Angeles. The Raptors may be on the verge of a rebuild now that Kyle Lowry has left the team.
Utah Jazz (1998-99) (2-4 vs. Chicago Bulls)
The Jazz appeared in the Conference Finals four times between 1994 and 1998, including back-to-back appearances in 1997 and 1998. Karl Malone and John Stockton were one of the greatest duos in the game in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, neither team was able to defeat the legendary Chicago Bulls, with Michael Jordan having the last laugh in the series, averaging 33.5 points per game.
The Jazz have only reached the Conference Finals once since then, in 2007. With Donovan Mitchell and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, the Jazz aim to end a 23-year skid after earning the No. 1 seed in the West last season.
The Washington Wizards were founded in 1979. (1-4 vs. Seattle SuperSonics)
The Wpointizards, or Bullets at the time, made one of the most thrilling playoff runs in franchise history to reach the NBA Finals. First, the squad defeated the Hawks in a seven-game series. The Spurs were then defeated in a seven-game series. Despite losing the title to the SuperSonics, Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes led the team to a memorable season.
Washington won Game 1 99-97, but then dropped the next four games in a row. It was the city of Washington’s final chance to witness Unseld in the Finals. His son, head coach Wes Unseld Jr., will now attempt to return the Wizards to its previous glory.
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The teams that have never won a championship is a list of all the teams in the NBA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who never won a NBA championship?
The most recent NBA champion was the Golden State Warriors in 2017.
Who won the last 10 NBA Finals?
The Golden State Warriors have won the last 10 NBA Finals.
What NBA team has never been to the conference finals?
The Brooklyn Nets have never made it to the conference finals.
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- longest playoff drought
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