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DAR Sports: The 15 Greatest NBA Teams Of The 2000s

By @TrueGodImmortal

This is 100% a direct response to the awful Bleacher Report article that was recently released, looking at the 20 greatest teams of the 2000s. They featured a lot of teams that didn't win championships, nd even worse, didn't even make the NBA Finals. Luckily, DAR Sports has you covered with an actual concise and real list. This is not going off the advanced metrics that the Basketball Reference researchers use for everything, this is based on a number of things within the game and over the course of the season. We look at the regular season record, the dominance, the winning streaks, the defensive and offensive ratings, the playoff records, and most of all, the end result. There is only one team here that didn't win a NBA Championship, and they had to pull off one of the most impossible feats to do so. With that in mind, let's take a look at the 15 greatest teams of the 2000s.

15. 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons
(Season Record: 54-28, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-This team wasn't the most stacked team, but they had enough solid players and an overwhelming defense to earn a NBA Championship. The Pistons had struggled to get back to relevance during the 90s, often missing the playoffs, but this squad that boasted Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace were a force to be reckoned with. Led by legendary coach Larry Brown, the Pistons got off to a solid 33-16 start on the year, and finished 21-12 to earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, they faced the challenge of the Milwaukee Bucks (they defeated them in 5 games), defeated the New Jersey Nets in a close 7 game series, and stopped the Indiana Pacers in 6 games, before making easy work of the older and ailing Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games. This Pistons team was a defensive juggernaut and that's what earned them a title and a spot on this list.

14. 2011-2012 Miami Heat (Season Record: 46-20, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-After an unsuccessful NBA Finals the season before, the Big 3 led Miami Heat returned with a vengeance. This shortened lockout season saw LeBron James hit his prime as a star, and earn his 3rd MVP award in pursuit of his first NBA Title. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played well all season, and they went into the playoffs as the 2nd seed and had a lot of momentum. As the playoffs went on, the Heat made easy work of the Knicks in 5 games, got the Pacers out of here in 6 games, and overcame the challenge of the Celtics in a very tough 7 game series, before defeating a young and inexperienced Thunder team in 5 games. Overall, this team wasn't a top 10 in the 2000s surprisingly, but they were definitely dominant when need be and being led by LeBron, Wade, and Bosh was more than enough.

13. 2002-2003 San Antonio Spurs
(Season Record: 60-22, Playoff Record: 16-6, NBA Champions)

-This team was interesting. David Robinson was on the verge of retiring and this was his last year. No one really knew to expect, but the Spurs were up for any challenge this year. Tim Duncan would win MVP and the Spurs would win 60 games for only the 2nd time in the franchise history at the time. They rolled into the playoffs as the no. 1 seed, had a hard fought first round series against the Phoenix Suns (they won in 6), stopped the Lakers from winning a fourth straight title in the second round (they won in 5), and made the Mavericks easy work in the Conference Finals (they won in 5), all before dismantling the Nets in 6 games to win the NBA Title. A top tier defense and a team that could score, this Spurs team was something special. It's great The Admiral retired on top.

12. 2004-2005 San Antonio Spurs
(Season Record: 59-23, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-After the retirement of David Robinson, the Spurs missed out on going back to back, but they would bounce back the following year. After a solid regular season that saw them finish as the 2nd seed in the West, the Spurs came into the playoffs on a mission. After a solid first round series win over the Denver Nuggets, the Spurs got pushed to 6 games by the Sonics, defeated the Suns in 5 games, and then had a mostly  defensive led 7 game series against the Pistons in the NBA Finals that went down to the wire. The Spurs team wasn't flashy or extremely entertaining, but they got the job done, and that's really the bottom line for the NBA season. 

11. 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors
(Season Record: 73-9, Playoff Record: 15-9, NBA Western Conference Champions)

-Though on paper, this team possesses the most wins in an entire NBA season, they miss the top 10 for one major reason: they didn't finish the job. Their regular season is one of the greatest ever, and they were this close to winning their 2nd straight title. However, before they would end up blowing a 3-1 lead, the Warriors would have a record setting season, coupled with amazing play from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, breaking the 20 year regular season record of 72-10 by going 73-9. However, the playoffs saw far too much injuries and a mental momentum shift cost them in the end. They disposed of the Rockets and the Blazers in the first two rounds with ease, but had to overcome a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Thunder and go back to the NBA Finals. They would take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, but the Cavs made the ultimate comeback to win the NBA Title and put an asterisk next to the history making Warriors team. Speaking of the Cavs...

10. 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers (Season Record: 57-25, Playoff Record: 16-5, NBA Champions)

-This team isn't my personal favorite and they've only made the top 10 due to their historic comeback and playoff dominance. During the regular season, the Cavs weren't extremely impressive, but they did well enough to earn the no. 1 seed in the weaker Eastern Conference and they went into the playoffs focused. After two straight sweeps of the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, they faced a slightly tough challenge with the Toronto Raptors, needing 6 games to beat them before making the ultimate 3-1 comeback to win the NBA Title. Their playoff dominance is what earned them a top 10 spot and their comeback is what solidified it.

9. 2001-2002 Los Angeles Lakers
(Season Record: 58-24, Playoff Record: 15-4, NBA Champions)

-This is the most slept on team in the history of the Lakers dominance. Perhaps it was the fact that they had won two straight titles, but the Lakers didn't get enough credit for this season. With a better record than they had the previous season (yet they were the 3rd seed this season), the Lakers seemed poised to walk away with another title if they could make the Finals. The Lakers made easy work of the Blazers in the first round, sweeping them, then they would defeat the Spurs in 5 games in the 2nd round, before having a tough yet legendary and controversial series with the Sacramento Kings that went 7 games. After winning that series, the Lakers coasted to a 4 game sweep of the Nets to win their third straight title, affirming their greatness and solidifying their legacy as one of the greatest teams ever.

8. 2006-2007 San Antonio Spurs
(Season Record: 58-24, Playoff Record: 16-4, NBA Champions)

-The Spurs were such a dominant force in the 2000s, and the only team that rivaled them would be the Lakers. This Spurs team seemed to be one of the most dominant, especially in the playoffs. They would end up as the 3rd seed in the West, but seemed ready to take on any challenger. After losing game 1 of the first round to the Nuggets, the Spurs won 4 straight to finish them off, before being pushed to 6 games in their toughest series of the playoffs by the Suns. They would defeat the Jazz in 5 games in the Conference Finals and sweep a young LeBron James and the Cavs in the NBA Finals to walk away with the title. This season proved that you shouldn't beat against the Spurs. Ever.

7. 2007-2008 Boston Celtics
(Season Record: 66-16, Playoff Record: 16-10, NBA Champions)

-I was never a fan of the Celtics or their Big 3, but they came in and dominated everything instantly. They put Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce together, and the result worked out very well. After an amazing regular season, the Celtics got tested through the playoffs. They had two back to back 7 game series against the hungry Hawks and Cavs before taking out the Pistons in 6 games and winning the NBA Title in 6 games over the Lakers. They weren't the most dominant team in the playoffs, but their regular season dominance and winning the title earns them a higher spot on the list.

6. 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors (Season Record: 67-15, Playoff Record: 16-5, NBA Champions)

-We are witnessing something special with this Warriors team of the last few seasons and it will likely continue for the next couple seasons as well. This year was the year that Steph Curry jumped into the top 5 players list and won his first MVP. Klay would step up some more and Draymond was unleashed as the Warriors worked their way to a great 67-15 season record and they got prepared for the playoffs. After a gritty sweep over the Pelicans, the Warriors took a tough defensive team like the Grizzlies to the wire and beat them in 6 games before making easy work of the Houston Rockets in 5 games. They would face the Cavs in the Finals, but with two of their big 3 players out, the Cavs were clearly overmatched. The Warriors would win in 6 games and find the championship confidence they were lacking after 40 years without winning a title.

5. 2008-2009 Los Angeles Lakers
(Season Record: 65-17, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-This Lakers team was out for redemption. After losing to the Celtics the year before, the world was ready for the Lakers vs Cavs for the Bron vs Kobe Finals battle we all wanted. The Lakers had a great season, as Kobe was masterful all year, and Pau Gasol was exactly what he was needed to be in LA. The Lakers won 65 games, took the no. 1 seed, and began their playoff journey. After making easy work of the Utah Jazz in 5 games, the Lakers got pushed to 7 games against the Houston Rockets, before an epic Melo vs Kobe duel occurred when the Lakers beat the Nuggets in a tough 6 game series. The Finals saw the Orlando Magic vs The Lakers and the Lakers were just too much for the Magic, as the Lakers won the series in 5 games to win the NBA Title and give Kobe his 4th ring.

4. 2012-2013 Miami Heat
(Season Record: 66-16, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-This was the year that it all clicked for the Heat. This was the season that LeBron was playing his best basketball and the rest of the team followed. After going on an epic 27 game winning streak, the Heat would end up finishing the season 66-16, and gearing up for the playoffs. After looking very strong in the first two rounds with a sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks and a 5 game win over the Chicago Bulls, the Heat began to see fatigue set in possibly, as they were pushed to 7 games by the Indiana Pacers. Their biggest test would come in the Finals, as the Spurs had a 3-2 lead and seemed ready to win and celebrate before a Ray Allen three forced OT and the Heat forced a game 7. The Heat would win the NBA Title in 7 games to go back to back, and with their heroics in the Finals and their regular season dominance, they definitely deserve to be ranked as high as possible.

3. 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs
(Season Record: 62-20, Playoff Record: 16-7, NBA Champions)

-The 2013 Miami Heat set the tone for the redeem team that was the 2014 Spurs. They were on a mission to get the title that slipped out of their hands and they put in the work to make it happen. After going 62-20 in the regular season to earn the no. 1 seed, the Spurs were met by a huge challenge in the first round by 8th seed Mavericks, who they went on to defeat in 7 games. After an easy 5 game win over the Blazers, the Spurs managed to pull out a 6 game victory over the Thunder to make the NBA Finals once again. They had their mind on redemption over the Heat and they would get it in dominating fashion, defeating the Heat in 5 games, including a few blowouts. For their focus, their defense, and overall dominance, this Spurs is easily one of the best of the 2000s. It's not a debate.

2. 2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers (Season Record: 56-26, Playoff Record: 15-1, NBA Champions)

-The only thing preventing this team from being no. 1 is the regular season record and the lack of history making offense that the no. 1 choice has. Still, one could say the Lakers deserve the no. 1 spot for the dominance they displayed. With Kobe finally honing his game to get even better and Shaq showcasing his usual dominance, the Lakers seemed unstoppable in the playoffs. Despite internal struggles in the regular season, the Lakers would finish with the 2nd seed and come into the playoffs as the defending champions. They would dominate all the way through, sweeping the Blazers, the Kings, and the Spurs before facing off against the 76ers and Allen Iverson in the NBA Finals. Their playoff undefeated run was halted by a game 1 loss, but they would win the next 4 games to go back to back as champions and finish with an amazing 15-1 record in the playoffs. This Lakers team exuded greatness and their playoff record is a testament to that. They were THIS close to being no. 1 on the list, that's how great they were.

1. 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors
(Season Record: 67-15, Playoff Record: 16-1, NBA Champions)

-Yes. That's right. The Super Team Warriors are the best team of the 2000s and probably the 2nd best team ever. They are in a class of their own, and their regular season dominance alongside their playoff dominance makes them the best without question. Through the regular season, the Warriors were in firm control of many games, garnering huge victories over rival teams like the Rockets, the Spurs, the Cavs, the Thunder, and more. They were offensively out of this world, posting 115 points per game and averaging 30 assists a game, the first time that had been done. The combination of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala just proved to be too much. The playoff run was legendary as they swept the Blazers to kick off the run and did the same to the Utah Jazz to continue it. After a sweep of an undermanned Spurs team in the Conference Finals, the Warriors put on one of the most dominant Finals performances by defeating the Cavs in 5 games. It was the icing on the cake for a team that had very few struggles the entire season and finally found redemption for losing a 3-1 lead by going 16-1 in the playoffs and winning a NBA Title in the process. The Warriors are simply the best. Period.


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