DAR Sports: The 15 Most Disappointing NBA Teams Of All Time

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA is well known for the great moments and teams, but what about those times when it just didn't click? What about the times when it just didn't go as expected? Well today, that's what we're discussing, as we take a serious look at the 15 most disappointing teams in NBA history. Let's get into it.

*1972-1973 Boston Celtics 
(Record: 68-14)

-A 68-14 record doesn't guarantee you an NBA Finals appearance apparently, and there's no better evidence than this one here. The greatest season record in Celtics history ended with them coming up short in the 1973 playoffs, as they lost in the Conference Finals to the eventual champion Knicks. This has to be the most disappointing season in the Celtics history, and it's certainly one of the top disappointing seasons in the history of the NBA.

*1993-1994 Phoenix Suns 
(Record: 56-26)

-I was a believer in the Suns once Jordan retired. After giving the Bulls a tough time in the 1993 Finals, I expected the Suns to be back in the Finals the next year and finally get Barkley a ring. Consider it fatigue, consider it choking, consider it what you want, but the Suns blew a 3-1 lead over the Rockets in the Semifinals of the playoffs. They were THIS close to getting to the Conference Finals and they couldn't close out the Rockets. This is probably the 2nd most disappointing season in Charles Barkley's career. The first? We'll get to that in a second.

*1996-1997 Houston Rockets 
(Record: 57-25)

-There's not a season more disappointing to me than this one. The Rockets had won two titles in 1994 and 1995 and decided to create a super team to chase more rings after Jordan came back to the NBA. There was only one problem: they were getting older. The 3rd seed in the West, with the aging Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler all together would have certainly made the Finals and won a championship.... in the early 90s. In 1997, it was a lot tougher to get beyond these younger teams like the Seattle Supersonics, the up and coming Los Angeles Lakers, and of course the more polished Utah Jazz team. This team could have competed for a title, but were bested in the Conference Finals by the Jazz. The most disappointing season for Barkley and the end of their opportunity to win a championship due to age and injuries.

*1997-1998 Los Angeles Lakers
(Record: 61-21) 

-As a kid, I was really excited at the prospect of what could have happened in the 1998 playoffs. Imagine the Lakers going to the Finals and a huge battle between the young Lakers with Kobe and Shaq against the Bulls, Jordan and Pippen? It would have been a clash of epic proportions, but their youth came back to cost the Lakers in the long run. They ran through the Blazers, the Supersonics, before falling in 5 to the Jazz in the Conference Finals. With over 60 games won, and momentum and youth on their side, this was their chance to make the Finals. The Jazz just wanted that rematch with the Bulls more.

*2000-2001 Portland Trailblazers 
(Record: 50-32)

-This was the season I expected the Trailblazers to compete again in the playoffs after nearly making the Finals the year before, but I was severely let down during this year. They struggled to finish as strong as the previous year in the regular season, and once they got to the playoffs, they seemed nothing like a team that was poised to possibly win the West and make the Finals. The year prior, they pushed the Lakers to the limit in the Conference Finals, but this year, they lost in a sweep to the Lakers in the first round. A world of difference.

*2001-2002 Sacramento Kings 
(Record: 61-21)

-Amazing shooters with accuracy and efficiency? Check. Chris Webber? Check. Vlade Divac? Check. The no. 1 record in the West? Check. A chance to win a championship? Check. Did they win the title? No. Their controversial series with the Lakers in the Conference Finals seemed to be leaning towards the Kings to take it, as they were up 3-2, but they just couldn't seal the deal. It was disappointing to watch them get so close, only to blow it, though I think that year in the NBA, the Kings were easily the best team during the regular season. Their lack of championship experience cost them in the long run.

*2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers
(Record: 56-26)

-I know. I know. They made the Finals. However, the biggest disappointment is that against a weaker and underdog Detroit Pistons, this Lakers team seemingly didn't gel and would get beaten very easily in 5 games in the NBA Finals. Beyond that, the Lakers had the aging Karl Malone and Gary Payton on their team and injuries would play a part in their lack of success. Shaq would get hurt, Malone would get hurt, and the triangle offense didn't suit Gary Payton so much, but Kobe at least shined brightly this season. They had a dream team style roster, but couldn't even finish with the no. 1 seed in the West. This was one of the most disappointing Lakers seasons, but since they made the Finals, it isn't the MOST. That will come a little later. Stay tuned.

*2004-2005 Phoenix Suns 
(Record: 62-20)

-The team that was an offensive juggernaut in the NBA due to Mike D'Antoni and his style of coaching, and it earned him coach of the year honors, along with Steve Nash two MVP awards. They also managed to earn the no. 1 seed in the West and seemed comfortable in the playoffs until they ran into defensively sound San Antonio Spurs and lost in the Conference Finals. The Suns seemed like they were destined to make the Finals, but it just didn't go that way for them.

*2005-2006 Detroit Pistons
(Record: 64-18) 

-The best record in Pistons regular season history meant virtually nothing. They were destined to make the Finals and win the title after a tough loss to the Spurs the year prior in a 7 game series. The Pistons were still great and I think they may have ran out of gas during the playoffs after that tough 7 game Semifinals series against the Cavs or they were just outmatched by the tandem of Shaq and the young in his prime Dwyane Wade. Either way, the no. 1 seed and the best record meant nothing during the Conference Finals.

*2006-2007 Dallas Mavericks 
(Record: 67-15)

-This is legitimately the most disappointing on the list due to how quickly their season ended. It's rare that you see the team who won the entire conference and has the MVP lose in the first round, but this is exactly what happened to the Mavericks in a huge shocker. The underdog 8th seed Golden State Warriors came in on the home court of the Mavericks and beat them rather easily in 6 games. This was truly disappointing, but also baffling at how easily the Warriors handled the no. 1 team in the West. This was supposed to be the revenge of Dirk after losing to the Heat the year before.

*2008-2009 Cleveland Cavaliers 
(Record: 66-16)

-LeBron James was the man. This was the year he officially became the best player in the NBA, but he couldn't translate that into a championship. This seemed like the year. The Cavs breezed through the regular season, gaining a league best 66-16 record and the no. 1 seed in the East and the world was ready for a championship battle between the Lakers and the Cavs. It was not to be, as the Cavs came up short against the Orlando Magic in the Conference Finals.

*2010-2011 Miami Heat 
(Record: 58-24)

-This team was supposed to steamroll through the NBA and win a championship easily. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but.... well, you remember. However, that was not the case. This Heat team struggled with chemistry at first, but soon found it, and ended up with the 2nd seed in the East. You'd not be surprised that they ran through the East in the playoffs, but what did surprise me was the lack of effort put forth by the super team of LeBron, Bosh, and Wade in the Finals against the Mavericks. The Heat would lose in 6 games and it's remembered as one of LeBron's worst Finals performances ever.

*2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers
(Record: 45-37)

-On paper, this team should have been amazing. This should have been a top 2 seed in the West. However, the most disappointing team in NBA history flopped and we watched them go down very quickly in the NBA playoffs. Steve Nash. Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol. Dwight Howard. How could a tandem like this fail? Simple. Lack of team chemistry. They never really worked well together and of course, Kobe was aging and began experiencing huge injury problems, so the Lakers may have been doomed from the start. What a disappointment.

*2015-2016 San Antonio Spurs 
(Record: 67-15)

-You may be shocked to see the Spurs here. Don't be. The no. 2 seed. A MVP candidate. The one team who looked like they could stop the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. A huge home winning record. The best record in Spurs history. We were all geared up for what was sure to be a Spurs vs Warriors Conference Finals battle. Before the season started, I picked the Spurs to win it all because they had made some amazing acquisitions during the offseason and were primed to be no. 1 or 2 in the West. They managed to do that, but what sticks out to me is how they were no match for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Semifinals and got soundly defeated in 6 games. I'm disappointed we didn't get the Spurs vs Warriors Conference Finals, but in due time, perhaps this season.

*2015-2016 Golden State Warriors 
(Record: 73-9)

-How could the greatest regular season team be one of the most disappointing? It's simple. Blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals. Healthy or not, the Warriors still had enough pieces and choked under pressure when it mattered most. The greatest regular season team missed out on a back to back title opportunity and lost in the Finals. To have made so many records and not win a championship is hugely disappointing, and it ranks up there as a top 5 disappointing season, maybe even top 3. In the aftermath of their disappointing loss in the Finals, the Warriors picked up Kevin Durant and are now primed as the no. 1 seed in the West. If they don't win a title or make the Finals this year, you'll certainly see the Warriors on this list down the line again.



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