DAR Sports: Ranking The Championship Teams Of The 2010s

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA essentially has hit another boom period of sorts in this current decade, as the three point revolution, the evolution of the big man, and dominant players have made the 2010s a wonder to watch, and while dominance has been the norm during this era, there are multiple championship teams since the start of the decade officially with the 2010-2011 season. With that, we wanted to rank every championship team since the 2010-2011 season and you might be surprised at the worst team on the list, and why. When ranking the championship teams, we wanted to look at the entire year and the details of the season. So, while these are championship teams, it is still a process to get there. Today, we look at the process and rank these teams. Where do the Mavs land? The Cavs? The KD-less Warriors? The Heat? The Spurs? The Warriors with KD? Read on and find out.

8. 2011-2012 Miami Heat
(46-20, 2nd Seed In East)

-So, if you are a Bron fan, you might be surprised to see this team at the bottom of the list, but to me, this was the least impressive of all the wins on this list. The Heat were the favorites to win the title and despite a younger OKC team, there should have been no doubt who would win this year. What disappoints me about the season on a whole is that the Heat didn't even secure the no. 1 East seed in the shortened lockout season and that the officials in the NBA Finals were very sketchy in how they called the games. The reality is, the Heat were a great team, but after a very tough and hard fought battle against an aging Celtics team that took a 3-2 lead in the ECF, and the 5 game victory over the inexperienced OKC team, something about this championship doesn't resonate as much as their second title. Perhaps the fact that Bron won his third MVP in this shortened season despite this superteam not even making the no. 1 seed (and having the third best record in the NBA) in the lesser East played a role in why I don't have them higher. Regardless, the Heat would win the title, bringing Bron his first title, which is a great feat regardless.

7. 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks
(57-25, 3rd Seed In West)

-It was tough to rank this team and I wanted to put them higher, but compared to these other teams in the list, this Mavericks team is right at the bottom of the list, but still higher than the 2012 Heat for what they overcame. If it wasn't for the fact that the Mavericks team missed the top seed in the West, they would likely be top 5 on this list. Sure, the team was overlooked by some, but anyone who watched this 57 win team knew what they were capable of. After a 6 game first round win over the Blazers, they would sweep the Kobe Bryant led and defending champion Lakers, before defeating the young and hungry Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games in the Western Conference Finals. They would be underdogs against the Miami Heat "super team", but manage to neutralize LeBron James and defeat them in 6 games, marking one of the craziest victories in NBA history. If the Mavs had showcased a bit more dominance during the regular season, they would be ranked a little higher. In terms of the playoffs, they would be ranked as one of the better teams, but taking into account the entire year, they essentially a really good team that showcased their greatness in the playoffs and shocked most of the world. For that, the Mavericks deserve all of the credit in the world, and I wish I could put them higher, but it is tough to rank them higher than anyone else, even though they have a top 5 case to be made. Regardless, their greatness is beyond solidified.

6. 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers
(57-25, No. 1 Seed, Erased 3-1 Deficit In NBA Finals)

-So, you might be shocked to see the Cavs listed so low here, near the end of the list, but I can explain. Yes, they pulled off an amazing feat. Yes, they are the team that came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Title, but if we are being honest, their path to the title was lackluster. After an easy first round victory over the Pistons and a second round sweep of the Hawks, the stacked Cavs team made easy work of the Raptors team, and took them out in 6 games. What puts this Cavs team higher than the Mavs and the 2012 Heat is that they were perennial underdogs and overcame the greatest regular season team of all time. While the Mavs fit this description as well in terms of being underdogs, they did not overcome the odds quite like this Cavs team. LeBron and Kyrie worked together to overtake this team and slow down the beaten down Warriors, and although this Golden State team had their share of injuries, losing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals was almost unthinkable, until this Cavs team proved it was possible. Will we ever see a feat like this again? Probably not, but the Cavs deserve to at least be top 6 on this list for that reason alone. Kyrie and LeBron together were unstoppable when they needed to be.

5. 2017-2018 Golden State Warriors
(58-24, Swept NBA Finals, Back To Back Titles)

-So, this team is definitely one of the best and you might be wondering how a 58 win team that finished as the no. 2 seed makes the top 5, but there are a few elements to it. The Houston Rockets were the no. 1 seed in the West, the Toronto Raptors finished with a better record than this team. However, injuries played a major part in the lack of regular season success for the Warriors. They were supposed to win another title. That was a given. It was expected. They were not expected to have the hardships and the injuries that they would have and if the injuries hadn't took such an impact on the team, this is likely a 64-65 win team. However, missing Steph Curry for 30 games, Klay Thompson for an extended period of time for the first time ever, Kevin Durant for a few weeks, Draymond Green off and on throughout the season, as well as Andre Iguodala missing extended time during the regular season and pivotal moments in the playoffs, not to mention the injuries to the rookie Jordan Bell, small injuries to David West and more, and the fact that this team kept it together and won the title in mostly dominating fashion is amazing. The only small crack in their armor came during the Western Conference Finals when they went down 3-2, much like the 2013 Heat who went down 3-2 in the NBA Finals, but the Warriors found their strength and won that series and swept the Cavs in 4 games. Iguodala was not healthy. Klay was not healthy. Steph wasn't 100%. KD seemed disengaged a few games. Draymond was banged up. Yet, this Warriors at times seemed more focused than the team we had witnessed the previous three seasons, and while this is the least impressive season of their three titles run, it still is a top 5 season of this decade, if only for the injuries and ups and downs they overcame.

4. 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs 
(60 Wins, No. 1 Seed)

-I think the Spurs were overrated a little bit due to how easily they defeated the Miami Heat, but they did have their fairshare of problems in the Western Conference before then. Winning 60 games, securing the no. 1 seed and then defeating the tough Oklahoma City Thunder who had the MVP Kevin Durant  in the Western Conference Finals were impressive in a way, but their easy gentleman sweep of the Heat is what make them crack the top 5. This Spurs team is the last championship of the Tim Duncan era and despite his numbers, the Spurs definitely found a way to neutralize LeBron and his teammates. The Spurs would win the title, Kawhi Leonard would win Finals MVP, and the Spurs dynasty would have their final moment in the sun before only experiencing regular season the following years.

3. 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors 
(67 Wins, No. 1 Seed In The West)

-It is crazy to think about the 2015 Warriors and how epic their season was, because essentially, most people didn't appreciate their season at first. Hell, some people still don't. The fact remains, this Warriors team was the original, the organic. Bred by the slogan Strength In Numbers, the Warriors coasted to the best offensive and defensive rating, with the MVP on their side in Steph Curry. Klay Thompson became an All Star this year, Draymond Green was unleashed and Andre Iguodala showcased just what he can do when called upon. This Warriors team was seen as a jump shooting team, and with Steph Curry setting a then record for most threes in a season, they were accused of lacking toughness. In the playoffs, toughness would be the reason why we would see the Grizzlies take a 2-1 lead and the Cavs take a 2-1 lead, but watching this team adjust and find themselves was honestly something amazing to watch occur. The Warriors would showcase their defensive ability and their toughness in spurts this season and in my opinion, this is a top 3 season in the decade. Steph Curry was robbed of the Finals MVP, but regardless, this season was great. One of the best we've seen and it tends to go overlooked due to the injuries that plagued the Cavs in the Finals. Regardless, as it stands now, this is a top 3 season from start to finish.

2. 2012-2013 Miami Heat
(66 Wins, No. 1 Seed, 27 Game Win Streak)

-The Heat were definitely one od the greatest teams ever and while I personally would take the 2018 Warriors over them, I still think the Heat were something amazing. Wade was still great and played at a high level, the same could be said for Bosh, and Bron had a season that was out of this world, which paved the way for the epic NBA Finals matchup with the Spurs. Everything about this season was full of drama, suspense, and entertainment and this is the season I fully believe the Heat went from the most hated team to an appreciated dynasty in the making (that never materialized fully), or at least the respect was given. Ray Allen and his shot, Bron and his Game 6 and 7 heroics, the classic Eastern Conference Finals battle between the Pacers and the Heat, the playoffs were competitive for the most part, and the Heat deserved every bit of accolade they received. This was the GOAT Miami Heat season and the best Bron season overall. Give credit where credit is due.

1. 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors
(67 Wins, 16-1 Playoff Record, Highest Offensive Rating)

-Kevin Durant and his first year as a Warrior made for the greatest team of the decade and the greatest team since the 1996 Bulls, with only the 2001 Lakers being considered as competition. Steph Curry was magnificent, Draymond Green was the Defensive Player Of The Year, Klay Thompson was amazing as always, and KD essentially found his way as one of the best players in the game, if not the best player in the entire game. He would work on his defensivs prowess, become even more efficient, and played off ball a lot. Moving in an offense where they share the ball instead of the ISO based offense he was used to in OKC, KD made tremendous strides and had an excellent regular season before an unfortunate injury took him out for almost two months. During that time, Steph shined, Klay kept it going, but what might be the most amazing thing about this season came in the playoffs. The Warriors looked unstoppable this season all year, and would go 12-0 in the West and then 15-0 in the playoffs before losing a controversial Game 4, then close the game out for a 16-1 playoff run and the NBA Title. The Warriors were offensively ridiculous and defensively amazing in both the regular season and playoffs, and they would put their names in the history books as well. I don't imagine the 2018-2019 Warriors beating this season, but it is certainly possible. Who will be the next team to add to this list? The new NBA season is slowly approaching and we shall find out soon enough.



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