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Best NBA Teams To Not Win The Championship Since 1990


Over the past 25 years there have been some great teams that weren't able to capture an NBA championship. Whether they were around during the Jordan era, choked in big playoff games, or were the victim of an alleged officiating conspiracy, the following teams weren’t able to get it done in the post season.

My criteria for this is simple, either a team was able to reach the conference finals or NBA finals and lost in a close series, a team was loaded with talent or the reigning league MVP and lost in any round of the playoffs, or a team had a fantastic regular season record and lost in any round of the playoffs.

2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves

Head Coach: Flip Saunders
Regular Season Record: 58-24 (1st in the west)

    • Leading Scorer: Kevin Garnett (24.2 PPG)
    • Assists Leader: Sam Cassell (7.3 APG)
    • Leading Rebounder: Kevin Garnett (13.9 RPG)
    • Leading Shot Blocker: Kevin Garnett (2.2 BPG)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Kevin Garnett (Most Valuable Player, All Star, 1st Team All NBA, 1st Team All Defense), Sam Cassell (All Star).

Best Player: Kevin Garnett
Other key Players: Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Wally Szczerbiak.

The 03-04 Timberwolves were eliminated in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals by the Los Angeles Lakers.

2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers

Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Regular Season Record: 56-26 (2nd in the west)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Kobe Bryant (All Star, 1st Team All NBA, 1st Team All Defense), Shaquille O’Neal (All Star, 1st Team All NBA, All Star Game MVP).

Best Player: Shaquille O’Neal
Other key Players: Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, Karl Malone.

The 03-04 Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in game 5 of the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons.

1995-96 Seattle SuperSonics

Head Coach: George Karl
Regular Season Record: 64-18 (1st in the west)

    • Leading Scorer: Shawn Kemp (19.6 PPG)
    • Assists Leader: Gary Payton (7.5 APG)
    • Leading Rebounder: Shawn Kemp (11.4 RPG)
    • Leading Shot Blocker: Shawn Kemp & Ervin Johnson (Both averaged 1.6 BPG)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Shawn Kemp (All Star, 2nd Team All NBA), Gary Payton (All Star, Defensive Player of the Year).

Best Player: Gary Payton
Other key Players: Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf, Hersey Hawkins, Sam Perkins.

The 95-96 Seattle SuperSonics were eliminated in game 6 of the NBA Finals by the Chicago Bulls.

1997-98 Indiana Pacers

Head Coach: Larry Bird
Regular Season Record: 58-24 (3rd in the east)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Reggie Miller (All Star, 3rd Team All NBA), Rik Smits (All Star)

Best Player: Reggie Miller
Other Key Players: Rik Smits, Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Jalen Rose.

The 97-98 Indiana Pacers were eliminated in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Chicago Bulls.

1992-93 Phoenix Suns

Coach: Paul Westphal
Regular Season Record: 62-20 (1st in the west)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Charles Barkley (Most Valuable Player, All Star, 1st Team All NBA), Dan Majerle (All Star, 2nd Team All Defense).

Best Player: Charles Barkley
Other Key Players: Dan Majerle, Kevin Johnson, Cedric Ceballos, Tom Chambers, Danny Ainge.

The 92-93 Phoenix Suns were eliminated in game 6 of the NBA Finals by the Chicago Bulls.

1994-95 Orlando Magic

Coach: Brian Hill
Regular Season Record: 57-25 (1st in the east)

    • Leading Scorer: Shaquille O’Neal (29.3 PPG)
    • Assists Leader: Anfernee Hardaway (7.2 APG)
    • Leading Rebounder: Shaquille O’Neal (11.4 RPG)
    • Leading Shot Blocker: Shaquille O’Neal (2.4 BPG)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Shaquille O’Neal (All Star, 2nd Team All NBA), Anfernee Hardaway (All Star, 1st Team All NBA).

Best Player: Shaquille O’Neal
Other Key Players: Anfernee Hardaway, Dennis Scott, Horace Grant, Nick Anderson.

The 94-95 Orlando Magic were eliminated in game 4 of the NBA Finals by the Houston Rockets.

2001-02 Sacramento Kings

Coach: Rick Adelman
Regular Season Record: 61-21 (1st in the west)

    • Leading Scorer: Chris Webber (24.5 PPG)
    • Assists Leader: Mike Bibby (5.0 APG)
    • Leading Rebounder: Chris Webber (10.1 RPG)
    • Leading Shot Blocker: Chris Webber (1.4 BPG)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Chris Webber (All Star, 2nd Team All NBA), Peja Stojakovic (All Star), Doug Christie (2nd Team All Defense).

Best Player: Chris Webber
Other Key Players: Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac, Doug Christie, Peja Stojakovic, Hedo Turkoglu, Bobby Jackson.

The 01-02 Sacramento Kings were eliminated in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals by the Los Angeles Lakers.

1999-00 Portland Trail Blazers

Coach: Mike Dunleavy
Regular Season Record: 59-23 (3rd in the west)

Individual Awards & Achievements: Rasheed Wallace (All Star), Scottie Pippen (2nd Team All Defense).

Best Player: Scottie Pippen
Other Key Players: Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas Sabonis, Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Bonzi Wells, Detlef Schrempf.

The 99-00 Portland Trail Blazers lost in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers after blowing a 15 point 4th quarter lead. 

 



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