Both forwards, who were first and sixth, respectively, in scoring for the Suns that season, were suspended for Game 5. Jordan is the greatest player of all time, but he had plenty of teammates who accentuated his abilities. He made eight All-Defense teams over the course of his career, but 1986-87 may have been his peak. But there was talent and laser-focused execution up and down this roster that lasted well beyond the 72-win regular season. Over the 523 postseason minutes in which Billups, Hamilton, Prince and the two Wallaces shared the floor, Detroit was a staggering plus-14.6 points per 100 possessions. Cowens put up 20.5 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Wade and Bosh did plenty of damage as the second and third options. "He can do it all, and he makes everybody around him better. 4 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers to win your League. Peja Stojakovic, Deshawn Stevenson and Dirk were all in the top 12. Then there's Kevin Love, who was played off the floor by fast-paced Golden State on more than one occasion. Altogether, this team was a dominant force. "Holding that [Finals] MVP trophy over his head, Dwyane Wade realized he was the best player in the league. For one, they had a better version of Kobe. "It's a joke how good he is," Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh said ahead of the 1994 Finals. During that time, hundreds of legendary basketball players have stepped onto the court. When all four were on the floor, Boston scored, "I was a little bit upset that I didn't get the MVP that year and they gave it to Charles Barkley," Jordan, In Game 1 against Drexler's Blazers, Jordan drilled six threes in the first half before giving the world his famous, Some are quick to point out the injuries suffered by other teams during their playoff run, but all the numbers indicate, "I was ready to become a scorer," he said, per, "On" is something of an understatement when describing Magic's own offense in 1986-87. His 13 triple-doubles trailed only Russell Westbrook's total that season. He was the MVP and trailed only Julius Erving in box plus/minus. Frazier led the team in scoring (21.1) and assists (5.9) and was third in rebounds (7.3) behind DeBusschere and Reed. DeBusschere, Bradley, Jerry Lucas and Reed made up the rotation of forwards and centers (all would eventually make the Hall of Fame), and Earl Monroe gave Frazier a backcourt mate who had previously proved himself one of the league's best scorers with the Baltimore Bullets. Durant's first season with the Warriors was perhaps the most seamless integration of a new superstar in NBA history. Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton were both in the top 75, as well. "It's the greatest upset in the history of the NBA, by far, there's nothing even comparable to it," Barry told the Times-Standard in 2013. In the 559 minutes those two played together in the postseason, Dallas was plus-12.3 points per 100 possessions. The 1969-70 Los Angeles Lakers, which featured Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, won a Game 6 Reed missed by 22 points, forcing a Game 7. Curry, two years later. They ranked 22nd and 48th, respectively, in box plus/minus that season, giving Utah four players in the top 50 (Malone and Stockton were third and fifth). Against the Rockets, he put up 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.3 steals. Seven averaged at least 2.0 assists. He had a 7.7 box plus/minus in the regular season, an 8.6 BPM in the first three rounds of the postseason and an 11.4 BPM in the Finals. L.A. destroyed every team in its path, sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and top-seeded San Antonio Spurs on a run through the West. His 23.9 points per game led the team, and he managed 8.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.7 blocks in his age-34 season. Like the Lakers' 2001-02 playoff run, though, this one wasn't as squeaky-clean as the record might suggest. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers: Considered one of the greatest offensive teams of all-time, the 76ers took off after a new coaching staff made the shrewd tactical decision for Wilt Chamberlain to be much taller and better than everyone they played against. He only mustered four points on that injured thigh, but the emotional boost he provided helped the Knicks upend the star-studded Lakers. Jerry West, meanwhile, had dominated the NBA as a scorer for 11 seasons prior to 1971-72 (he had the sixth-highest career scoring average of all time to that point) but had never won a title. In Game 1 against Drexler's Blazers, Jordan drilled six threes in the first half before giving the world his famous shrug. The best teams across history were similarly influential. Bird, of course, was the clear No. The Lakers were plus-8.4 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, compared to minus-8.1 when he was off. Boston went 66-16 during the 2007-08 season. Three years after beating the Lakers for the organization's first NBA title, the 1972-73 New York Knicks made it back to the mountaintop. The top four teams based on our custom G.O.A.T. Norm Nixon pitched in 17.6. This was also the first season for Manu Ginobili, the last season for David Robinson and a breakout campaign for Tony Parker. Not only do they have the decade's best simple rating system, they boasted an MVP in Larry Bird, Sixth Man of the Year and former MVP Bill Walton, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish still in (or near) their peaks and a solid supporting cast around the stars. They were 1st in the NBA in offensive rating and a top 7 team defensively as well which is a recipe for success and a common trend that we have seen with the other teams on our list. And, as seems to be the case with the modern Rockets, they were ahead of the analytical curve, leading the NBA in three-point attempts per 100 possessions. Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace finished the 2003-04 campaign 16th, 21st and 47th, respectively, in BPM. They ended a major sports championship drought for the city that dated back to 1964, when the Browns finished at the top of the NFL. Cedric Maxwell and Gerald Henderson, two more holdovers from the 1980-81 team, also averaged double figures. Led by Pat Riley, the 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers were one of the best teams to ever take the floor in LA. A far cry from what we saw in the past but against this type of competition if was very good to see. JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye all made meaningful contributions, as well. Heinsohn went for 18.8 points and 9.7 rebounds. This squad was deep, gritty and led by a superstar. And in the Finals, they dominated Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. With Jordan gone, that was a tough sentiment to challenge, especially after the Rockets secured that 1994 championship. They'll say, 'Why would you do that?' I can't imagine this team without him.". But Golden State pulled together to shock the world. "But me being compared to him, I took offense to that.". That wasn't all, though. "And when we came together and we all played our part, it was like a perfect song and dance.'. The league averages for those marks in 2007-08 were 107.5 and 49.7, respectively. And this series gave us one of the most iconic images and moments of Jordan's career. Rick Fox and Robert Horry were both growing into the roles they'd enjoy for much of the three-peat. The three effectively sent Game 6 into overtime. KG was the vocal middle linebacker who managed everything, and everyone on the roster appeared committed to their assignments. Among the teams sampled from 2000 to 2009 for this exercise, the Celtics finished first in simple rating system, net rating and relative defensive rating, a, When KG was on the floor, Boston's opponents scored, Seemingly every rotation was made perfectly. The Warriors had eight players who averaged at least six points in the playoffs. This season isn't without controversy, though. That season, he averaged 22.1 points and 3.5 threes while shooting 42.5 percent from deep and often saving Curry from the hassle of defending opposing 1s. In just his second season, Duncan averaged 21.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.4 assists. John Stockton was a few years past his prime, but he was still plenty impactful too. In fact, Wade finished 10th in MVP voting. Having both suddenly on the same team, one that also included Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, made the word "unfair" seem woefully inadequate. And they were led by Stephen Curry, who may have had the greatest individual offensive season ever. Dantley demurred. This Warriors team went 67-15 and ran through teams in the playoffs going 16-1 en-route to an NBA championship. Bill Russell was the clear leader of the 1958-59 Boston Celtics. "McCloskey pulled Dantley aside one day after a Pistons practice. "But with that said, OK, fine, you can have that. Golden State had three of them (Curry, Durant and Thompson). And Bill Laimbeer was an early pioneer for stretch bigs. Near the twilight of their careers, Tony Parker (16.7) and Tim Duncan (15.1) were still the team's leading scorers. They finished with a league-best 66 wins, LeBron won his second straight MVP, and Wade finished 10th in MVP voting. Wade might've been even better in the playoffs, too. The Lakers have had many superb teams over the years but in my opinion, this was their best one. Wilt Chamberlain had won a title with the 76ers in the '60s, but after spending much of his career chasing Bill Russell, another one would do wonders for his legacy. On June 28, 2007, Boston made a draft-night deal that sent Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and a second-round pick to the Seattle Supersonics for Glen Davis and Ray Allen, the latter of whom was coming off an age-31 season in which he averaged 26.4 points and 3.0 threes while shooting 37.2 percent from deep. Throughout that season, the Warriors dominated their competition. Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 threes and 1.7 steals in the postseason. His 4.8 box plus/minus is the sixth-best ever for a first-year player. "I was ready to become a scorer," he said, per Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum. Against the Los Angeles Lakers alone, that five-man lineup was plus-41 in 121 Finals minutes. Much has been made of the "Big Three" model of roster construction since Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces on the Celtics for the 2007-08 season, but they certainly weren't the first legendary trio to dominate an NBA season. The whole squad came together brilliantly in the playoffs and beat West, Chamberlain and the Lakers for the second time in the Finals. Of course, the unquestioned leader remained Russell. In the Finals, San Antonio was pushed to a Game 7 against the defending champion Pistons. His 4.7 assists trailed only K.C. Some other names you'll recognize from this roster include Paul Silas, Don Nelson and Hall of Famer Paul Westphal, who went on to enjoy a much bigger role later in his career. I'm just trying to win. The previous offseason was filled with fireworks for the Celtics. The 1974-75 Washington Bullets went 60-22 in the regular season. The next, in which the 1963-64 Boston Celtics secured Bill Russell's seventh of 11 titles, saw Havlicek take off to the tune of a team-leading 19.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists. John Salley was an elite rim protector, averaging 1.9 blocks in just 23.3 minutes. And he maintained his dominant performance through the postseason. In the future, "But Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson didn't play..." may be a common refrain when people discuss the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors. In 1999-00, he was 12th in the league in BPM, but his 22.5 points per game suggested he was a clear No. In the 1970-71 season, the Milwaukee Bucks were a franchise that was only 3 seasons old but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t compete right away. Miami went on to win that and Game 7, giving the Heatles their repeat championship. He was 10th in the league in points per game, but when you limit the sample to those who matched or exceeded his 60.2 true shooting percentage, he trailed only Bird and McHale. Kareem still had plenty to offer, though. But again, this is about Shaq and Kobe, and they were a force in 2001-02. And he took home Finals MVP after both series. Believe it or not, Robert Horry was second to O'Neal among Lakers in postseason BPM thanks to his versatile defense at the 4 and a 38.7 three-point percentage. But three more regular-season wins, a better simple rating system, Sam Jones' peak season and overcoming a monster Wilt Chamberlain performance in the playoffs gave the edge to the 1964-65 Boston Celtics. Two of the top five players of all time took them a long way toward a title, but the depth was certainly important too. "Fo', Fo', Fo'," or three straight sweeps. And a supporting cast that included Tom Heinsohn, Tom Sanders, Willie Naulls and K.C. On the off chance there's anyone left who thinks Jordan might've had a tougher time dominating today's three-heavy game, they need not look much further than the 1991-92 Chicago Bulls' Finals victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Behind averages of 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals, LeBron was the 2012 league MVP. Wilt wasn’t in his prime with the 71-72 Los Angeles Lakers but he sure was on the 66-67 Philadelphia 76ers. And he clearly wasn't satisfied with that level of regular-season production. This was also the season that may have led to "KD has overtaken LeBron" takes being more common. In fact, his average for assists increased to 5.5 in the playoffs. They also hummed like Phoenix previously had on the other end. That postseason, though, it was all about Bird. His 45.7 field-goal percentage was also 6.2 points above the league average. Of course, this team had plenty of talent beyond MJ. "When The Captain was lying on the floor in pain, I wasn't sure if he could return or not.". Houston also received solid contributions from a young Robert Horry, Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith, Vernon Maxwell, Mario Elie and Sam Cassell that season. John Havlicek added another 18.3. Chicago was plus-29.1 points per 100 possessions when those four were in the game, the best mark in the league among four-man lineups with at least as many minutes. And his basic averages of 18.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.8 assists in just 28.0 minutes were nothing to sneeze at. The only player who has come close? Jordan was the main attraction, with Pippen as a worthy supporting actor. After a hard dribble right, Jordan stopped, crossed over to his left, sent Russell flying and shot the pull-up that proved to be the Finals sealer. San Antonio had nine players with at least 500 minutes and an above-replacement-level BPM, and the group's connectivity on defense led to a stifling effort in the postseason. Like every other team on this list, though, the Cavs were about more than their stars. Of course, LeBron didn't pull this off on his own. These Celtics were a defensive juggernaut. They went on to go 37-13 in the shortened regular season and 15-2 in the playoffs and defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the NBA Finals. Jones' mark in that category. And Bosh was an All-Star. The best basketball executives build championship teams. In 1976-77, Walton averaged 18.6 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.2 blocks and 1.0 steals. Ron Harper carried over his role from the dynastic Chicago Bulls as head coach Phil Jackson's triangle point guard. That season, the Philadelphia Warriors, led by Joe Fulks, won the title. He upped that assist average to 8.4 in the playoffs. And everyone coalesced to dominate in the playoffs. John Havlicek, Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White, all Hall of Famers, were the top three scorers. And it couldn't have gone through the rim much cleaner. B.J. Jim McMillian and Happy Hairston didn't garner the same level of accolades during their careers, but they were certainly critical to the success of this particular team. Tony Parker added 18.6 points and 5.5 assists per game, and Manu Ginobili provided 16.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 threes per contest off the bench while leading the team in BPM. That postseason, Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas teammates made a habit of surprising the competition. And they had a couple things going for them that other Warriors teams did not. San Antonio slowed things down and held the Suns to 104.0 points per game in that series, over six points below their league-leading regular-season average (110.4). And they were even more dominant in the heightened intensity of the playoffs. And that postseason, MJ averaged 35.1 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 38.9 percent from deep and connecting on a playoff career-high 28 threes. The "Seven Seconds or Less" offense led by Steve Nash lit the NBA up to the tune of a league-best 62 wins, and the spread pick-and-roll principles it employed can be seen in the DNA of most current teams. That eliminated a couple of regular-season powerhouses that fell apart in the playoffs, including the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers. Andrew Toney added 19.7 points. In his age-37 season, Allen averaged 10.9 points and 1.8 threes off the bench while shooting 41.9 percent from deep. And Sam Jones was also a double-figures scorer. It just didn't feel right to omit Olajuwon and the only team to interrupt MJ's reign, though. Some teams, meanwhile, do their damage over the long run instead of having any one standout season. "If you talk to people who have been around the league," longtime Portland play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely said in 2017, "they'll tell you that if Bill Walton would have been healthy for a longer period, he might have gone down as the best center ever.". They came up short. There's no way to know what Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain would look like in 2019-20 (or with 2019-20 fitness, nutrition and equipment). And that's not the only similarity here. Ramsey averaged 15.4 points. Believe it or not, Hakeem Olajuwon's title teams actually struggled a bit under the objective criteria. Teams scored an average of 105.1 points per 100 possessions in the 2003 playoffs. Both had skill sets that were ahead of their time. We were also introduced to the so-called "death lineup" during this season. Beyond Russell, this roster featured six more Hall of Famers: Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Frank Ramsey, Sam Jones and K.C. That postseason, he averaged 32.4 points and comfortably led the NBA in wins over replacement player. When those five shared the floor, Golden State was plus-27.0 points per 100 possessions (plus-16.7 in the playoffs). Jordan would finish that 33-point blowout with 39 points and 11 assists. Statistically, 1995-96 was the climax of the Phil Jackson-led dynasty. His vision, unselfishness, passing ability and desire to get the ball quickly up and down the floor made this one of the most dynamic offenses in league history. His 6.9 box plus/minus trailed those of Robinson and Malone, and it was the second-lowest mark of his career (only his truncated 1994-95 was worse). 1996-2016: 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 172.7 Win Shares, 1-time MVP, 15-time All-NBA, 5-time champion The final two of those titles cemented Bryant in … Jordan’s 30.4 PPG that season was impressive but the team around him led by Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and more is what really put this team over the edge. This team was also the beneficiary of one of Andrew Bogut's best seasons. Facing that three-big rotation was daunting for the opposition. That regular season, Jordan had finally started to show signs of mortality. These are the 10 Best NBA Finals Series of All-Time by Darrelle Thompson on June 7, 2019 The first few games of the 2019 NBA Finals delighted fans as both the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors threw heavyweight punches at each other.
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