Every NBA franchise, ranked (part 2)

Detroit Pistons 2004

Remember these guys? They used to be pretty good.


On Twitter, Jacob Greenberg of The Diss posed the following question:


After seeing someone respond with “Bucks” — many erroneously believe that consistently finishing the season in the 7-10 range is the worst place to be in the NBA — I felt compelled to examine the question a bit more closely. Using a very simple measure of success — regular season winning percentage, number of playoff home games, and coaching changes — I’m ranking every NBA franchise over the last 5, 10, and 15 years. Part 1 covered the last 5 NBA seasons. Today I’ll be looking at the top and bottom franchises of the last 10 NBA seasons.

[Editor’s note: now you can catch Part 3 of the series too!]

Top 5

1. San Antonio Spurs

  • W%: 70.4%
  • Home Playoff games: 71
  • Coaches: 1

Over the last five seasons, the Spurs had the best record in league, winning 69.3% of their regular season games. And the Spurs have been even better when you add in the previous five! The Mavericks are a distant second in the 10 year span, and they’re way down at 65.5%. Winning 70% of your games is the equivalent of winning just under 58 games in a season. And the Spurs do it every year.

2. Miami Heat

  • W%: 58.7%
  • Home Playoff games: 71
  • Coaches: 3

They haven’t been 100% consistent — anyone remember the 2007-08 season? — but in the last 10 years, the Heat have won three championships and made it to the Finals four times. The only team to match that number of Finals appearances in that time is the Lakers, and the Lakers “only” won it all twice.

3. Dallas Mavericks

  • W%: 65.5%
  • Home Playoff games: 45
  • Coaches: 3

The Mavs have had excellent regular season success over the past 10 years, but haven’t been as successful in the playoffs. Still, Dallas has had two Finals appearances and one ring. Most teams would kill for that kind of success, and rightly so.

4. Los Angeles Lakers

  • W%: 62.1%
  • Home Playoff games: 64
  • Coaches: 6

Over the last 10 years, there have essentially been four different Lakers teams: Shaq-Kobe, Kobe and the Kobettes, Gasol-Kobe, and last year’s Nash-Howard experiment. All have had wildly differing levels of success. But we know that the Lakers are generally very good, and certainly very entertaining to follow.

5. Boston Celtics

  • W%: 56.3%
  • Home Playoff games: 57
  • Coaches: 3

The Celtics are quite good if we’re measuring them over the last five seasons, but the five seasons before that were mostly painful. Until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived, the team was headed in the wrong direction. It’s a good thing for Celtics’ fans that Danny Ainge chose to acquire his stars through trade instead of tanking and the draft; this could’ve been a painful ten year period.

Bottom 5

30. Charlotte Bobcats

  • W%: 34.6%
  • Home Playoff games: 2
  • Coaches: 5

The Bobcats have actually only been around for nine NBA seasons, but they belong here. Sure, they have one less year in the sample and are the only expansion team during the period, but there is no doubt that the Bobcats have been the worst team in that time. They have the worst winning percentage by a large margin and have hosted the fewest playoff games.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • W%: 37.6%
  • Home Playoff games: 10
  • Coaches: 6

Remember what I said about Kevin Love being grumpy about being a perpetual loser with the T-Wolves? Ten years ago, the same could also have been said for Kevin Garnett, and we all know how that ended up: really, really good. For the Celtics.

28. New York Knicks

  • W%: 42.8%
  • Home Playoff games: 12
  • Coaches: 7

The Knicks have had a bit of a resurgence over the past three seasons, but in the six seasons before that they averaged only 29 wins per year. Building the team around a pile of shot-happy scorers didn’t work out so well for the original Isiah Thomas. Watch out Knicks’ fans, because with Andrea Bargnani joining Carmelo Anthony and Amaré Stoudemire, history could be repeating itself.

27. Sacramento Kings

  • W%: 41.8%
  • Home Playoff games: 11
  • Coaches: 6

It may be ancient history to many NBA fans, but before missing the playoffs for seven straight seasons, the Kings used to be pretty good. Three seasons of playoff appearances in the last ten years are enough to keep Sacramento from the bottom of the bottom.

26. Toronto Raptors

  • W%: 41.4%
  • Home Playoff games: 5
  • Coaches: 4

The Raptors have the distinction of having hosted fewer playoff games over the last 10 years than anyone in the NBA outside of Charlotte. They’ve also posted the fourth-worst winning percentage during that time. With more and more Canadian players in the NBA, it will take a lot more success to convince homegrown talent to play for Canada’s only NBA team.

Final Notes (and Results)

Once again the Bucks are absent from the bottom five teams, although, at seventh from the bottom, they are much closer to being hopeless this time. What’s interesting to note is how much of a difference a mere five years can make. For example, over the last five years the Pistons are 24th — 7th from the bottom — but over the last ten years they rank 7th. Five straight Conference Finals appearances will do that to your ranking.

Here is the full table of results:

Rank Team Percentile (10Y)
1 San Antonio Spurs 99.6%
2 Miami Heat 95.6%
3 Dallas Mavericks 92.8%
4 Los Angeles Lakers 89.8%
5 Boston Celtics 89.3%
6 Denver Nuggets 79.2%
7 Detroit Pistons 77.3%
8 Phoenix Suns 68.1%
9 Utah Jazz 67.9%
10 Indiana Pacers 67.1%
11 Houston Rockets 65.8%
12 Cleveland Cavaliers 62.3%
13 Oklahoma City Thunder 55.7%
14 Chicago Bulls 53.7%
15 Atlanta Hawks 47.3%
16 Orlando Magic 46.5%
17 Memphis Grizzlies 34.8%
18 New Orleans Pelicans 33.3%
19 Los Angeles Clippers 32.8%
20 Brooklyn Nets 24.6%
21 Portland Trailblazers 24.1%
22 Golden State Warriors 21.7%
23 Washington Wizards 19.1%
24 Milwaukee Bucks 19.1%
25 Philadelphia 76ers 18.7%
26 Toronto Raptors 17.7%
27 Sacramento Kings 14.3%
28 New York Knicks 12.7%
29 Minnesota Timberwolves 9.4%
30 Charlotte Bobcats 6.5%

– Devin

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