When it comes to comparing players from different NBA eras, we’ve found that it’s nearly impossible. Their impact within the context of the period in which that played can’t be accurately quantified.
On top of that, players build off the new moves, trends, and creativity of the generation before them. The game evolves. What is considered a great handle in the 1950’s with Bob Cousy pales to Earl Monroe’s dribbling skills in the 1970’s. That looked like child’s play to Isiah Thomas (1980’s). Tim Hardaway and Allen Iverson both idolized Isiah and innovate (1990’s) to Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry (2010’s). Trying to compare Cousy’s dribbling abilities to Kyrie Irving’s bag, well there’s no 1:1 comparison, but the fact of the matter is Kyrie wouldn’t have the handle that he has without those creative players that came before him.
With teams? It’s a little easier to make a call on it.
The Best NBA Teams Win The Most Games
Though there are way too many variables, numbers, statistics, and intangibles to consider when comparing individuals from different decades, comparing teams from different eras is a lot easier. That’s because the dominance and greatness of teams can be easily boiled down to their win/loss record, winning percentages, and whether they went on to win the NBA championship.
We can simply reference this data to gauge just how dominant that particular team was against the rest of the league in that particular season. With those data points in mind, these are the 29 teams that had the best regular season records in the NBA’s 75 year history.
|1||Golden State Warriors||73-9||0.890||2016||No|
|3||Los Angeles Lakers||69-13||0.841||1972||Yes|
|7||Golden State Warriors||67-15||0.817||2017||Yes|
|7||San Antonio Spurs||67-15||0.817||2016||No|
|7||Golden State Warriors||67-15||0.817||2015||Yes|
|7||Dallas Mavericks||67-15||0.817||2007||Lost First Round|
|7||Los Angeles Lakers||67-15||0.817||2000||Yes|
|20||Los Angeles Lakers||65-17||0.793||2009||Yes|
|20||Los Angeles Lakers||65-17||0.793||1987||Yes|
No surprise seeing Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, the league’s two most-storied franchises in the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, and the most-recent most-dominant team in the Golden State Warriors appearing multiple times in the top ten.
Of the 29 teams that have posted the best win/loss records in the history of the NBA, 16 of them went on to win the NBA championship. With legal online sports betting available now, if you were to wager money on the team with the best regular season winning percentage to come out victorious in the ultimate 7 game series, you would have a better than 55% chance of that happening. At least according to this data. The fact that this list has teams from the same season (more on that in a minute) skews the data.
|2009||Los Angeles Lakers||65-17||0.793|
|2016||Golden State Warriors||73-9||0.890|
|2016||San Antonio Spurs||67-15||0.817|
If we remove the 1996 Sonics, the 1997 Jazz, the 2009 Lakers, and the 2016 Spurs, that means 15 teams out of 25 teams with best win/loss records went on to win the NBA championship. That improves the odds. So when a franchise posts an elite regular-season record, it often ends up with them winning the NBA championship 60% of the time (15/25).
An interesting fact is that in the 2016 season the two teams with the best records in the league both make this list. The Golden State Warriors posted the best regular season record and winning percentage in the history of the NBA; winning 73 games and losing just nine games. The San Antonio Spurs had the league’s second-best record at 67-15, but the NBA champion that season was the team with the third best record, the Cleveland Cavaliers won *just* 57 games that season. The LeBron James-led roster would go on to win one of the most-unlikeliest NBA championships when the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to the Warriors in the NBA Finals