NBA Playoffs - A new NBA era is here
By Jason Aniel
20 May 2015
OAKLAND -- Today marks the beginning of the NBA’s version of the “Final Four” as the Golden State Warriors open the Western Conference Finals at home against the Houston Rockets.
The next day, the Atlanta Hawks host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Remarkably, three out of the final four teams—the Warriors, Cavaliers, and Hawks—have historically been in the bottom third of the NBA.
Now, Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Warriors and the Cavaliers as the top two favorites to win it all.
Had this column been written 10, 15, 20, or even 30 years ago, it would have been considered a prank or an April Fool’s joke meant to simply amuse readers. However, this is no joke—the Hawks, Cavs, or Warriors could actually win an NBA title.
Here’s the list of teams that have won the NBA championship since 1984:
Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs
That’s it. Just 8 out of 30 teams in the NBA have won a championship since 1984. That’s less than 27 percent of the teams in the league. Out of the 8, only the Mavs have failed to win the title more than once.
Essentially, just seven teams have dominated the league over the past 31 years. This proves that the NBA is the toughest league to win a title. And this remarkable stat is not to diminish the competitive level in the NBA. There have been great teams that have failed to win the NBA championship. Most recently, the Oklahoma City Thunder at one time had James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook on the same team—yet they failed to win a title. Lebron James is the best overall player in the NBA, but only won a title when he joined the Miami Heat, a winning franchise.
Thus, other than the Houston Rockets, who won back to back titles in the mid 90’s, but are considered huge underdogs against the Warriors, a new NBA champion would not be one of the 8 franchises that have exclusively held a vice grip on the throne. Could this mark the beginning of the new ERA of the NBA, where the bottom third of the league now rise to the top?
The favorite to win the championship is the Golden State Warriors. And for good reason as they owned the best regular season record at 67-15. The Warriors have been consistently excellent since the start of the season.
Statistically, the Warriors are Top 2 in offensive and defensive efficiency. They also have the MVP of the league in Stephen Curry, and, as the top seed overall, have the best home record in the NBA.
For the Warriors, this has been the best season for the franchise so far. The Warriors have not been a relevant team in the league for the past 40 years since they last won a championship in 1975.
It’s just not that they have been irrelevant, but that they have been brutal. They had a streak of 12 straight losing seasons from 1993-2006, and just four playoff appearances since 2006. There was a time not so long ago where the biggest games of the year for the Warriors were the 2 games they played at home against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, the Warriors enter the biggest franchise game in the past 40 years—with each following game even bigger than the last.
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