The NBA's most succesful teams that couldn't clinch a playoff spot

Friday, 19 April 2024 at 03:19
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We decided to take a look into the best NBA non-playoff teams throughout the history of the league. Inspired in what happened with the Golden State Warriors last Tuesday, when they were eliminated from playoff contention by the Sacramento Kings. That Warriors squad finished the regular season with a solid 46-36 record, but still couldn't earn playoff access.
Throughout the history of the league, there have been some cases in which teams that finished with very positive records (above .500) weren't able to reach that season's playoffs. The Warriors had a very good record that if theye were in the East, it would've allowed them to be at the 8th spot and therefore, have more chances to advance to the postseason.
Plagued with on-court and off-court situations, Golden State still was able to turnaround their season since February, when they began to play better basketball which led them to win consistantly. However, they payed the price of not making those adjustments early in the campaign, they underestimated the amount of competition and wins that the rest of the Western teams could get. The result? They went to the play-in and loss badly against the Sacramento Kings.
Like the Warriors this season, plenty more memorable campaigns had the same outcome in the last decades, such as the Denver Nuggets back in 2018, the Warriors again, playing without Klay in 2021 and that Oklahoma City Thunder the year Durant got injured, back in 2015.
10. 2013-14 Utah Jazz | Best player: Al Jefferson | Record: 43-39
9. 2020-21 Charlotte Hornets | Best player: Miles Bridges | Record: 43-39
8. 2002-03 Houston Rockets | Best player: Steve Francis | Record: 43-39
7. 2000-01 Seattle Supersonics | Best player: Gary Payton (23.1 ppg)| Record: 44-38
6. 2004-05 Minnesota Timberwolves | Best player: Kevin Garnett (22.2 ppg) | Record: 44-38
5. 2020-21 Golden State Warriors | Best player: Stephen Curry (32 ppg) | Record 39-33
4. 2014-15 Oklahoma City Thunder | Best player: Russell Westbrook | Record: 45-37
3. 2017-18 Denver Nuggets | Best player: Nikola Jokic (18.5 ppg) | Record: 46-36
2. 2007-08 Golden State Warriors | Best player: Baron Davis (21.8 ppg) | Record: 48-34
1. 2013-14 Phoenix Suns | Best player: Goran Dragic | Record: 48-34