Making the playoffs is the ultimate goal for most NBA teams, as they know anything can happen and they’ll have a huge shot at making it to the Finals. Otherwise, they would have to settle for lottery picks.
Even so, it looks like some teams are just not made to make the playoffs, as they are always falling short of the goal and getting an early vacation after struggling to get wins throughout the season.
Over the last couple of years, some teams have entered a mediocrity pit and struggled to even make it to the playoffs as the 8th seeded team of their conference. Today, we’re going to make their fans suffer by talking about the teams with the longest active playoff drought.
12. Memphis Grizzlies (2 Seasons)
The Memphis Grizzlies were used to making the playoffs during the ‘grit-and-grind’ era, but since Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Tony Allen left the team, it went all downhill for Mike Conley’s team.
Conley is the last man standing there and they’re unlikely to contend for a playoff berth for several years. During their last trip to the playoff, they got knocked out by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round.
11. Atlanta Hawks (2 Seasons)
The Atlanta Hawks were stuck on a mediocrity spiral for quite some years, and even though they had a solid core with Al Horford, Demarre Carroll, Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, and Paul Millsap, they lacked a true game-changer.
Now, the team has landed a couple of top-tier prospects that can finally bring some joy to this team in Trae Young and John Collins. The last time they were in the playoffs, the Wizards beat them in 6 games in the first round.
10. Chicago Bulls (2 Seasons)
The last time the Chicago Bulls made it to the playoffs, they were up 2-0 against the Boston Celtics before Rajon Rondo got hurt and they eventually lost in 6 games for an embarrassing first-round exit.
Still, now that this team has finally embraced the tank and put together a decent young core featuring Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr, Wendell Carter Jr, and Lauri Markkanen, they’ll be back in no time.
9. Detroit Pistons (2 Seasons)
The Detroit Pistons have been a synonym of mediocrity for a couple of years now, as they’ve struggled to make the most of their Draft picks and have also been humiliated in the playoffs over and over.
The last time they actually made the playoffs, they were swept in the first round by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gladly, they have Blake Griffin to try and put an end to their drought once and for all.
8. Charlotte Hornets (2 Seasons)
Kemba Walker needs to get the hell out of the Charlotte Hornets if he ever wants to have any kind of playoff success, as this team has been one of the league’s laughing stocks for over a decade.
The Hornets are still struggling to make the playoffs despite LeBron James heading out the door and the Eastern Conference still being up for grabs. The last time they made it, they were beaten in 7 games by the Heat in the 1st round.
7. Dallas Mavericks (3 Seasons)
Ever since beating the odds and defeating LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t exactly been the most competitive team in the league, especially in the Western Conference.
The last time they made it to the playoffs, they were beaten in the 1st round by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gladly, the Luka Doncic – Kristaps Porzingis core looks bound to take them back to the promise land pretty soon.
6. Brooklyn Nets (3 Seasons)
The Brooklyn Nets entered win-now mode right when they moved the team from New Jersey, but needless to say, their experiment with Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce failed miserably.
Now, the team looks keen to make a splash in the playoffs thanks to D’Angelo Russell, but the last time they made it, they were completely dominated by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, beating them in 6 games.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (6 Seasons)
Even though they’re the second-winningest team in the history of the league, the Lakers haven’t been able to be as dominant as they once were, and not even LeBron James’ arrival was enough to take them back to the playoffs.
The Lakers young core is quite promising and they have enough cap space to finally put an end to this drought next season, but the last time they made it, they were crushed by the Spurs, who swept them in the 1st round.
4. New York Knicks (6 Seasons)
The New York Knicks haven’t been able to live up to the city’s expectations in years, and fully embracing the tank hasn’t done much to help their pursuit for a franchise player, although that may come to an end if they land Zion Williamson.
The last time they made it to the playoffs, they were beaten by Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Should they land Durant and Irving in the summer, they’ll be Championship contenders.
3. Orlando Magic (6 Seasons)
The Orlando Magic are one of the worst teams in the world, mostly because they haven’t been able to find a franchise player since parting ways with Dwight Howard, completely striking out in the Draft year after year.
They’re trying to make a late playoff push this season, which will end their 6-year drought once and for all. The last time they were in the playoffs, they lost in 5 games in the first round against the Pacers.
2. Phoenix Suns (9 Seasons)
It looks like the Phoenix Suns just can’t stop losing regardless of how many top 10 picks they get in the Draft, as they haven’t been able to find success since the ‘7 seconds or less’ Mike D’Antoni’s tenure.
The Suns haven’t been to the playoffs in almost a decade despite being one of the driving forces in the Western Conference back then. The last time they made it, they lost in the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
1. Sacramento Kings (13 Seasons)
And the most embarrassing record in the league right now goes to the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t been to the playoffs in almost 15 years despite having DeMarcus Cousins for a very long time.
Even so, their young core featuring De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley looks quite promising and they were fighting for a playoff berth for most of this season. The last time they made it, they lost in the 1st round against the Spurs.