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Each Conference’s Best Team In The Last 10 Seasons: Warriors Dominated The West, Different Teams Succeeded In The East

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Each Conference’s Best Team In The Last 10 Seasons: Warriors Dominated The West, Different Teams Succeeded In The East

The goal of every NBA season is for teams to win games, with the achievement of crowning an NBA champion. There is only one champion each season, and teams scramble every offseason to build a team that is good enough to compete for one of the top-3 seeds in each conference. Having higher seeding is the goal to avoid better teams in the playoffs and set themselves up for sustained success.

It is time to name the best teams per conference every season over the past 10 years. It is expected that the majority of these teams have had superstar players on their roster, or otherwise utilized a playbook built off teamwork and spreading the wealth. For one particular team, teamwork with multiple All-Stars led them to hold the best record in the West 4 times in the last 10 years, with an incredible 73-9 record in the history books. Here are the best teams over the last 10 seasons in each conference.

Eastern Conference

2012 NBA Season - Chicago Bulls (50-16)

One season after Derrick Rose became the youngest MVP ever, the Chicago Bulls regrouped and finished with the best record in the NBA. In the lockout-shortened season, the Bulls managed to hold onto the (tied) best record in the league with Rose only playing 39 games. With the likes of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah picking up the slack; the Bulls were a very good team although they would lose in the first round of the playoffs.

2013 NBA Season - Miami Heat (66-16)

Led by the MVP in LeBron James, the Miami Heat were a force in all areas of the court. They had the most talent in the NBA from start to finish and looked on a path of destruction since capturing the championship the year before. As expected, the Heat won it all but their dominance in the regular season was the main reason why.

2014 NBA Season - Indiana Pacers (56-26)

The Indiana Pacers had a sensational season in 2014, finishing with the best record in the East thanks to Paul George and the breakout season from Lance Stephenson. The Pacers were dominant defensively led by George and the massive presence of Roy Hibbert and went as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers did not have enough to defeat the Heat but had their most successful season in years.

2015 NBA Season - Atlanta Hakws (60-22)

The Atlanta Hawks had a memorable season in 2015 with 4 of their starting lineup making the All-Star Team in the East. Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver all made the All-Star Team by playing like a team and spreading the wealth every game. Their seeding helped them make the Eastern Conference Finals but LeBron James and the Cavaliers swept them in convincing fashion.

2016 NBA Season - Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)

Arguably the greatest season of LeBron James’ career, The King led the Cavaliers to the best record in the East and there was hardly any competition. No team had the talent, experience, and hunger that James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love possessed. With their Big Three, the Cavaliers made the Finals yet again and completed a 3-1 deficit to win it all. Despite the Warriors breaking the regular-season record, the Cavaliers became the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

2017 NBA Season - Boston Celtics (53-29)

Somehow, the Boston Celtics led the East in wins thanks to MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas and a group of defensive stalwarts including Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics played like a team, using Thomas as their go-to option every night. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals but ran into LeBron James and the Cavaliers. This would also be the last season that Thomas would suit up for the Celtics as a Kyrie Irving trade would be imminent.

2018 NBA Season - Toronto Raptors (59-23)

The Raptors had a great season in 2018 thanks to their All-Star duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan averaged 23.0 PPG while appearing in 80 games, and Lowry chipped in 16.2 PPG and 6.9 APG in 78 games. The Raptors were a solid team that was built off teamwork led by Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, but they did not have postseason success thanks to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

2019 NBA Season - Milwaukee Bucks (60-22)

The era of Giannis Antetokounmpo started in 2019, because the Greek Freak won MVP by averaging 29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 5.6 APG. No player had the regular season impact of Giannis, who carried the Bucks to the best record in the East. But the Bucks were not ready for championship success just yet, as they would suffer a rather early playoff exit.

2020 NBA Season - Milwaukee Bucks (56-17)

With Giannis winning his second straight MVP and adding a Defensive Player of the Year accolade, the Bucks finished with the best record in the East again. In the Covid-shortened season, the Bucks were expected to blow away the competition. But once again, they suffered an early playoff exit and criticisms about Giannis began to surface.

2021 NBA Season - Philadelphia 76ers (49-23)

With the presence of MVP candidate Joel Embiid and All-Star Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers were a force on both ends of the floor. Despite finishing with the #1 seed in the East, Embiid finished runner-up to Nikola Jokic in the MVP Race, and we would witness the final days of a motivated Simmons in a Philly uniform as the team lost in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not to mention, Giannis and the Bucks would get over the hump and win it all in the Finals.

Western Conference

2012 NBA Season - San Antonio Spurs (50-16)

The San Antonio Spurs finished with the best record in the West thanks to a prime Tony Parker leading out an older Tim Duncan (35) and Manu Ginobili (34) every night. With Gregg Popovich at the helm, the Spurs were the best all-around team in the NBA. The only issue was that they could not usurp Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals, because they did not have a star of that magnitude in their prime anymore.

2013 NBA Season - Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22)

Despite losing James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder were a force behind Kevin Durant (28.1 PPG) and Russell Westbrook (23.2 PPG). The dynamic duo was nearly unstoppable during the season, finishing with the best record in the West and going after their second-straight Finals appearance. It never happened, lending one to wonder what would have been if they kept Harden on the team.

2014 NBA Season - San Antonio Spurs (62-20)

The 2014 season was revenge time for the San Antonio Spurs. After losing in the Finals one year prior, the Spurs regrouped with a budding Kawhi Leonard and their Hall of Fame core of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich. The Spurs were on a mission from day 1 of the regular season and exacted their revenge in the end by defeating Miami in a record margin in the Finals.

2015 NBA Season - Golden State Warriors (67-15)

The Golden State Warriors era started in 2015 because the squad was stacked thanks to MVP Stephen Curry and dynamic players such as Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Key players such as Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala completed the “Death Lineup” that ultimately changed the game. The shooting of Curry and company was too much for any team to handle, as they finished with the best record in the West and won the championship.

2016 NBA Season - Golden State Warriors (73-9)

The incredible team play of the Warriors returned in 2016, once again finishing with the best record in the West. This time, they shattered the Chicago Bulls 72-10 record and completed a feat no one thought was possible. Like the Bulls before them, the Warriors were miles ahead of any team thanks to their MVP Stephen Curry. The core group once again made the Finals but this time, fell to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

2017 NBA Season - Golden State Warriors (67-15)

Yet again, the Golden State Warriors topped the Western Conference except they had even more help: former MVP Kevin Durant. With Durant on the team that already featured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green; the Warriors were unstoppable. Sweeping through the regular season and postseason, the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in 5 games in the Finals.

2018 NBA Season - Houston Rockets (65-17)

With Golden State employing a three-point heavy offense with spacing, the Houston Rockets did the same with their core of James Harden and Chris Paul. The backcourt worked to perfection under Mike D’Antoni’s offense principles, and other key pieces such as Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza provided defensive leverage. The Rockets had the Warriors on the ropes in the Western Conference Finals, but an untimely Chris Paul injury killed the team’s chances of winning it all.

2019 NBA Season - Golden State Warriors (57-25)

The 2019 season was a difficult one for the Golden State Warriors, because of how the playoffs ended. They once again had the best record in the NBA thanks to Durant, Curry, Thompson, and Green; but everything fell apart in the playoffs. Durant and Thompson both got hurt, giving the Toronto Raptors enough room to win it all in the Finals.

2020 NBA Season - Los Angeles Lakers (52-19)

With a shortened season, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to give LeBron James the rest he needed to push on for his 4th NBA championship. With James and Anthony Davis on the roster, the Lakers were a force in all areas of the floor. The King and Davis proved to be the best duo in the league as they finished 1st in the West and won it all.

2021 NBA Season - Utah Jazz (52-20)

Nobody expected the Utah Jazz to play as well as they did, finishing with the best record in the NBA thanks to the play of their All-Star duo: Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz were a force on defense and their spacing on offense allowed role players such as Joe Ingles (45.1% from three) and Jordan Clarkson (18.4 PPG) to proper as well. Utah were great all year, and have a chance to repeat it again this season.


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