With the Warriors losing two games through their first 17 games of the season, is their belief that the team can set a new wins record? The Warriors own the league-best 73 wins from 2015-2016, so it is a stretch, but anything is possible. We have some other teams such as the Nets, Suns, and Wizards off to hot starts. Maybe, they can make a run at their franchise mark for wins too.
Some teams have the talent to win 60 games this season. So far, the top part of the conference standings features some competitive teams, while others are trying to figure it out. Others are wishing that their win-loss record would be reversed. Every team wants to win as many games as possible. Here are the best win/loss seasons from each team.
Atlanta Hawks - 62-20 (2014-2015)
The Hawks won the Southeast Division title for the first time in team history. It was the first divisional title since the team won the Central Division in 1994. It was the best finish by the team since the 1993-1994 season. The franchise record in wins led by four players receiving All-Star status. That included Al Horford, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Jeff Teague.
The Hawks earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage. The team rode their season to the Conference Finals, which was their first-ever appearance since moving to Atlanta. However, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a four-game sweep. It was the first time that a No. 1 seed was seated in the Conference Finals since the Pistons in 2003.
Boston Celtics - 68-14 (1972-1973)
The Celtics finished with the best record in the league and have owned this record for wins ever since. Third-year forward Dave Cowens won the MVP Award, beating out the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tiny Archibald. John Havlicek made the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team. It was the second straight season that the Celtics won the Atlanta Division.
In the playoffs, the Celtics battled the New York Knicks to a grueling seven-game series in the Conference Finals. The eventual champion Knicks defeated the Celtics in Game 7. Jo Jo White, Cowens, and Havlicek were among leading scorers, while Paul Silas had back-to-back 20-rebound games.
Brooklyn Nets - 52-30 (2001-2002)
The season was notable for the Nets when the team acquired All-Star Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns in the offseason. The Nets also used their top draft pick (Eddie Griffin) in a trade to acquire Richard Jefferson and rookie center, Jason Collins. The Nets finished with their best record since joining the NBA in 1976. Technically, the Nets finished with 58 wins in the 1974-1975 season, but they were a member of the ABA and not the NBA.
Kidd was credited for helping the Nets go from 26-56 to winning 52 wins the following year. Kidd finished second to Tim Duncan in the MVP voting and was named to the All-NBA First Team and First Team Defensive Team. Kenyon Martin and Keith Van Horn provided about 14 points apiece. Under the guidance of the regime, the team made their first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals but were swept in four games by Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers.
Charlotte Hornets - 54-28 (1996-1997)
Who knows how much better the team could have been? After all, in the summer of 1996, the Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant with the No. 13 overall pick but traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. However, the Hornets finished with their most wins in franchise history despite finishing fourth in the Central Division.
Divac and Matt Geiger were the best center combo in the league as Divac averaged 12.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks, while offseason pickup Anthony Mason averaged 16.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, and earned All-NBA Third Team status. Sixth man Dell Curry averaged 14.8 points off the bench. However, the Hornets were swept by the Knicks in three games.
Chicago Bulls - 72-10 (1995-1996)
In the offseason, the Bulls acquired controversial star Dennis Rodman and it was a huge pickup. Rodman led the league in rebounding, while Michael Jordan averaged 30.4 points per game to win the MVP Award. Scottie Pippen averaged 19.4 points and the Big 3 were the deadliest group in the league as the Bulls won an NBA-record 72 games. Toni Kukoc was named Sixth Man of the Year after he averaged 13.1 points off the bench.
In the playoffs, the Bulls swept the Heat in three games and took care of the Knicks in five games in the next round. In the Conference Finals, the Bulls got their revenge over the Magic by sweeping them. In the Finals, the Bulls took down Gary Payton’s SuperSonics in six games. The combined 87-13 record in the regular and postseason is the best-combined record in NBA history.
Cleveland Cavaliers - 66-16 (2008-2009)
When looking back at LeBron James’ accomplishments in Cleveland, this season has to be a top highlight. After all, LeBron played alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for three years and the team never finished with more than 66 wins. LeBron did this with Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao, and Mo Williams as his supporting cast.
LeBron won the MVP with a stat line of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. In the playoffs, the Cavaliers swept the Pistons in the first round, and the Hawks in the second round. In the Conference Finals, the Cavaliers were heavily favored to beat the Magic, but Dwight Howard’s crew had different plans, defeating the Cavaliers in six games. Had LeBron made the NBA Finals, it would have been the matchup we all wished we saw: LeBron vs. Kobe Bryant.
Dallas Mavericks - 67-15 (2006-2007)
The Mavericks were coming off a season that saw the team finish as the runner-up in the NBA Finals to the Heat in six games. The previous year, the Mavericks went 60-22 and improved by seven games to win the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Dirk Nowitzki won the MVP after averaging 24.6 points and 8.9 rebounds.
In the first round, the Mavericks lost to the Golden State Warriors, the No. 8 seed, in six games. It was a complete utter shock. The Mavericks became the third No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 8 seed, following the SuperSonics in 1994 and the Heat in 1999. The Mavericks had the second-best offensive rating in the NBA, but couldn't make a run back to the NBA Finals.
Denver Nuggets - 57-25 (2012-2013)
Despite having Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, and Nikola Jokic all wear the uniform in recent memory, the Nuggets’ best season came without any of these players. The season featured the best finish by the franchise since joining the NBA in 1977. The team traded for Andre Iguodala in the offseason, while Ty Lawson averaged a career-high 16.1 points.
Other contributors featured Danillo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, and Wilson Chandler. Head coach George Karl won Coach of the Year but was fired after the Nuggets lost in the first round of the playoffs. It would be the last time the team would make the playoffs until 2019.
Detroit Pistons - 64-18 (2005-2006)
The Pistons wanted to improve from their 54-28 season the year before but didn't expect to see the team improve by 10 games. The Pistons were coming off a season that saw the team lose to the Spurs in the NBA Finals as well. The season was superb as four All-Stars were represented by Detroit in Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, and Richard Hamilton.
Wallace ended the year winning his historic fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award, but the team came up empty in the playoffs. Detroit defeated the Bucks in the first round and then the Cavaliers in a tough, seven-game series. For the fourth consecutive season, the Pistons made the Conference Finals but were dethroned by the eventual champion Miami Heat, led by Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.
Golden State Warriors - 73-9 (2015-2016)
The historic season was not perfect. The Warriors had a historic regular season that saw the franchise win an NBA-record 73 games. Steph Curry was named the first-ever unanimous MVP. After winning the title in 2015, the team made it back to the NBA Finals with a rematch against the Cavaliers.
In the Finals, the Warriors held a 3-1 series lead and lost three consecutive games. The Cavaliers became the first team in Finals history to successfully overtime a 3-1 deficit. It also marked the first time since 1978 that a Game 7 was won by the road team. With the Cavaliers winning, it was the fourth time a team won the championship after losing the first two games of a series and the first time since the 2006 Heat.
Houston Rockets - 65-17 (2017-2018)
The Rockets acquired star points guard Chris Paul from the Clippers in an offseason trade. The Rockets broke the franchise record for most wins over Paul’s former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, in the regular season. The team clinched the No. 1 seed with their 65 wins, which was the first seed in franchise history.
In the playoffs, the Rockets defeated the Timberwolves in the first round and then defeated the Jazz, both in five games. In the Conference Finals, the team was defeated by the Warriors in seven games. During Game 7, the Rockets missed 27 straight three-point shots and lost 101-92. James Harden was named the regular season MVP.
Indiana Pacers - 61-21 (2003-2004)
During the offseason, former head coach Larry Bird was named President of basketball operations. Bird fired head coach Isiah Thomas and replaced him with the more defensive-minded Rick Carlisle. The Pacers got off to a hot start, winning 14 of their first 16 games. Their streak continued all season as they propelled to the No. 1 seed in the East and guaranteed home-court advantage.
Jermaine O’Neal was named All-NBA Second Team and finished third in the MVP voting. It was the highest finish by a Pacer in team history, while Ron Artest was named Defensive Player of the Year. In the playoffs, the Pacers swept the Celtics in the first round and then took down the Heat in six games. It was the sixth time the Pacers played in the Conference Finals in their last 11 seasons, but the eventual Pistons defeated the Pacers in six games.
Los Angeles Clippers - 57-25 (2013-2014)
“Lob City'' was on its highest display this season. After years of developing chemistry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan had one of their best seasons together. Paul and Griffin made the All-Star team. Jordan led the league in rebounding, while Jamal Crawford won the Sixth man of the Year. The Clippers won the Pacific Division for a second straight year and secured the No. 3 seed.
In the playoffs, the Clippers defeated the Warriors in a tough seven-game series that featured Griffin and Crawford dominating the scoring. In the second round, the Clippers went toe-to-toe with MVP Kevin Durant of the Thunder and had the series tied 2-2. However, the Thunder stole a close 105-104 Game 5 and then another close Game 6 by a score of 104-98 to end the magical season.
Los Angeles Lakers - 69-13 (1971-1972)
The season featured one of the best teams to ever take the court in the history of the NBA. The Lakers set an NBA record for wins in a season, a record that stood for 24 seasons until the Bulls broke the record in 1995-1996. During the season, the Lakers won 33 games in a row. Their combined 81 wins between the regular season and postseason was a record that stood for 14 years until the Celtics did it in 1986.
The championship was redemption for the franchise, which had repeatedly been beaten by the Celtics in the 1960s, which included losing six of eight times in the Finals. Head coach Bill Sharman retooled Wilt Chamberlain’s game to focus on defense and rebounding. With guards Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, the Lakers were able to beat the Knicks in five games.
Memphis Grizzlies - 56-26 (2013-2014)
It was the 12th overall season for the Grizzlies since moving to Memphis and it was their best overall season in franchise history even dating today. The season saw the team make the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. The tandem of Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol proved to be one of the best combinations in basketball.
Gasol was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as the team held opponents to 89.3 points per game. Zach Randolph paired with Gasol made the Grizzlies a big team to guard. This was the last time a team allowed under 90 points per game in a season. The Grizzlies marched to the Conference Finals with wins over the Clippers and the top-seeded Thunder, but the team was bounced in four games by the Spurs. At the end of the season, head coach Lionel Hollins was fired.
Miami Heat - 66-16 (2012-2013)
The big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh combined to make one of the greatest teams in NBA history. During the regular season, the Heat embarked on a 27-game winning streak, which ranked as the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at the time. This was the best overall season for the big three as James won his fourth MVP Award, missing winning the award unanimously by one vote.
In the postseason, the Heat nearly didn’t make the NBA Finals. The Pacers played the Heat to a seven-game series in the Conference Finals, but the Heat became the first team to three-peat as the Eastern Conference championships with the win. The Heat then defeated the Spurs in seven games in a series that featured Ray Allen’s heroic Game 6 three-point shot. It then became the second year in a row that LeBron won Finals MVP.
Milwaukee Bucks - 66-16 (1970-1971)
The Bucks featured some of the greatest names ever on the team. It was the third year of existence for the Bucks at the time and its second since drafting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A key part of the team winning the championship was when the team acquired Oscar Robertson. Other role players included Bob Dandridge, Jon McGlocklin, and power forward Greg Smith. The season featured a 20-game winning streak, which ranks fifth-best all-time.
The Bucks won the Midwest Division and the NBA championship. Abdul-Jabbar led the league in scoring, won the regular season MVP, and the Finals MVP. It would be 50 years before the Bucks would win another title, but their regular-season win total has remained untouched.
Minnesota Timberwolves - 58-24 (2003-2004)
This remains the best overall season in franchise history. During the offseason, the team acquired four-time All-Star Latrell Sprewell. Sam Cassell, who won two titles with the Rockets, was also acquired to help Kevin Garnett, who had been leading the team to multiple playoff appearances. The team finished with the best record in the Western Conference and won its first and only division championship.
Garnett finished the season with 24.2 points, a league-high 13.9 points, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.2 blocks to be named the MVP. The team defeated the Nuggets in five games in the first round and then pushed the Kings to the limit by winning a close Game 7. In the Conference Finals, the Lakers lineup of Shaq, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone defeated the Wolves in six games. This remains the only season the Timberwolves have ever won a playoff series.
New Orleans Pelicans - 56-26 (2007-2008)
It was just the sixth season the Hornets (name at the time) played in New Orleans. The Hornets had the sixth-best offensive rating in the NBA and a lot of that had to do with the play of Chris Paul. Their play helped head coach Byron Scott earn the Coach of the Year Award. It’s the only season that a New Orleans franchise has won 50 games in a season.
Their record secured the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Paul became the first player in NBA history to have at least 30 points and 10 assists in his first two playoff games. The Hornets were eventually defeated by the Spurs in seven games. The team would not win another playoff series until the 2017-2018 season.
New York Knicks - 60-22 (1992-1993)
During the offseason, the Knicks acquired Charles D. Smith, Doc Rivers, Bo Kimble, Rolando Blackman, Tony Campbell, and Herb Williams. The team finished the season winning 24 of their final 28 games to lead the Eastern Conference with the most wins and earn the No. 1 seed in the 1993 playoffs. Madison Square Garden was their home domain as the team finished 37-4 at home.
Head coach Pat Riley was named Coach of the Year, while Patrick Ewing earned All-NBA Second Team honors. John Starks made the All-Defensive Team, while Smith, Anthony Mason, and Charles Oakley all had solid seasons. The Knicks pushed their way to the Conference Finals and held a 2-0 series lead over the Chicago Bulls. However, Micahel Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the rest led Chicago to four straight victories to cap off their three-peat.
Oklahoma City Thunder - 64-18 (1995-1996)
After two consecutive first-round losses, the team acquired Hersey Hawkins, David Wingate, and Frank Brickowski in the offseason. The team already had All-Stars Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp on the team, who made another appearance this season. The team won 30 of their final 36 games after the All-Star break to win a franchise’s best 64 games. The SuperSonics (name at the time) earned their third No. 1 seed.
Payton won Defensive Player of the Year, while Kemp led the team offensively. Detlef Schremp provided 17.1 points, while Hawkins and Sam Perkins provided big-time numbers. The “Sonic Boom” of Payton and Kemp led the team to the NBA Finals, their first since 1979. In the Finals, they were met by the 72-win Bulls. After an 0-3 start to the series, the SuperSonics won their next two games but lost to the Bulls in Game 6 in Chicago.
Orlando Magic - 60-22 (1995-1996)
The 1995-1996 season was special as three teams (Bulls, SuperSonics, Magic) set franchise records for wins. The Magic were coming off a trip to the NBA Finals the previous year. Despite missing Shaquille O’Neal for the first 22 games with a thumb injury, Penny Hardaway stepped up to earn Player of the Month as the team saw Dennis Scott set a league record for three-point field goals, a record that has since been broken by Steph Curry.
The combination of Hardaway, Shaq, Horace Grant, and Nick Anderson proved to be a solid core. However, the team that finished with more wins than them, the 72-win Bulls, would prove their dominance in the Conference Finals by sweeping the Magic in four games. It was the first time a team had been swept from the playoffs for three consecutive seasons since the 1950 Chicago Stags.
Philadelphia 76ers - 68-13 (1966-1967)
It was the fourth season since the 76ers moved from Syracuse, as well as their final season at the Philadelphia Civic Center. The season set a record for winning percentage and then they won the NBA Finals for their second overall championship. This team is regarded as a top-10 team in franchise history. During the offseason, the team dismissed Dolph Shayes and replaced him with Alex Hannum. Wilt Chamberlain averaged eight assists per game and shot 68% from the field to make him the league’s best player.
The 76ers had other players in Hal Greer averaging 22 points per game, as well as role players Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham. The team averaged 125 points per game. The team started the season 46-4, which remains the best 40-game start in NBA history. In the Finals, the team took down the San Francisco Warriors in six games. Today, the team’s offense remains the third highest-scoring team in league history.
Phoenix Suns - 62-20 (1992-1993, 2004-2005)
Led by league MVP, Charles Barkley, the Suns made a run to the NBA Finals. The matchup between Barkley and Michael Jordan was a highly anticipated one as the Bulls were trying to cap off the three-peat. The Bulls ultimately became the first team since the 1960s Celtics to win three consecutive championships. The series featured John Paxon’s game-winning three-pointer in Game 6 to win 99-98.
During the 2004 offseason, the Suns required All-Star guard Steve Nash from the Mavericks and signed free agent Quentin Richardson. The team won 31 of their first 35 games. Nash led the league in assists and won the regular season MVP, while Mike D’Antoni was named Coach of the Year. In the playoffs, the team would lose to the Spurs in the Conference Finals.
Portland Trail Blazers - 63-19 (1990-1991)
In the offseason, the Trail Blazers acquired Danny Ainge from the Kings. The team started the year off winning 11 straight on route to starting 27-3. They would post a 16-game winning streak near the end of the season. It was the ninth trip to the playoffs, but their first Pacific Division title since 1977-1978. It ended the Lakers’ run of nine straight years as division champions.
The Trail Blazers earned the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Trail Blazers had to fight off the SuperSonics in five games in the first round but cruised past the Jazz in the second round. The Blazers were ultimately denied making their second straight trip to the NBA Finals after falling to the Lakers in six games. Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, and Kevin Duckworth all made the All-Star Game.
Sacramento Kings - 61-21 (2001-2002)
The offseason move to acquire Mike Bibby turned out to be key. All-Star Chris Webber missed the first 20 games of the season, but the Kings still won 17 of their first 22 games in addition to a 12-game winning streak. The Kings held a 37-12 record before the All-Star break and capped off the season with an 11-game winning streak. The Kings owned the No. 1 seed and won their first division since 1979 when the team was based in Kansas City. It was the first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1981.
Webber made a bid for MVP with a line of 24.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.4 blocks. Peja Stojakovic added 21.1 points, while Bibby was a masterful guard setting each up. Doug Christie made the All-Defensive Second Team. Fans believed this would be the first Finals appearance since the Oscar Robertson days. Instead, the Kings lost Game 6 of the Conference Finals to the Lakers in what many claims to be the most controversial game of all time, potentially costing the team a trip to the Finals.
San Antonio Spurs - 67-15 (2015-2016)
It wasn’t Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili doing the heavy work this time. Kawhi Leonard, with the additions of David West and LaMarcus Aldridge, led the Spurs to their best record in franchise history. That included tying the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics for most home wins in a season with 40.
In the first round, the Spurs swept the Grizzlies. However, the team was taken down by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder in six games. They would become the first team since the 2007 Mavericks to win 67 games and be eliminated before the Conference Finals. At the end of the season, Duncan retired from the NBA as the greatest Spur of all time.
Toronto Raptors - 59-23 (2017-2018)
The Raptors clinched the No. 1 seed in the East with 57 wins, including 34 wins at home. The tandem of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan had formed a competitive team in Toronto as the team would win their fourth divisional title in five seasons. Lowry and DeRozan were both All-Stars, while Dwane Casey was named Coach of the Year.
In the playoffs, the team defeated the Wizards in six games but were met by arch-nemesis LeBron James, who had defeated them the past two playoffs. Just like the previous year, the Cavaliers swept the Raptors in four games. At the time, it was 10 straight playoff losses to the Cavaliers. It was also the second time that LeBron swept a No. 1 seed from the regular season (2015 Hawks). Following the disappointment, the Raptors fired Casey.
Utah Jazz - 64-18 (1996-1997)
The Jazz changed their logo to purple mountains with light blue in the script. The new color must have added some magic as the Jazz won 15 games from November to December. At midseason, the Jazz was 33-14 and then followed the next 35 games with a 31-4 record. It was the second time that Jazz had a 15-game winning streak. The team also went 38-3 at home at the Delta Center.
Karl Malone won the MVP award after averaging 27.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He was named All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team. John Stockton averaged 10.5 assists. In the playoffs, the team cruised past the Clippers and Lakers before knocking off the Rockets, who were led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler. In the Finals, Michael Jordan had a chip on his shoulder losing out the MVP to Malone. The Bulls took down the Jazz in six games to soil the team’s first trip to the NBA Finals.
Washington Wizards - 60-22 (1974-1975)
The Washington Bullets (name at the time) was playing just their second season in the Washington D.C. area. The franchise changed its name from the Capital Bullets to the Washington Bullets. The name change wasn’t too much of a distraction as the team won their sixth divisional title in seven years by posting their best record in franchise history, a record that remains standing 46 years later.
The Bullets were unbeatable at home, posing a 36-5 record at the Capitol Centre. The Bullets qualified for the NBA Finals but were taken down by the Golden State Warriors in four games. Elvin Hayes made the All-NBA First Team and the All-Defensive Second Team, while Phil Chenier made the All-NBA Second Team. The Bullets made the NBA Finals four times, winning one title in 1978, to make it the best overall stretch in team history.