The Dallas Mavericks’ Best Season: 2011

Our journey through the annals of NBA history continues in Dallas today, as we take a look at the one time in 40 years of basketball history that everything came together and the team got all the way atop the league’s mountain. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and the Mavericks got their title in 2011, avenging a five-year grudge against the officiating that many fans argue cost them the 2006 title against the Miami Heat and making LeBron James look like his career was going the way of Karl Malone—it wasn’t until the following season that LeBron finally got a ring. …

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The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Best Season: 2016

Not too long ago, Seth Rosenthal and the team at Secret Base put together a fantastic three-part documentary series about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ road from expansion team to savior of the city, from the franchise’s early playoff runs in the 1970s to the dreadful Ted Stepien years to Mike Fratello’s slowest teams in NBA history to the second nadir in the early aughts—any time Ricky Davis was involved with an NBA team, no good came of it—and finally to the fruits of that futility, the number-one overall pick in the 2003 draft that netted them LeBron James. The rest, as …

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The Chicago Bulls’ Best Season: 1996

Let’s face it. If you want me to talk about Bulls teams you haven’t heard about a thousand times, just scroll to the bottom—there’s some fun stuff for you there in Honorable Mentions. But I’m not here to be edgy, contrarian, or to show about as firm a grip on objective reality as a politician. We all know the 72-10, NBA champion, greatest of all time (thanks in no small part to Golden State choking away their case for that particular honor in 2016), glorious Michael Jordan‘s-back-and-you’re-gonna-be-in-trouble 1996 Chicago Bulls. So without further ado… The On-Court Record It’s hard to …

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The Charlotte Hornets’ Best Season: 1998

The Charlotte Hornets are, like the Cleveland Browns in the NFL, a team that has the odd distinction of owning the history of a team that relocated to another city and being able to apply that history and franchise record to its current expansion iteration. Which is a good thing, because the Hornets, since their reincarnation in 2004 as the Bobcats before getting their name back in 2014, have been almost as bad as the post-1999 Browns. The expansion Hornets have just three playoff appearances, no playoff series wins, and the worst regular-season record in NBA history (7-59 in 2012.) …

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The Brooklyn Nets’ Best Season: 2002

You’ve probably already objected to the headline. “Fox, you idiot, the Brooklyn Nets didn’t exist in 2002, they were the New Jersey Nets, didn’t you say you weren’t counting franchises that moved?” Ahem. About that. Moving a team that had been exiled to the swamp after the ABA merger because the Knicks threw a hissy fit about having a better team in their same market back to New York City proper to be the better team in their same market doesn’t count as changing cities. Sorry, East Rutherford, but this isn’t hockey. The Knicks are competing with one franchise that’s …

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The Boston Celtics’ Best Season: 1986

The Boston Celtics have, as a franchise, won 17 NBA championships, won at least 60 games 13 times, seen their franchise legends not just make the Hall of Fame but make a case for inclusion on the All-Time All-NBA list—Bill Russell at center and Larry Bird at small forward are at minimum Third Team and at best Second Team guys at their respective positions (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James are the best center and small forward ever, and you could make the case for Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen as second-best.) So it’s hard to choose just which season was …

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The Atlanta Hawks’ Best-Ever Season: 2015

Every NBA franchise, even the most long-suffering, has had a high-water mark where their fans felt like they had a real chance at winning the title. For the Atlanta Hawks, a franchise whose history since moving to Atlanta in 1968 has been one largely of futility, it took them 47 years to reach a level where they began to approach the level that the franchise had achieved in St. Louis at the butt end of the Eisenhower administration. You’ll notice that the year the Hawks did win the title—1958, when they got their one win in four tries against Bill …

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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 3)

When last we left off (two days ago…whoops), we’d gone through 20 of the 30 current NBA franchises and took a look at the worst player to suit up for at least 400 games, or five full seasons’ worth of time. These are not guys who show up, stink out the joint, then get thankfully dismissed—either traded, waived, or even stretch-provisioned if their contract is so awful that they’re untradable. These are guys who are on the team for years even though they stink. And funnily enough, most of these guys have been centers whose sole virtue as basketball players …

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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we took a look at 10 NBA teams and asked who their worst player ever turned out to be. Our criteria included not just advanced stats (although it’s hard to argue with negative Win Shares or a deeply negative VORP) but also a player who hung around long enough to do real damage, playing at least 400 games in that team’s uniform. After all, any player can come in, stink out the joint for a year or two, and then get run out of town or stretch-provisioned out of a bad contract (ask any …

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Every NBA Team’s Worst Player Ever (Part 1)

In the long history of the NBA, every team, no matter how good or bad they’ve been overall as a franchise, has had a star player who left a legacy behind in the team’s city and usually made his own Hall of Fame case in the process. Complete dumpster fires like those in Minnesota and New Orleans still managed to have guys like Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul, after all. But even the greatest teams—storied franchises like the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs, with a long history of continued excellence—have had some absolutely horrendous players. And I don’t mean the 12th …

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