Who is the worst team to make the NBA Finals?

Based on regular season winning percentage, the 1959 Minneapolis Lakers were the worst team to make the NBA Finals. They finished the regular season with only a 33-39 record, but made the Finals where they lost to the Boston Celtics.

Has a team with a losing record ever made the NBA Finals?

Yes, the 1959 Minneapolis Lakers (33-39), 1957 St. Louis Hawks (34-38) and 1981 Houston Rockets (40-42) all made the NBA Finals with a losing record.

Has a team with a losing record ever made the NBA Finals the next season?

Yes, this has happened 18 times in history. The 1958 Minneapolis Lakers (19-53), 2007 Boston Celtics (24-58), 2001 New Jersey Nets (26-56), 1963 San Francisco Warriors (31-49), 1975 Phoenix Suns (32-50), 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers (33-49), 1966 San Francisco Warriors (35-45), 1967 Los Angeles Lakers (36-45), 2019 Los Angeles Lakers (37-45), 1976 Portland Trail Blazers (37-45), 1961 Los Angeles Lakers (36-43), 1956 St. Louis Hawks (33-39), 1955 Philadelphia Warriors (33-39), 2020 Phoenix Suns (34-39), 1957 St. Louis Hawks (34-38), 2019 Miami Heat (39-43), 1989 Portland Trail Blazers (39-43) and 1977 Seattle SuperSonics (40-42) all made the NBA Finals the next season after having a losing record.

Worst NBA Regular Season Records To Make NBA Finals

Team Year Regular Season Record Result
1 Minneapolis Lakers 1959 33-39 Lost Finals
2 St. Louis Hawks 1957 34-38 Lost Finals
3 Houston Rockets 1981 40-42 Lost Finals
4 Baltimore Bullets 1971 42-40 Lost Finals
Phoenix Suns 1976 42-40 Lost Finals
6 Fort Wayne Pistons 1956 37-35 Lost Finals
7 Miami Heat 2023 44-38 Lost Finals
Washington Bullets 1978 44-38 Won Finals
9 New York Knicks 1999 27-23 Lost Finals
10 San Francisco Warriors 1967 44-37 Lost Finals
11 New York Knicks 1951 36-30 Lost Finals
12 New York Knicks 1952 37-29 Lost Finals
13 Los Angeles Lakers 1970 46-36 Lost Finals
14 Los Angeles Lakers 1966 45-35 Lost Finals
15 St. Louis Hawks 1958 41-31 Won Finals
16 Houston Rockets 1995 47-35 Won Finals
Seattle SuperSonics 1978 47-35 Lost Finals
18 Syracuse Nationals 1954 42-30 Lost Finals
19 Boston Celtics 1969 48-34 Won Finals
Golden State Warriors 1975 48-34 Won Finals
New York Knicks 1972 48-34 Lost Finals
22 Fort Wayne Pistons 1955 43-29 Lost Finals
Syracuse Nationals 1955 43-29 Won Finals
24 New Jersey Nets 2003 49-33 Lost Finals
Portland Trail Blazers 1977 49-33 Won Finals
26 San Francisco Warriors 1964 48-32 Lost Finals
27 Miami Heat 2020 44-29 Lost Finals
28 Rochester Royals 1951 41-27 Won Finals
29 Minneapolis Lakers 1952 40-26 Won Finals
30 Boston Celtics 2010 50-32 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2007 50-32 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2018 50-32 Lost Finals
Philadelphia 76ers 1977 50-32 Lost Finals
34 Boston Celtics 1957 44-28 Won Finals
35 Los Angeles Lakers 1965 49-31 Lost Finals
36 St. Louis Hawks 1960 46-29 Lost Finals
37 Boston Celtics 2022 51-31 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 51-31 Lost Finals
Houston Rockets 1986 51-31 Lost Finals
40 Philadelphia Warriors 1956 45-27 Won Finals
41 Washington Capitols 1949 38-22 Lost Finals
42 Los Angeles Lakers 1968 52-30 Lost Finals
Miami Heat 2006 52-30 Won Finals
New Jersey Nets 2002 52-30 Lost Finals
Seattle SuperSonics 1979 52-30 Won Finals
46 Milwaukee Bucks 2021 46-26 Won Finals
Minneapolis Lakers 1954 46-26 Won Finals
48 St. Louis Hawks 1961 51-28 Lost Finals
49 Denver Nuggets 2023 53-29 Won Finals
Golden State Warriors 2022 53-29 Won Finals
Team Year Regular Season Record Result
1 Houston Rockets 1981 40-42 Lost Finals
2 Baltimore Bullets 1971 42-40 Lost Finals
Phoenix Suns 1976 42-40 Lost Finals
4 Minneapolis Lakers 1959 33-39 Lost Finals
5 St. Louis Hawks 1957 34-38 Lost Finals
6 Miami Heat 2023 44-38 Lost Finals
Washington Bullets 1978 44-38 Won Finals
8 San Francisco Warriors 1967 44-37 Lost Finals
9 Los Angeles Lakers 1970 46-36 Lost Finals
10 Fort Wayne Pistons 1956 37-35 Lost Finals
11 Los Angeles Lakers 1966 45-35 Lost Finals
12 Houston Rockets 1995 47-35 Won Finals
Seattle SuperSonics 1978 47-35 Lost Finals
14 Boston Celtics 1969 48-34 Won Finals
Golden State Warriors 1975 48-34 Won Finals
New York Knicks 1972 48-34 Lost Finals
17 New Jersey Nets 2003 49-33 Lost Finals
Portland Trail Blazers 1977 49-33 Won Finals
19 San Francisco Warriors 1964 48-32 Lost Finals
20 Boston Celtics 2010 50-32 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2007 50-32 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2018 50-32 Lost Finals
Philadelphia 76ers 1977 50-32 Lost Finals
24 St. Louis Hawks 1958 41-31 Won Finals
25 Los Angeles Lakers 1965 49-31 Lost Finals
26 Boston Celtics 2022 51-31 Lost Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 51-31 Lost Finals
Houston Rockets 1986 51-31 Lost Finals
29 New York Knicks 1951 36-30 Lost Finals
30 Syracuse Nationals 1954 42-30 Lost Finals
31 Los Angeles Lakers 1968 52-30 Lost Finals
Miami Heat 2006 52-30 Won Finals
New Jersey Nets 2002 52-30 Lost Finals
Seattle SuperSonics 1979 52-30 Won Finals
35 New York Knicks 1952 37-29 Lost Finals
36 Fort Wayne Pistons 1955 43-29 Lost Finals
Syracuse Nationals 1955 43-29 Won Finals
38 Miami Heat 2020 44-29 Lost Finals
39 St. Louis Hawks 1960 46-29 Lost Finals
40 Denver Nuggets 2023 53-29 Won Finals
Golden State Warriors 2022 53-29 Won Finals
42 Boston Celtics 1957 44-28 Won Finals
43 St. Louis Hawks 1961 51-28 Lost Finals
44 Rochester Royals 1951 41-27 Won Finals
45 Philadelphia Warriors 1956 45-27 Won Finals
46 Minneapolis Lakers 1952 40-26 Won Finals
47 Milwaukee Bucks 2021 46-26 Won Finals
Minneapolis Lakers 1954 46-26 Won Finals
49 New York Knicks 1999 27-23 Lost Finals
50 Washington Capitols 1949 38-22 Lost Finals

Related Pages:

Longest Championship Drought By City

Most Championships By City

Fan Report Card

Frequently Asked Questions

How Scoring Works

Accuracy and Fact Checking

All NBA stats, streaks, droughts and records are updated based on games played on or before Jun 14, 2024.

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