List of NBA Franchise Post-season Droughts
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List of NBA Franchise Post-season Droughts

This is a list of National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise post-season appearance droughts. This list includes the all-time and the active consecutive non-playoffs. Aside from the NBA playoff appearance droughts, this list also includes droughts of series wins, appearances in the NBA Finals and NBA championship wins. The oldest such franchise is the Suns (51 seasons), while the Royals/Kings and the Hawks have even longer championship droughts (68 and 61 seasons, respectively). Six franchises have never been to the NBA Finals, the highest number among the major North American sports.[1] The oldest such team is the Braves/Clippers franchise (49 seasons); the Kings and the Hawks have appearance droughts that are even longer (69 and 59 seasons, respectively). The longest a franchise has gone without appearing in the playoffs at all is 15 seasons: the Braves/Clippers franchise from 1977 to 1991.

Of the 19 franchises that have won an NBA championship, 8 have droughts of 36 seasons or more, which is to say that the past 36 championships have been shared among only 11 franchises: the Lakers (8), Bulls (6), Spurs (5), Celtics (3), Pistons (3), Heat (3), Warriors (3), Rockets (2), Mavericks (1), Cavaliers (1), and Raptors (1). By contrast, the other three major North American sports have each had at least 16 franchises become champions over the same period of time.[2][3]

Active droughts

NBA Playoffs appearance droughts

Appearance droughts updated through 2018-19 regular season.
Playoff picture at NBA.com[4]
^ Longest drought in team history

NBA Playoffs series win droughts

Droughts updated through the 2019 playoffs.
Playoff picture at NBA.com[4]
0^0 Longest drought in team history
0?0 Most consecutive series losses in team history
0§0 Equals most consecutive series losses in team history
Current Playoff series loss streak
Seasons
since win
Team Last series win
in NBA Playoffs
Losing
streak
Series losses - teams Ref
15[a] Charlotte Hornets ^ 2002 Eastern First Round 4 ? 2002 New Jersey Nets
2010 Orlando
2014 Miami
2016 Miami
[10]
15 Sacramento Kings 2004 Western First Round 3 2004 Minnesota
2005 Seattle
2006 San Antonio
[5]
15 Minnesota Timberwolves ^ 2004 Western Semifinals 2 2004 Los Angeles Lakers
2018 Houston
[14]
11 Detroit Pistons 2008 Eastern Semifinals 4 2008 Boston
2009 Cleveland
2016 Cleveland
2019 Milwaukee
[22]
9 Orlando Magic 2010 Eastern Semifinals 4 2010 Boston
2011 Atlanta
2012 Indiana
2019 Toronto
[21]
9 Phoenix Suns ^ 2010 Western Semifinals 1 2010 Los Angeles Lakers [6]
8 Dallas Mavericks 2011 Finals 4 ? 2012 Oklahoma City
2014 San Antonio
2015 Houston
2016 Oklahoma City
[9]
7 Los Angeles Lakers ^ 2012 Western First Round 2 2012 Oklahoma City
2013 San Antonio
[8]
6 New York Knicks 2013 Eastern First Round 1 2013 Indiana [7]
5 Brooklyn Nets 2014 Eastern First Round 3 2014 Miami
2015 Atlanta
2019 Philadelphia
[20]
5 Indiana Pacers 2014 Eastern Semifinals 5 2014 Miami
2016 Toronto
2017 Cleveland
2018 Cleveland
2019 Boston
[19]
4 Chicago Bulls 2015 Eastern First Round 2 2015 Cleveland
2017 Boston
[11]
4 Memphis Grizzlies 2015 Western First Round 2 2015 Golden State
2016 San Antonio Spurs
2017 San Antonio Spurs
[13]
4 Los Angeles Clippers 2015 Western First Round 4 § 2015 Houston
2016 Portland
2017 Utah
2019 Golden State
[24]
3 Atlanta Hawks 2016 Eastern First Round 2 2016 Cleveland
2017 Washington
[12]
3 Miami Heat 2016 Eastern First Round 2 2016 Toronto
2018 Philadelphia
[16]
3 Oklahoma City Thunder 2016 Western Semifinals 4 ? 2016 Golden State
2017 Houston
2018 Utah
2019 Portland
[26]
2 Washington Wizards 2017 Eastern First Round 2 2017 Boston
2018 Toronto
[15]
2 San Antonio Spurs 2017 Western Semifinals 3 2017 Golden State
2018 Golden State
2019 Denver
[26]
1 New Orleans Pelicans 2018 Western First Round 1 2018 Golden State [17]
1 Utah Jazz 2018 Western First Round 2 2018 Houston
2019 Houston
[23]
1 Cleveland Cavaliers 2018 Eastern Finals 1 2018 Golden State [18]
z 30002019 Playoff Series 0 Winners 3000 3000
0 Boston Celtics 2019 Eastern First Round 1 2019 Milwaukee [27]
0 Philadelphia 76ers 2019 Eastern First Round 1 2019 Toronto [28]
0 Houston Rockets 2019 Western First Round 1 2019 Golden State [29]
0 Denver Nuggets 2019 Western First Round 1 2019 Portland [30]
0 Milwaukee Bucks 2019 Eastern Semifinals 1 2019 Toronto [31]
0 Portland Trail Blazers 2019 Western Semifinals 1 2019 Golden State [32]
0 Golden State Warriors 2019 Western Finals 1 2019 Toronto [34]
0 Toronto Raptors 2019 Finals 0 4 series win streak [33]
Seasons
Since win
Team Last series win
in NBA Playoffs
Losing
Streak
Series Losses - Teams Ref

a Charlotte was inactive for two years following the 2001-02 season.

NBA Division Championship droughts

Updated through the 2018-19 season.

0^0 Longest drought in team history
0?0 2018-19 Division Champion

Left click once on Seasons since win column heading then once on Division column heading
to show teams listed in order of division championships.

Franchise Most recent title Division Seasons since win
Charlotte Hornets ^ None Southeast 29
Memphis Grizzlies ^ None Southwest 24
Philadelphia 76ers ^ 2000-01 Atlantic 18
Sacramento Kings 2002-03 Pacific 16
Minnesota Timberwolves 2003-04 Northwest 15
Brooklyn Nets 2005-06 Atlantic 13
Phoenix Suns 2006-07 Pacific 12
New Orleans Pelicans ^ 2007-08 Southwest 11
Detroit Pistons 2007-08 Central 11
Dallas Mavericks 2009-10 Southwest 9
Los Angeles Lakers 2011-12 Pacific 7
Chicago Bulls 2011-12 Central 7
New York Knicks 2012-13 Atlantic 6
Indiana Pacers 2013-14 Central 5
Los Angeles Clippers 2013-14 Pacific 5
Atlanta Hawks 2014-15 Southeast 4
Oklahoma City Thunder 2015-16 Northwest 3
Boston Celtics 2016-17 Atlantic 2
San Antonio Spurs 2016-17 Southwest 2
Utah Jazz 2016-17 Northwest 2
Washington Wizards 2016-17 Southeast 2
Cleveland Cavaliers 2017-18 Central 1
Miami Heat 2017-18 Southeast 1
Portland Trail Blazers 2017-18 Northwest 1
Toronto Raptors ? 2018-19 Atlantic 0
Milwaukee Bucks ? 2018-19 Central 0
Orlando Magic ? 2018-19 Southeast 0
Denver Nuggets ? 2018-19 Northwest 0
Golden State Warriors ? 2018-19 Pacific 0
Houston Rockets ? 2018-19 Southwest 0

NBA Conference Finals appearance droughts

^ Longest drought in team history
Seasons Team Last appearance
in Conference Finals
Result Reference
49 Los Angeles Clippers ^ 0Never z -- [24]
40 Washington Wizards ^[c] 1979 Won vs. San Antonio [15]
29 Charlotte Hornets ^ 0Never z -- [10]
19 New York Knicks 2000 Lost vs. Indiana [7]
18 Philadelphia 76ers ^ 2001 Won vs. Milwaukee [28]
17 Sacramento Kings 2002 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [5]
17 New Orleans Pelicans ^ 0Never z -- [17]
16 Brooklyn Nets [d] 2003 Won vs. Detroit [20]
15 Minnesota Timberwolves ^ 2004 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [14]
12 Utah Jazz 2007 Lost vs. San Antonio [23]
11 Detroit Pistons 2008 Lost vs. Boston [22]
10 Denver Nuggets 2009 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [30]
9 Orlando Magic 2010 Lost vs. Boston [21]
9 Phoenix Suns 2010 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [6]
9 Los Angeles Lakers ^ 2010 Won vs. Phoenix [8]
8 Chicago Bulls 2011 Lost vs. Miami [11]
8 Dallas Mavericks 2011 Won vs. Oklahoma0Won vs. Oklahoma City0 [9]
6 Memphis Grizzlies 2013 Lost vs. San Antonio [13]
5 Miami Heat 2014 Won vs. Indiana [16]
5 Indiana Pacers 2014 Lost vs. Miami [19]
4 Atlanta Hawks 2015 Lost vs. Cleveland [12]
3 Oklahoma City Thunder 2016 Lost vs. Golden State [25]
2 San Antonio Spurs 2017 Lost vs. Golden State [26]
1 Cleveland Cavaliers 2018 Won vs. Boston [18]
1 Boston Celtics 2018 Lost vs. Cleveland [27]
1 Houston Rockets 2018 Lost vs. Golden State [29]
.85 Z2019 Conference Finalists 2018.5 zzz
0 Milwaukee Bucks 2019 Lost vs. Toronto0 [31]
0 Toronto Raptors 2019 Won vs. Milwaukee0 [33]
0 Golden State Warriors 2019 Won vs. Portland0 [34]
0 Portland Trail Blazers 2019 Lost vs. Golden State [32]

NBA Finals appearance droughts

Seasons Team Last appearance
in NBA Finals
Result Reference
69 Sacramento Kings[a] 1951 Won vs. New York [5]
59 Atlanta Hawks[b] 1961 Lost vs. Boston [12]
49 Los Angeles Clippers 0Never yyyy -- [24]
45 Milwaukee Bucks 1974 Lost vs. Boston [31]
43 Denver Nuggets 0Never yyyy-- [30]
40 Washington Wizards[c] 1979 Lost vs. Seattle [15]
30 Minnesota Timberwolves 0Never yyyy-- [14]
29 Charlotte Hornets 0Never yyyy-- [10]
27 Portland Trail Blazers 1992 Lost vs. Chicago [32]
26 Phoenix Suns 1993 Lost vs. Chicago [6]
24 Houston Rockets 1995 Won vs. Orlando [29]
24 Memphis Grizzlies 0Never yyyy-- [13]
21 Utah Jazz 1998 Lost vs. Chicago [23]
21 Chicago Bulls 1998 Won vs. Utah [11]
20 New York Knicks 1999 Lost vs. San Antonio [7]
19 Indiana Pacers 2000 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [19]
18 Philadelphia 76ers 2001 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [28]
17 New Orleans Pelicans 0Never yyyy-- [17]
16 Brooklyn Nets[d] 2003 Lost vs. San Antonio [20]
14 Detroit Pistons 2005 Lost vs. San Antonio [22]
10 Orlando Magic 2009 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [21]
9 Boston Celtics 2010 Lost vs. Los Angeles Lakers [27]
9 Los Angeles Lakers 2010 Won vs. Boston [8]
8 Dallas Mavericks 2011 Won vs. Miami [9]
7 Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 Lost vs. Miami [25]
5 Miami Heat 2014.5 2014 Lost vs. San Antonio [16]
5 San Antonio Spurs 2014.52014 Won vs. Miami [26]
1 Cleveland Cavaliers 2018 Lost vs. Golden State [18]
0 Z2019 Finalists 2018.5 zzz
0 Toronto Raptors 2019 Won vs. Golden State [33]
0 Golden State Warriors 2019 Lost vs. Toronto [34]
  • a The Sacramento Kings last appeared in the 1951 NBA Finals as the Rochester Royals.
  • b The Atlanta Hawks last appeared in the 1961 NBA Finals as the St. Louis Hawks.
  • c The Washington Wizards last appeared in the 1979 Conference Finals and NBA Finals as the Washington Bullets.
  • d The Brooklyn Nets last appeared in the 2003 Conference Finals and NBA Finals as the New Jersey Nets.

NBA championship title droughts

  • a The Sacramento Kings last won an NBA championship in 1951 as the Rochester Royals.
  • b The Atlanta Hawks last won an NBA championship in 1958 as the St. Louis Hawks.
  • c The Washington Wizards last won an NBA championship in 1978 as the Washington Bullets.
  • d The Oklahoma City Thunder last won an NBA championship in 1979 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

All-time droughts

Closest approaches without winning

Updated through the 2019 playoffs.


Last team to leave list - Toronto Raptors 2019
Team Conference Quarter-Final appearances Conference Semi-Final appearances Conference Final appearances NBA Final appearances Fewest wins short of NBA Championship
Brooklyn Nets 20 7 2 2 02 wins short : 2003
Indiana Pacers 26 10 8 1 02 wins short : 2000
Phoenix Suns 26 18 9 2 02 wins short : 1976, 1993
Utah Jazz 28 16 6 2 02 wins short : 1997, 1998
Orlando Magic 15 5 4 2 03 wins short : 2009
Denver Nuggets 23 9 3 06 wins short : 1978, 2009
Minnesota Timberwolves 9 1 1 06 wins short : 2004
Memphis Grizzlies 10 3 1 08 wins short : 2013
Los Angeles Clippers 12 7 9 wins short : 1975, 2006, 2015
New Orleans Pelicans 7 2 9 wins short : 2008
Charlotte Hornets 10 4 9 wins short : 2001

Longest post-season droughts in team history

Updated through the 2019 playoffs.

0^0 Denotes active drought

Longest NBA Playoffs appearance droughts

Appearance droughts updated through the 2018-19 season.
^ Denotes active drought
  • a Streak included Buffalo Braves 1977-78 seasons, and San Diego Clippers 1979-84 seasons.
  • b Streak included New Orleans Jazz 1975-79 seasons.
  • c Streak included Vancouver Grizzlies 1996-2001 seasons.

Longest Conference finals droughts

Appearance droughts updated through the 2018-19 regular season. The current Conference Finals format was introduced in 1971.
^ Denotes active drought
+ Year the team joined the NBA
Seasons Team NBA Conference Finals
appearance droughts
Reference
49 Los Angeles Clippers ^ [a] 001971 +0- present [24]
44 Atlanta Hawks 1971 - 2014 [12]
40 Washington Wizards ^[b] 1980 - present [15]
38 Golden State Warriors 1977 - 2014 [34]
29 Charlotte Hornets ^ [c] 001989 +0- present [10]
25 New Jersey Nets [d] 001977 +0- 2001 [20]
23 Denver Nuggets 1986 - 2008 [30]
20 Toronto Raptors 01996 + - 2015 [33]
20 Sacramento Kings [e] 1982 - 2001 [5]
  • a Streak includes seasons as Buffalo Braves and San Diego Clippers.
  • b Team last qualified for the Conference Finals as Washington Bullets.
  • c Franchise inactive for two seasons between 2002 and 2004.
  • d Current Brooklyn Nets; includes one season as New York Nets.
  • e Includes four seasons as Kansas City Kings.

Finals droughts

NBA Finals in which neither team had previously won a championship

In these instances, the matchup ensured that one team would win the first NBA championship in its history.

0*0 Both Teams in 1st NBA Finals appearance
  • ^- Team had previously appeared in the National Basketball League finals before said league was merged for the NBA's formation.
  • +- Defunct franchise.
  • Abbreviation in parentheses - Current location of NBA franchise.

NBA Finals in which neither franchise had won a championship in 20-plus seasons

Teams that had never won the NBA championship are included, even if they were less than 20 seasons old at the time.

Numbers marked with * indicates that the number is counted from either the franchise's first year in the NBA or the first year of the league (1946, then known as the BAA).

Teams awaiting their first NBA championship

This list includes teams within the current NBA that have never won an NBA championship--sorted by the number of seasons played in the NBA.

Last team to leave list - Toronto Raptors 2019
Total seasons
(NBA)
Franchise Last NBA Finals
appearance
51 seasons Phoenix Suns (1969-present) 1993
49 seasons Los Angeles Clippers§ (1971-present) --
45 seasons Utah Jazz§ (1975-present) 1998
43 seasons Denver Nuggets (1977-present) --
43 seasons Indiana Pacers? (1977-present) 2000
43 seasons Brooklyn Nets§? (1977-present) 2003
30 seasons Minnesota Timberwolves (1990-present) --
30 seasons Orlando Magic (1990-present) 2009
29 seasons Charlotte Hornets+ (1989-2002; 2005-present) --
24 seasons Memphis Grizzlies§ (1996-present) --
17 seasons New Orleans Pelicans+ (2003-present) --
Notes
  • § NBA teams that have relocated from their original city(s).
  • + NBA teams that have re-branded to/from their original concept.
  • ? NBA teams that have won an ABA championship.

Cities awaiting first NBA championship

Listed according to seasons waited. Current NBA cities/regions only.


Last city to leave list: Toronto, 2019
City Seasons waited Conference Title(s) NBA Team(s)
Phoenix 51 1976, 1993 Phoenix Suns (1969-present)
Atlanta 51 None Atlanta Hawks (1969-present)
Denver 43 None Denver Nuggets (1977-present)
Indianapolis 43 2000 Indiana Pacers (1977-present)
Salt Lake City 40 1997, 1998 Utah Jazz (1980-present)
Sacramento 34 None Sacramento Kings (1986-present)
Orlando 30 1995, 2009 Orlando Magic (1990-present)
Charlotte 29 None Charlotte Hornets (1989-2002; 2015-present)
Charlotte Bobcats (2005-2014)
New Orleans 22 None New Orleans Jazz (1974-1979)
New Orleans Hornets (2003-2013)
New Orleans Pelicans (2014-present)
Memphis 18 None Memphis Grizzlies (2002-present)
Oklahoma City 13 2012 2 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets seasons (2006-2007)
Oklahoma City Thunder seasons (2008-present)

NBA Championship droughts by division

Notes
  • ? The last time a team playing in the present-day Northwest Division won an NBA Championship.
  • + The SuperSonics won this NBA Championship as part of the Pacific Division. The team has relocated to Oklahoma City as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

See also

References

General
  • "Team Index". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2009.
Specific
  1. ^ Newberry, Paul (May 10, 2015). "NBA: NFL has most parity, NBA is most exclusive club when it comes to winning titles". Associated Press. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Major League Baseball has 18 different franchises that have won championships and have droughts of less than 32 years; the National Football League has 16 such franchises, and the National Hockey League has 15 such franchises.
  3. ^ Aldridge, David (June 6, 2015). "Warriors close in on title ... and keep NBA history afloat". NBA.com. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Playoff picture". NBA.com. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sacramento Kings". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Phoenix Suns". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e "New York Knicks". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Los Angeles Lakers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Dallas Mavericks". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Charlotte Hornets". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Chicago Bulls". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Atlanta Hawks". basketball-reference.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Memphis Grizzlies". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Minnesota Timberwolves". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Washington Wizards". basketball-reference.com. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Miami Heat". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d e "New Orleans Pelicans". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d e "Cleveland Cavaliers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  19. ^ a b c d e "Indiana Pacers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Brooklyn Nets". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  21. ^ a b c d e "Orlando Magic". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Detroit Pistons". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Utah Jazz". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h "Los Angeles Clippers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  25. ^ a b c d "Oklahoma City Thunder". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ a b c d e f "San Antonio Spurs". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  27. ^ a b c d e "Boston Celtics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  28. ^ a b c d e "Philadelphia 76ers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  29. ^ a b c d e "Houston Rockets". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g "Denver Nuggets". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  31. ^ a b c d e "Milwaukee Bucks". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Portland Trail Blazers". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.
  33. ^ a b c d e f "Toronto Raptors". basketball-reference.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h "Golden State Warriors". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012.

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