If you’re an avid basketball fan, you know that great teams don’t just have exceptional players—they also have strong teamwork and strategy. From the greatest dynasties to legendary one-year wonders, here are the top 10 NBA teams of all time!
These squads embody spectacular athleticism, brilliant playmakers, and unforgettable moments. Whether it was their iconic lineups or the lasting memories they left behind in hoops history, each of these teams is more than deserving of a spot on this list. Read on for our definitive ranking of greatness across decades!
Los Angeles Lakers (1980s-2000s)
The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s to 2000s are undeniably one of the greatest NBA teams ever assembled. Led by Magic Johnson, the Lakers won an unprecedented five championships within a 20-year period and their dominance was undeniable.
They produced some of the most iconic and memorable players in the history of basketball including Hall of Famers such as Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This era was truly remarkable and resulted in some of the greatest highlights in basketball history. It is no surprise that these Lakers have earned a permanent place among the Top 10 teams of all time.
Chicago Bulls (1990s)
The Chicago Bulls during the 1990s was one of the most memorable teams in NBA history. With world-renowned Michael Jordan at the helm, they saw unparalleled success and created a lasting legacy.
Jordan’s leadership, along with his teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman’s incredible talents, enabled the Bulls to win six championships in an eight-year span – an unprecedented feat that cemented their place as one of the Top 10 NBA Teams of All Time.
In addition, these triumphs were received by devoted fans across the globe, who embraced the Bulls’ unparalleled performances and helped establish them as a beloved team to this day.
Boston Celtics (1960s)
The Boston Celtics of the 1960s are arguably one of the greatest dynasties in professional sports. Under the guidance of legendary coach Red Auerbach, they won 11 championships in 13 years and featured several Hall of Fame players.
Bill Russell and Bob Cousy provided the leadership that powered this remarkable run of success, but other greats such as Sam Jones and K.C. Jones was also a key contributor to those championship teams. To this day, Celtics’ fans relish their incredible accomplishments during that golden era and debate whether they deserve to be remembered as the top NBA team of all time.
San Antonio Spurs (1997-2014)
The San Antonio Spurs’ incredible 17-year run of success, which included five NBA championships, places them firmly in the conversation of the best teams ever assembled. With perennial All-Stars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili filling out a well-rounded roster of solid players, their successes came due to the team’s remarkable cohesiveness and dominance on both sides of the court.
Under head coach Greg Popovich, the Spurs managed to sustain excellence for nearly two decades in a league where teams constantly change and rebuild. This combination of incredible talent coupled with great teamwork is why many consider the 1997-2014 San Antonio Spurs to be one of the Top 10 NBA Teams of all time.
Detroit Pistons (1989-90)
The Detroit Pistons of the 1989-90 season were one of the best teams to ever grace an NBA court. Led by the Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, affectionately known as the “Bad Boys”, they earned back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990.
Coming out of a two-year slump, Detroit put together a team that was strong on defense but also had offensive weapons like Dumars, Rick Mahorn, and Vinnie Johnson. That mix proved unbeatable as they steamrolled through the Eastern Conference, finally outpacing their rivals the Bulls before going on to clinch an impressive championship victory.
With an indomitable synergy between players, this triumph truly marked one of the Pistons’ finest hours – exactly 30 years ago.
Golden State Warriors (2015-19)
The Golden State Warriors of 2015-19 truly represented a seminal moment in basketball history with their dominance. Led by the “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and power forward Draymond Green, this remarkable team set the record for wins in an NBA season and captured three championships in a five-year run, elevating them to one of the greatest dynasties of all time.
Fans around the world were entranced by their innovative brand of small-ball basketball which was marked by an up-tempo offense that relied on a barrage of three-point shots from Curry and Thompson. As these legendary players brought home multiple titles, they inspired an entire generation of players to strive for excellence on the court.
Philadelphia 76ers ( 1982-83)
The 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers team was a powerhouse of basketball royalty, boasting legendary players like Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Andrew Toney. This iconic lineup would go on to an incredible 12-1 record in the playoffs and secure an NBA Championship title by beating the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers.
The 82-83 season stands out as one of the most impressive showings in league history and solidified this historically successful franchise’s place among the top ten greatest NBA teams ever assembled.
Milwaukee Bucks (1970-71)
The Milwaukee Bucks are an iconic franchise that holds a special place in the hearts of basketball fans across the world. During the 1970-71 season, they put on a show that simply cannot be forgotten – leading the National Basketball Association with 66 wins and winning the NBA Championship over the Baltimore Bullets in four games to one.
It was a powerhouse effort led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had just made his debut in a Bucks uniform after being acquired in a trade before that season. Despite only having one season so far with Abdul-Jabbar as part of their roster, it would be safe to say that this Bucks team belongs among the top 10 NBA Teams of all time for their unbelievable success and prestige during what was undoubtedly an unforgettable era for basketball.
In conclusion, there is no denying the success of these teams, who have all had major contributions to their respective leagues and eras. From the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s-2000s, who were led by Magic Johnson and became a dynasty with five NBA championships, to the Philadelphia 76ers of the early 1980s, who dominated on defense and triggered the “Fo’, Fo’, Fo’” celebrations due to their dominant 15-1 playoff run; each team has become an iconic representation of its era.
No single team can definitively lay claim to being the greatest team in NBA history; however, it can be said that these top 10 teams played some of the most memorable basketball of all time.v