Which NBA Teams Have Never Won a Championship?

In the end, the goal of every NBA team is to win but some NBA teams have never won a championship. Sometimes it’s because they’re a new team. But other teams have been around for a long time and haven’t had the luck or ability to win it all.

Every team in the NBA wants to win the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. Only one team can do this each year.

There have been a lot of championships won by ten teams. Since the NBA and ABA merger, more than half of the NBA teams have won at least one title. However, 11 teams are still in the running for their first title ever.

The 11 NBA Teams That Have Never Won A Championship

Eleven NBA Teams have never won a championship. Of those 11, six have never even been in a Finals playoffs. Some of the teams on the list are big name teams. Fortunately, all the teams in the NBA have made it to the playoffs at one time or another. Some teams should have won but had to face Michael Jordan when he kept them from winning because he was on the way to six championship rings. Here’s the 11 NBA teams that never won a championship:


1. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets have been to the NBA Finals several times but never won. In 2002 and 2003, they lost to the Lakers and Spurs.

Prokhorov tried to go all-in when he bought the team from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. He tried to trade a lot of draft picks for former Celtics players who were past their prime. This turned out to be one of the worst and most unfair trades in the history of professional sports.

Prokhorov eventually resigned, and the team has since done very well. If they have Durant and Irving on their team, they could be back in the game sooner rather than later. They also have a group of promising young players. 

2. Charlotte Hornets

In the NBA Finals, Michael Jordan went 6-0. He is the first player to also own a team — called the Hornets (the name changed from Hornets to Bobcats and then back to Hornets again).

Michael Jordan’s record as a player and as a team owner is very different. If you look at the last decade, the team hasn’t done well. Their best player, Kemba Walker, left as a free agent before the season began.

Some of their young players are interesting, but this team is still a few drafts away from even making the playoffs. Knowing how relentless Jordan is, they’ll find a way to accomplish the goal sometime in the future.

3. Denver Nuggets 

The Nuggets have been a strong team for a long time, but their most notable achievement so far has been making it to the Western Conference Finals.

People say they are in the Western Conference race, and their draft picks Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol were great buys for the price.

Because the team is young, it should be able to compete for a long time, as long as the core stays together.

Even better, as their blue-chip rookies grow and get more experience, their chances of making the playoffs will only get better. There are a lot of teams that could be dropped from this list in the next few years. The Nuggets are one of them.

4. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have won a lot of ABA championships, but they haven’t been able to do the same thing in the NBA.

They were always in the NBA playoffs, but no matter how good the Pacers were, there was always a better team. Reggie Miller was in charge when they couldn’t beat Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. In the Paul George era, there was no way to get around LeBron James and the Miami Heat, because they were so good.

However, the Pacers were a lot of fun to watch in the playoffs because they always put up a fight and were great to watch. Because of Oladipo and Sabonis, they are once again on the rise in the Eastern Conference. But they are still a few pieces short of the league’s top teams.

5. Los Angeles Clippers 

The Clippers have been called “the other LA team” for as long as they have been around. The Lakers have always been the center of attention, but the Clippers have always been the second team.

Following Donald Sterling’s scandal, Steve Balmer took over. Since then, the team has been on the rise, and they’ve been able to move on from the Lob City era, which let’s face it, was never going to win a title.

They were able to sign the best player on the market, Kawhi Leonard, and trade for Paul George because they made the playoffs last season. This put them right into the mix and made them a real threat to the Lakers.

The way they are progressing, many people think they will eventually be NBA champions, and they are more than likely to do so sooner instead of later.

6. Memphis Grizzlies 

The Memphis Grizzlies have had some success in the NBA since they joined the league as an expansion team in 1995 (as the Vancouver Grizzlies). However, they haven’t yet raised a banner to show that they won. 

The Grizzlies were one of the NBA’s toughest and most respected teams from 2010 to 2017, and they were a hard matchup for almost everyone in the playoffs. They were called “grit and grind” because they were so tough.

The team didn’t have enough people with enough skills to get to the finish line. As soon as they blew up their team’s core and started rebuilding, the Memphis Grizzlies were pushed to the bottom of the NBA. But they are slowly making their way back up.

Given that they made the playoffs this season, one could say that they are ahead of schedule when it comes to rebuilding. 

They had a good playoff run this latest season. While not in the running for the title, they will keep working on their young core and may be a regular in the playoffs for years to come.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves

For a long time, it looked like the Timberwolves have been one of the teams that just aren’t very good. They’ve had a lot of great players over the years, but they haven’t been able to surround them with the right people to help them win.

When Kevin Garnett, one of the team’s best players, led the team, the team won the 2004 Western Conference Finals.

The Timberwolves are in a very interesting situation right now. They have a lot of talented young players, but there are too many unknowns. Their offense is strong, but their defense appears to be weak. They can make the playoffs next year, but not until they improve their offense.

8. New Orleans Pelicans 

Any team that has (or had) a player like Anthony Davis and doesn’t become a winner is considered to be a failure. This team never made the playoffs while Davis was there. Davis was the best player this team ever had.

Every year, it looked like they didn’t know what to do. Davis and Cousins were an interesting team, but the experiment was cut short because of injuries. 

Because they traded Davis for a lot of talented young players, they did well in one area: they got one of the league’s most interesting young cores. Davis didn’t do a good job with them. 

This last season they played well in the first round of the playoffs and took it to six games before being eliminated for the season. We think they will do even better these next seasons.

9. Phoenix Suns

It was 1976, and the Phoenix Suns made it to their first NBA finals. They lost to the Boston Celtics.

Then Charles Barkley led the Suns to a comfortable victory over the Lakers and Spurs, the Sonics, and the Spurs in 1993, they made it to the NBA finals. Despite having the home-court advantage, Chicago won the sixth game in Phoenix to win the series in a stunning upset.

Then Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, two-time MVPs, made the Suns one of the most exciting teams in basketball history. And looked like they had a chance to win a championship, but didn’t.

Now the Suns have Devon Booker and Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton – all powerhouse players. They made it to the finals two seasons ago and to the second round of the playoffs this latest season while having the best Team record wins ever. Each time, they get really close.

The Suns have a lot to like. Maybe that championship will happen next season.

10. Orlando Magic

Orland made two Finals appearances thanks to strong centers, but those centers were not able to lead them to victory.

They came very close to beating the Houston Rockets in the 1995 NBA finals, even though Shaquille O’Neal was there. They had a good regular season the next year, but they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Chicago Bulls, who had come back from time away.

Even though they have made some progress recently, they are still need some work since they can only go to the first round of the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference.

11. Utah Jazz

Because of superstars John Stockton and Karl Malone, the Jazz was always a strong contender for the title in the past, even though they didn’t win.

That team might have won some rings without Jordan holding them down. For Utah fans, it’s a shame that Jordan was there. 

All the Jazz can say is that they gave us some of the best Finals series ever. 

They have a good team now and can make the playoffs at any time, even in the Western Conference. They still need a few more important players if they want to go all-in, but they have a lot of good players now.

Final Thought

It’s always interesting to see which teams have never won a championship. It’s a surprise to see some of the teams on that list. 

Each of these teams are in good shape and could potentially make it to the Finals if they work hard enough and put together the key pieces to hit that team synergy. Some teams, like the Timberwolves, need to focus on their defense before they can make any real progress. 

As always, we’ll have to wait and see which team eventually comes out on top. 

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