Top 5 NBA teams of all-time

There have been dream teams ever since the NBA was established: here are just five of them. (Photo illustration created by Wildcat Chronicle staff using royalty-free image from Markus Spiske via

By Justin Zbinovec and Carlos Allen

Any NBA team’s biggest accomplishment is winning a championship. Sixty-five teams have had the chance to be called NBA champions since 1946. However, many factors go into a team winning it all and therefore getting to be called one of the most prominent sports teams ever. A great team normally has to make its way through an amazing regular season and needs a roster filled with star players. There is no doubt that every championship-winning team included greatness. This a compilation of the top five teams of all time that were all able to “get it done” by winning the championship.

#5 1988-89 Detroit Pistons

Starting off at number five, the 1988-89 Detroit Pistons. Looking back, the Pistons were likely skipped over with no hesitation because teams like Larry Bird’s Celtics, Magic Johnson’s Lakers, and Michael Jordan’s Bulls were in the spotlight. And yet, they were the only team to beat all three of those teams. The 1988-89 Pistons team was absolutely dominating. They had one of if not the best defenses of all time. That season, they won 63 games and only lost 19.


#4 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers 

The 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers, coached by Pat Riley (who won five NBA championships as a coach, including four with the Lakers and one with the Miami Heat), were definitely a team to admire. There were three Hall of Famers in the Lakers’ starting line-up, which included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, arguably the greatest players in the NBA, Earvin (Magic) Johnson, one of the best point guards in NBA history, and James Worthy a three-time champion with the Lakers and a seven-time all-star.


#3 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks

This Bucks team, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who won MVP at the time) featured Hall of Fame point guard Oscar Robertson and coach Larry Costello. The Bucks went 66-14 in 1971, and won the NBA championship versus the Baltimore Bullets, better known today as the Washington Wizards, in a 4-0 sweep. 

Despite the success, the Bucks then endured a 50-year dry spell, plagued by bad teams. They did not win another championship until just recently, in the 2020-21 season, when they defeated the Phoenix Suns. 


#2 2016-17 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors of 2016-17 are obviously a top two team of all time, and some people’s greatest team ever. This team had arguably the greatest roster of players to hit the court: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green all on the same team is just insane. Curry and Durant were both in their primes at this time, a fact which makes this team even more incredible since both are considered the best scorers of all time. This team did not win as many regular season games as the year before (73-9 in 2015-16), but they still went 67-15. The big difference between the 2015-16 team and that of 2016-17 is that the latter won the championship – and the addition of Durant proved to help immensely. And to top it off, in the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors went 16-1 which set the best postseason record ever


#1 1995-96 Chicago Bulls

This team should unanimously be named the best team ever. They had the best player of all time, Michael Jordan, on their team, in addition to legends Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Michael Jordan helped to lead the Bulls to six NBA championships and this is the greatest out of all of them. The addition of Dennis Rodman to help out their defense and rebounding was huge because they also have Scottie Pippen along with Michael Jordan who are great defenders. This led to the Bulls having the best offensive and defensive ratings in the NBA at that time. They ended the regular season with a record of 72-10 which is second only to the 2015-16 Warriors, who went 73-9. The Bulls also topped off their amazing regular season by winning the NBA Championship.