The National Basketball Association is a league for basketball.
Early history (1946-2015)
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Western domination era (2015-2021)
In the 2014-15 season, for the first time in the history of the league, 51 wins were required to make the playoffs in the western conference. This brought up many complaints against the league, as 40+ win teams missed the playoffs but in the east, sub-.500 teams made the playoffs. For most of the season, the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors dominated the league, with both of them tying for the best record in the NBA at 68-14. The Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, and Cleveland Cavaliers also won their divisions. Phoenix narrowly qualified for the playoffs with 51 wins, beating out Oklahoma City, who finished with 47, and New Orleans, who finished with 45.
In the playoffs, all four first-round series in the west went to game 7, whereas in the east, there were three sweeps, with Atlanta sweeping Charlotte, Washington sweeping Miami, and Toronto sweeping Milwaukee. Atlanta ended up winning the east, with Golden State winning the west. The series went to game 7 and Kyle Korver shot a game-winning shot to clinch Atlanta their first championship in almost 60 years, and their second overall. This marked the last time in the next six seasons that an eastern team would win the championship.
During the next season, New York, who finished with the league's worst record at 16-66, drafted Jahlil Okafor out of Duke with the number one pick. Kobe Bryant resigned with the Los Angeles Lakers for a $36 million, two year deal, keeping him in the NBA until the 2016-17 season. Marc Gasol resigned with Memphis, Chris Bosh opted out of his contract to join Charlotte, with Charlotte center Al Jefferson signing with New Orleans. New Orleans fired coach Monty Williams, as well.
The Mavericks were able to resign the bulk of their players, including Monta Ellis to a $30 million, two year deal. However, they let Rajon Rondo walk in free agency, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas signed Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns to a three year, 47 million deal, and Tim Duncan decided to finally retire, leaving the NBA as a five-time champion. Teammate Manu Ginobili followed in his footsteps.
At the beginning of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans rocketed out to a 13-0 start, propelled by superstar Anthony Davis pulling off superhuman efforts by averaging 29.5 ppg and 12.1 rpg. Golden State was on par with New Orleans, as was Dallas, led by their new starting lineup. These three teams were the main powerhouses in the western conference.
Meanwhile, Houston center Dwight Howard suffered a torn ACL three games into the season and was ruled out for the rest of it. Not even a month later, James Harden went out for a month with a high ankle sprain against San Antonio on December 1, 2015. Oklahoma City returned to playoff form, and San Antonio was hovering around the seventh seed despite the retirement of Duncan and Ginobili. This was mainly due to stellar play of sophomore Kyle Anderson.
In the east, Atlanta continued their dominance, accompanied by Cleveland and Toronto. John Wall was sidelined for the first two months following a knee injury taken during the preseason, which led to Washington having a mediocre start of 14-18. Charlotte rose up the standings with Chris Bosh manning the center position, and Kemba Walker began to look like a legitimate MVP.
New Orleans finished atop the west with 60 wins, winning a tiebreaker with Golden State. Dallas finished third with 58, and Oklahoma City fourth with 54. In the west, Atlanta survived a late surge by Toronto to finish 1st in the conference at 62-20. The playoffs began, and it was surprising when the defending champions were ousted in the second round by a young and hungry Charlotte team.
Washington, with John Wall healthy, swept Milwaukee in the first round, beat Toronto in six in the next round, and finally swept Charlotte to reach the NBA finals. In the west, New Orleans had fought a tough battle with division champion Dallas, but upon a Monta Ellis buzzer beater were eliminated. Dallas returned to the NBA finals for the first time since 2011.
Dallas took the first two games, but Washington rallied to tie it at 2-2. Dallas then won the next two in convincing fashion, led by a strong effort from Monta Ellis, named finals MVP after tallying 28.8 ppg and 6.4 apg. Dirk Nowitzki, at 37, also did a great job with 19.8 ppg.
The 2016 offseason was not very eventful. The only major sign was Kevin Durant opting to join Washington in the place of Paul Pierce, who decided to retire. Dwight Howard also decided to leave Houston and sign with New York in the hope of winning a ring, joining Carmelo Anthony and emerging star Jahlil Okafor. LeBron James resigned with Cleveland.
The 2016-17 season was possibly one of the most marred by injuries in the history of the league. At season's start, Anthony Davis was ruled out for a month with a knee injury, Kevin Durant broke his arm in a practice during the offseason, and Rajon Rondo was out for a good chunk of the season after aggravating his ACL.
As a result, unexpected teams made surges into the playoffs, such as Orlando, Minnesota, and Sacramento. LaMarcus Aldridge also tore an ACL at the middle of the season, marring Portland's 29-13 start. Golden State remained at the top of the conference for most of the season, along with Dallas. San Antonio missed the playoffs for the first time in almost twenty seasons, ending one of the longest runs in NBA history.
Minnesota won the northwest division this season, led by league MVP Andrew Wiggins. They finished with a 56-26 record, up from a 34-48 record in the previous season. Oklahoma City missed the playoffs, despite Russell Westbrook putting up solid numbers. Dallas, Golden State, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Toronto won their divisions.
In the playoffs, Minnesota pulled an upset of the Dallas Mavericks in the second round, meeting the New Orleans Pelicans in the conference finals. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans to the finals for the first time in team history, defeating the Atlanta Hawks in six games to capture their first championship.
In the next season, commissioner Adam Silver announced that a new team would be added into Seattle, and Oklahoma City agreed to relinquish their pre-2008 history to the new Sonics. They joined the northwest division. During the offseason, numerous trades happened. Houston agreed to ship James Harden to the Charlotte Hornets for several young players, entering a rebuilding stage. Dwyane Wade decided to retire after a successful 14-year career. Most notable was the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki, finishing his career sixth in NBA scoring, and Kobe Bryant, who finished second.
The new Sonics team started off 3-0 but soon slid down to a 7-18 record a while later. DeMarcus Cousins emerged into a full-fledged superstar, stealing the Golden State Warrior's crown atop the division following a Stephen Curry injury. Dallas survived the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki due to the stellar play of Dwight Powell, acquired in a 2014 trade.
New powerhouses took the top of the east, Milwaukee and Charlotte. New York became a force to be reckoned with, having Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Jahlil Okafor, and more. Brooklyn decided to enter a rebuild after not being able to make the second round for three straight years, and traded Deron Williams and Brook Lopez to Sacramento.
Paul George never fully recovered from his broken leg in 2014 and suffered nagging injuries for the next few seasons to the point where he decided to sit out the 2017-18 season to get some treatment.
This season was one of the most unbalanced in NBA history, as it took 53 wins to make the playoffs in the west and only 41 in the east. The New Orleans Pelicans took the west by storm, finishing at 66-16 and capturing their second straight title in a sweep of Charlotte. Anthony Davis was named MVP and finals MVP, as well.
The following season, a shift of powers began to occur. Stephen Curry decided to sign with Indiana after not being able to catch a title in Golden State. During this season, number one draft pick Karl Robertson was picked by Boston and many anticipated him to bring a championship to the Celtics, called "the next big thing".
The 2019 champion was Minnesota, led by Andrew Wiggins, who was named finals MVP. They beat a Charlotte Hornets team who were tired and weary from three series that went to game seven. Minnesota finished a franchise-best 63-19, and it became evident that the east was getting better. It took only 45 wins to make the playoffs in the west, and 43 in the west.
In 2020, Charlotte emerged hungry and determined to capture a title for the first time in team history and had a convincing regular season, finishing at 60-22 and the second seed in the east, just behind Washington. In the west, New Orleans blew their way through the season, at 62-20.
New Orleans narrowly beat Minnesota after an Andrew Wiggins buzzer beater missed, making the finals once more. Charlotte suffered after James Harden hurt his knee late in the regular season. They barely made it past the first round against Boston but lost to Cleveland in the semi-finals.
Cleveland lost to Washington in game 7 in the conference finals, sending Kevin Durant, John Wall, and co. to the finals against a Pelicans team looking for a third title in four years. The series went down to the wire, but in game seven, New Orleans had the home court and won in convincing fashion, Anthony Davis being named finals MVP.
The east takes control (2020-2027)
As the 2020s began, there were three front-runners in each conference. In the west, they were Sacramento, New Orleans, and Minnesota. In the east, they were Washington, Charlotte, and New York. Charlotte finally got over the hump by signing veteran Carmelo Anthony to bolster their starting lineup, taking home their first championship after a six-game win from Sacramento. Following the 2021 season, LeBron James announced retirement. He won the championship twice, was a five-time MVP, and finished fifth on the NBA scoring list.
The 2022 champion was New Orleans for their fourth title in six years. The next season, Washington swept Minnesota for their second title. In 2024, New York beat New Orleans. The following season, the Detroit Pistons moved to St. Louis to become the St. Louis Pistons, and the Las Vegas Dealers joined the league as the newest expansion team.
In 2025, Boston took home the championship and again in 2026, beating the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, respectively.
List of champions
|2014-15||Atlanta Hawks||4-3||Golden State Warriors|
|2015-16||Dallas Mavericks||4-2||Washington Wizards|
|2016-17||New Orleans Pelicans||4-2||Atlanta Hawks|
|2017-18||New Orleans Pelicans||4-0||Charlotte Hornets|
|2018-19||Minnesota Timberwolves||4-2||Charlotte Hornets|
|2019-20||New Orleans Pelicans||4-3||Washington Wizards|
|2020-21||Charlotte Hornets||4-1||Sacramento Kings|
|2021-22||New Orleans Pelicans||4-0||New York Knicks|
|2022-23||Washington Wizards||4-3||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|2023-24||New York Knicks||4-2||New Orleans Pelicans|
|2024-25||Boston Celtics||4-3||New Orleans Pelicans|
|2025-26||Boston Celtics||4-3||Sacramento Kings|
|2026-27||Denver Nuggets||4-2||Boston Celtics|
|2027-28||Sacramento Kings||4-3||New York Knicks|
|2028-29||Boston Celtics||4-0||Denver Nuggets|
|2029-30||Minnesota Timberwolves||4-3||Boston Celtics|