As we reach the end of the 2016-17 NBA season with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers facing each other for the 3rd consecutive time, every single guy whose team didn’t reach the ultimate stage is either rooting in favor of one of his favorite stars like Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, or simply against guys they hate, like LeBron or bandwagoners from each side.
It’s always sad when you get to this point of the season and don’t get to watch your team leave it all on the court to try and win that desired championship, and this gets even worse if you have to deal with this year after year after year.
So, if you’re a fan of the Clippers, Hornets, Raptors, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Pacers, Magic, Nets, Jazz or Suns, you’re probably sick and tired of watching all other 18 franchises take the Larry O’Brien trophy home while you still wait to get your chance.
But, of those 12 franchises, there are actually 7 that haven’t even had the chance to take the trophy home, as they haven’t even played on the ultimate stage of NBA basketball. And today, we’ll name those 7 unlucky franchises that will have to wait for at least one more year to get a shot at the ring.
7. New Orleans Pelicans
The youngest franchise in the league with just 15 years in their books hasn’t had much success since their Hornets days, not being able to even make it past the second round of the playoffs once despite making the postseason on 6 different occasions.
Their best shot at this came during Chris Paul’s prime, where they had the best team in franchise history during that 07-08 campaign, falling 4-3 against San Antonio. Now, all their hopes rest on Anthony Davis’ shoulders, although they’re going to need way more than that to reach the promised land.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
The Vancouver Grizzlies weren’t much of a competitive team, and even if that has changed a lot since the team moved to Memphis, things haven’t changed much when it comes to their championship chances despite having a very pesky and talented squad.
Being the Gasol franchise, their best opportunity to ever reach the ultimate stage of competitive basketball came a couple of seasons ago in 2013, where Marc Gasol won the DPOY. Sadly, the Spurs were just too much to handle for Marc, Conley and Randolph, being swept in 4 games in the Western Conference Finals.
5. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are just starting to build a winning culture after being one of the worst franchises in the NBA, mostly led by DeMar DeRozan since his breakout season a couple of years ago, but lacking the necessary supporting cast to make it past the Eastern Conference Finals.
So, after 22 seasons in the Association, the Raptors have only made 9 playoffs appearances, reaching the ECF just once, but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving whooped their butts in 6 games on their way to their second consecutive NBA Finals and first ever NBA ring.
4. Charlotte Hornets
We can all remember how much of a lousy team the Bobcats were, although there was a time when the Charlotte franchise was quite respected and had a very competitive team mostly led by Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry and of course, Alonzo Mourning.
Nevertheless, that was never enough to even make it to the Conference Finals, with their best shot coming in the 97-98 season after winning 51 games, but Jordan and his Bulls humiliated them 4-1 in the second round of the playoffs.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
There’s absolutely no doubt about how bright the future is for Minny, featuring young promising prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with a great defensive minded coach like Tom Thibodeau.
Still, they have a lot of work to do in order to change the semblance of a franchise that’s always been a one-man team, either during the Kevin Garnett era or the Kevin Love time, and they were only able to make the WCF once, but the Lakers defeated them 4 games to 2 on their way to a loss in the Finals against the Detroit Pistons.
2. Denver Nuggets
It has been 41 years since the Denver Nuggets got started in the NBA, and not even once they have been able to reach the greatest stage in the Association despite having amazingly talented players among their ranks, being knocked out of the 1st round of the playoffs in 15 of their 24 postseason appearances.
On the 9 remaining occasions, the Nuggets were able to reach the WCF in 3 opportunities, with their best shots at the ring coming in 1978, where the Seattle Supersonics defeated them in 6 games. Then, in 1985, Magic Johnson and the Lakers beat them 4-1 with the Hall of Fame point guard averaging over 15 assists per game. Their last shot at the Finals came in 2009, led by Carmelo Anthony, but the Lakers once again knocked them out, this time 4 games to 2.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
And as you probably know by now, the least successful NBA franchise in history has to be the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that tried to change their luck by bringing CP3 on board, not considering the fact that the “point God” hasn’t reached the ultimate stage either.
So, after 47 seasons as the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers, this lousy franchise has only made it to the postseason on 11 occasions, reaching the WC semifinals a couple of times but never reaching the WCF, with their best shot at the ring coming during the 2015 playoffs, where they blew a 3-1 lead against the Houston Rockets in the semifinals.