There are a lot of things besides having many good players on the roster that can actually make you thrive in the NBA, and more often than not, “superteams” tend to fail due to lack of chemistry, lack of patience, bad luck or all of the above.
When Kevin Durant announced his decision to become a member of the Golden State Warriors, the league had a lot to say about it and whether it was ok or not for him to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the very same squad that overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals against Durant and his former teammates.
But so far, Durant has shut his doubters up with an outstanding season on both ends of the floor and leading the Warriors to their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance, having him on the verge of finally winning his first ring.
Nevertheless, making a move to a more competitive team or just joining forces with a lot of stars hasn’t always been a good call, so let’s take a look at the top 10 superteams that were a complete disappointment.
10. 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets
Pairing Brook Lopez with Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams along with some veterans like Andrei Kirilenko and Alan Anderson under Jason Kidd’s tutelage seemed like an outstanding idea.
Sadly, the Nets got pretty much nothing out of those washed up veterans during that supposed breakout season, and Brooklyn never seemed to develop chemistry with a lousy start of the season, and even when they turned things around, they got completely whooped 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Miami Heat.
9. 2004-05 Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers hoped to finally win that championship during Reggie Miller’s final NBA season, but they weren’t even close to it despite also having Jermaine O’Neal and Ron Artest as well as Stephen Jackson, and they only managed to put together a 44-38 record after an outstanding 61-21 season the prior year.
On top of that, they couldn’t even reach the Conference Finals after losing 4-2 against the Detroit Pistons after being the third seed in their division behind Detroit and Chicago. During the series, the “Malice in the Palace” brawl that led to several suspensions completely killed all hopes from the Pacers and with it, their season.
8. 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers
Everything pointed towards LeBron finally winning his first NBA Championship for the city of Cleveland after the Cavaliers put together an amazing squad featuring Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker and JJ Hickson, but that wasn’t the case.
The LeBron–Shaq experiment never took off and even if the King won his 2nd Most Valuable Player award and the Cavs were the 1st seed in the East due to their 61-21 record, they couldn’t go past the powerful Boston Celtics, who beat them in the second round of the playoffs after they defeated Rose and the Bulls.
7. 1994-95 Orlando Magic
A brilliant Shaquille O’Neal led the Orlando Magic to a .695 winning average and a 57-25 winning record during the 1994-95 campaign alongside Horace Grant and Penny Hardaway, but it was the center who had the most spectacular individual performance with averages of 29.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 blocks per game.
The Magic finally reached the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets, but there was absolutely no stopping Hakeem Olajuwon and his boys, who swept the Magic 4 games to nothing, mostly due to the 32 PPG that “The Dream” averaged through the matchup.
6. 1996-97 Houston Rockets
It seemed like this was finally going to be Charles Barkley’s time to win an NBA ring, as the talented power forward was poised to play alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler just a couple of years after the Rockets had won the ring.
Thanks to their 57-25 record, the Rockets managed to earn the 3rd seed in the West behind the Utah Jazz and the Seattle Supersonics. Sadly, they weren’t able to even have the chance to play for the jewelry, as the Jazz defeated them 4 games to 2 in the Western Conference Finals.
5. 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers
The “Fab Four” Lakers team was definitely one of the biggest flops in NBA history, as Mitch Kupchak actually managed to pair Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton to play under Phil Jackson’s command, but the experiment was a complete disaster.
Some off the court issues between Bryant and Malone really messed up the team’s chemistry, even more than it already was due to some misunderstandings between Shaq and Kobe, forcing Malone to retire without a ring after a heartbreaking 4 to 1 loss against the Pistons in the Finals.
4. 2010-11 Miami Heat
After owning a very respectable 58-24 record during the first season of the big three featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the 2nd seeded Miami Heat managed to reach the NBA Finals under Erik Spoelstra’s tutelage in a very dominant fashion.
Sadly, after reaching the ultimate stage in NBA basketball, LeBron would have to wait a little more to give a ring to South Beach, as an inspired Dallas Mavericks team completely destroyed them after Wade and LeBron reportedly mocked Dirk Nowitzki’s health, losing to Carlisle’s squad 4 games to 2.
3. 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks seemed like a lock to win the NBA championship after leading the West with a 67 and 15 record under Avery Johnson, in a season where Dirk Nowitzki won the Most Valuable Player award due to his awesome averages of 24.6 points, 8.9 boards and 3.4 helpers on over 50% from the field.
But, even if Dirk was playing beside Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse, the Mavericks couldn’t get past the 8th seeded Golden State Warriors during the 1st round of the playoffs, making it the greatest upset in NBA playoff history.
2. 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers wanted to give another shot at the fab four angle, bringing Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on a team that also featured Metta World Peace, Derek Fisher, Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake, but the Lakers were a huge mess from the very first day.
After Mike Brown was fired, the Lakers turned to Mike D’Antoni to make things even worse, and the lack of chemistry between Howard and Kobe made life a living hell inside Staples during most of the year, until Los Angeles was finally swept by the San Antonio Spurs, who made the most of several key injuries.
1. 2015-16 Golden State Warriors
When asked about Golden State breaking their former record, Michael Jordan simply replied: "73-9 don’t mean a thing without the ring", and we definitely agree with that statement. The Warriors seemed poised to win back-to-back championships after breaking the NBA record for most regular season wins, but boys were we wrong.
Golden State got off to a poor start in the Western Conference Finals, but managed to pull an amazing comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder, overcoming a 3 to 1 deficit just to blow that very same lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, completely flushing their historic season down the toilet.