Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Most Playoff Appearances -- NBA Teams

This is the 3rd part of a series that began yesterday with the NFL.

As one of the charter franchises of the National Basketball Association, the New York Knickerbockers -- very few people call them anything other than the Knicks, unless, they're trying to insult them -- are one of the leaders on this list.

Marv Albert, longtime voice of the Knicks (and the Rangers, and the Jets) remembered a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the NBA had just 9 teams, and 8 made the Playoffs, and said the NBA regular season seemed to have no other purpose but to eliminate the Knicks from Playoff contention.

But that 8 out of 9 became a 16 out of 23. It's now a 16 out of 30, but teams with losing records have made it to the NBA Playoffs many times. In 1981, the Houston Rockets made the Finals with a losing record.

This makes the total times a team has reached the Playoffs much bigger than it would be in MLB and the NFL. And the amount of franchise relocations in the NBA makes the proportions much smaller as well. Indeed, while the Yankees lead MLB by making the Playoffs, on the average, every 2.14 seasons, 5 NFL teams can beat that, and fully 2/3 of the NBA does.

Lakers combined 58
1 Boston Celtics 49
2 Los Angeles Lakers 47
Nationals/76ers combined 46
Hawks combined 40
Pistons combined 40
3 New York Knicks 40
Chaparrals/Spurs combined 39
4 San Antonio Spurs 34
5 Detroit Pistons 32
6 Philadelphia 76ers 32
7 Denver Nuggets 31
8 Chicago Bulls 30
9 Phoenix Suns 29
10 Portland Trail Blazers 29
Royals/Kings combined 29
Warriors combined 28
11 Indiana Pacers 28
12 Atlanta Hawks 27
Rockets combined 26
13 Milwaukee Bucks 26
14 Houston Rockets 25
Bullets/Wizards combined 25
Sonics/Thunder combined 24
15 Utah Jazz 24
Jazz combined 24
Nets combined 23
16 Cleveland Cavaliers 18
17 Washington Wizards 18
18 Dallas Mavericks 17
19 Golden State Warriors 16
20 New Jersey Nets 16
21 Miami Heat 15
22 Orlando Magic 13
Hornets combined 12
23 Sacramento Kings 10
24 Minnesota Timberwolves 8
Braves/Clippers combined 7
25 Toronto Raptors 5
26 New Orleans Hornets 5
27 Los Angeles Clippers 4
28 Memphis Grizzlies 4
Grizzlies combined 4
29 Oklahoma City Thunder 2
30 Charlotte Bobcats 1

Here's the proportions. The first column to the right of the team is the number of times they've made the Playoffs. The next is their number of seasons. The last is, on the average, every how many years they make the Playoffs. This chart is less kind to the local teams.

1 Los Angeles Lakers 47 51 1.09
Lakers combined 58 63 1.09
2 San Antonio Spurs 34 38 1.12
Chaparrals/Spurs combined 39 44 1.13
3 Boston Celtics 49 65 1.33
Nationals/76ers combined 46 62 1.35
4 Utah Jazz 24 33 1.38
5 Portland Trail Blazers 29 41 1.41
6 Denver Nuggets 31 44 1.42
7 Phoenix Suns 29 43 1.48
8 Chicago Bulls 30 45 1.50
9 Oklahoma City Thunder 2 3 1.50
10 Philadelphia 76ers 32 48 1.50
11 Miami Heat 15 23 1.53
Jazz combined 24 37 1.54
12 Indiana Pacers 28 44 1.57
Hawks combined 40 63 1.58
Pistons combined 40 64 1.60
13 Houston Rockets 25 40 1.60
14 New York Knicks 40 65 1.63
15 Milwaukee Bucks 26 43 1.65
Rockets combined 26 44 1.69
16 Orlando Magic 13 22 1.69
17 Detroit Pistons 32 55 1.72
18 New Orleans Hornets 5 9 1.80
19 Dallas Mavericks 17 31 1.82
Sonics/Thunder combined 24 44 1.83
Nets combined 23 44 1.91
Hornets combined 12 23 1.92
Bullets/Wizards combined 25 50 2.00
20 Washington Wizards 18 38 2.11
Royals/Kings combined 29 63 2.17
21 New Jersey Nets 16 35 2.19
22 Cleveland Cavaliers 18 41 2.28
23 Atlanta Hawks 27 62 2.30
Warriors combined 28 65 2.32
24 Memphis Grizzlies 4 10 2.50
25 Sacramento Kings 10 26 2.60
26 Minnesota Timberwolves 8 22 2.75
27 Golden State Warriors 16 49 3.06
28 Toronto Raptors 5 16 3.20
Grizzlies combined 4 16 4.00
Braves/Clippers combined 7 41 5.86
29 Los Angeles Clippers 4 27 6.75
30 Charlotte Bobcats 1 7 7.00

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