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A Tally of Winning and Losing Seasons in the NBA

Posted by Andrew McKillop on August 3, 2011

Post Highlights

  • A little over 81% of all the Los Angeles Lakers seasons have been winning ones.
  • The Utah Jazz had winning seasons from 1985-1986 to 2003-2004; 19 consecutive seasons.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t had back to back winning seasons since they were the Buffalo Braves (1975-76).
  • The Sacramento Kings had losing seasons from  1983-84 to 1997-98: 15 consecutive seasons.



The Los Angeles Lakers have had the most winning seasons (52) of all NBA teams.  A little over 81% of the Lakers seasons have been winning ones.  The highest percentage of winning seasons by any NBA team.  Checkout the chart below for a complete tally of winning and losing seasons by team in the NBA.

Winning and Losing Seasons in the NBA

Legend: W (# of winning seasons), L (# of losing seasons), .500 (# of .500/even seasons), % (percentage of W/L/.500 seasons), W Streak (greatest streak of winning seasons), L Streak (greatest streak of losing seasons)

Note: Data only includes regular season records.  Includes ABA and NBL seasons.

NBA seasons span two years and they are usually noted to reflect that (ex: 2010-11).  But to avoid clutter I only noted the year at the tail end of the season.

Atlantic Division
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
76ers 38 58% 24 37% 3 5% 12 (1976-87) 7 (1992-98)
Celtics 46 71% 18 28% 1 2% 14 (Last: 1980-93) 8 (1994-2001)
Knicks 34 52% 30 46% 1 2% 10 (1992-2001) 9 (2002-10)
Nets 16 36% 27 61% 1 2% 5 (2002-06) 7 (1986-92)
Raptors 4 25% 11 69% 1 6% 3 (2000-02) 4 (Last: 2003-06)
Central Division
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
Bucks 23 53% 18 42% 2 5% 12 (1980-91) 7 (1992-98)
Bulls 21 47% 21 47% 3 7% 11 (1988-98) 6 (Last: 1999-2004)
Cavaliers 19 46% 22 54% 0 0% 7 (1992-98) 9 (1979-87)
Pacers 19 43% 20 45% 5 11% 7 (1969-75) 5 (Last: 2007-11)
Pistons 35 50% 35 50% 0 0% 9 (1984-92) 14 (1957-70)
Southeast
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
Bobcats 1 14% 6 86% 0 0% No Streak 5 (2005-09)
Hawks 32 49% 31 48% 2 3% 7 (1993-99) 9 (2000-08)
Heat 14 61% 9 39% 0 0% 6 (1996-2001 5 (1989-93)
Magic 12 55% 7 32% 3 14% 4 (Last: 2008-11) 4 (2004-07)
Wizards 18 36% 31 62% 1 2% 7 (1973-79) 9 (1988-96)
Northwest
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
Jazz 24 65% 11 30% 2 5% 19 (1986-2004) 9 (1975-83)
Nuggets 25 57% 18 41% 1 2% 8 (2004-11) 8 (1996-2003)
Thunder 24 55% 17 39% 3 7% 7 (1992-98) 4 (Last: 2006-09)
T-wolves 7 32% 14 64% 1 5% 6 (2000-05) 8 (1990-97)
Trail Blazers 27 66% 12 29% 2 5% 14 (1990-2003) 6 (1971-76)
Pacific
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
Clippers 6 15% 34 83% 1 2% 3 (1974-76) 12 (Last: 1994-2005)
Kings 26 39% 39 59% 1 2% 8 (1999-06) 15 (1984-98)
Lakers 52 81% 12 19% 0 0% 16 (1977-92) 6 (1956-61)
Suns 27 63% 14 33% 2 5% 7 (1989-95) 4 (1985-88)
Warriors 27 42% 35 54% 3 5% 7 (1972-78) 12 (1995-2006)
Southwest
Team W % L % .500 % W Streak L Streak
Grizzlies 4 25% 12 75% 0 0% 3 (2004-06) 8 (1996-2003)
Hornets 12 52% 8 35% 3 13% 7 (1997-2003) 4 (1989-92)
Mavericks 17 55% 14 45% 0 0% 11 (2001-11) 10 (1991-2000)
Rockets 25 57% 15 34% 4 9% 7 (1991-97) 7 (1968-74)
Spurs 33 75% 8 18% 3 7% 14 (1998-2011) 4 (1986-89)




Highest % / Most Winning Seasons in the NBA

Highest % of Winning Seasons Most Winning Seasons
Rk Team % WSea Rk Team W Sea %
1 Lakers 81% 52 1 Lakers 52 81%
2 Spurs 75% 33 2 Celtics 46 71%
3 Celtics 71% 46 3 76ers 38 58%
4 Trail Blazers 66% 27 4 Pistons 35 50%
5 Jazz 65% 24 5 Knicks 34 52%



The Charlotte Bobcats have the highest percentage of losing seasons (86%).  The Sacramento Kings have had the most losing seasons (39); more than triple the losing seasons the Los Angeles Lakers have had (12).

Highest % / Most Losing Seasons in the NBA

Highest % of Losing Seasons Most Losing Seasons
Rk Team % L Sea Rk Team L Sea %
1 Bobcats 6 86% 1 Kings 39 59%
2 Clippers 34 83% 2 Warriors 35 54%
3 Grizzlies 12 75% 3 Pistons 35 50%
4 Raptors 11 69% 4 Clippers 34 83%
5 T-wolves 14 64% 5t Wizards 31 62%
5t Hawks 31 48%


Winning and Losing Season Streaks in the NBA

Winning Season Streaks

The Utah Jazz had winning seasons from 1985-1986 to 2003-2004; 19 consecutive seasons.  It’s the most consecutive winning seasons by any team in the NBA.

The Boston Celtics have had streaks of 14 winning seasons on two occasions; 1955-56 to 1968-69 and 1979-80 to 1992-93.

The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t had back to back winning seasons since they were the Buffalo Braves (1975-76).

Losing Season Streaks

The Sacramento Kings had losing seasons from  1983-84 to 1997-98: 15 consecutive seasons.  It’s the most consecutive losing seasons by any team in the NBA.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the longest current streak of losing seasons; 6 consecutive losing seasons since 2005-06.

 

Reference: Basketball-Reference.com, Association for Professional Basketball Research


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