Hollinger strikes again with a great list posted today on espn.com. Hollinger uses a mostly bullshit formula to rank the 60 NBA finalists of the past 30 years. His formula is absurd, it weights all regular season wins equally, doesn't account for quality of competition, and is arbitrary with how much it weights scoring differential. Still, his results echo common sense, and make a couple of things painfully clear: The best teams in history were the 90's Bulls (by far), followed by the Celtics and Lakers of the mid 80's, the Pistons of the late 80's, and the Lakers and Spurs of this decade. The Rockets of the 90's and the Pistons of 2004 are two of the teams that were ranked much lower than I expected.
Anyway, according to the list, the best 'runner up' was the 1997 Jazz, followed by the 1998 Jazz, and the 1996 Sonics, which shows how strong the Western conference was in the mid 1990s. It also reminded me of an idea I had, to track through the many teams that were consistently among the NBA's elites, but failed to win a title. The Jazz and Sonics are definitely among these, as are the Kings of the early 2000s, and the Knicks of the 1990s. Who else deserve to be included? Right now I'd have to say the Mavs of the past few years deserve consideration, as do Clyde Drexler's Blazers.