Top 10 Basketball Teams of All Time

There are many amazing basketball teams in NBA history. This list of the top 10 teams looks at the best, most complete squads to ever take the court.

10. 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons

This was the team’s second championship in a row. The Pistons were led by Isiah Thomas’ MVP award and included Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Mark Aguirre, Dennis Rodman, James Edwards, John Salley, Vinnie Johnson, Rick Mahorn, and Kelly Tripucka.

9. 1983-1984 Boston Celtics

Led by Larry Bird’s second consecutive MVP award, the Celtics won their 15th championship in a row. The team was coached by Bill Fitch and included Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton (who only played sparingly due to injury), and Cedric Maxwell.

7. 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers won their first of two championships in a row behind the play of MVP Wilt Chamberlain, who had been traded from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers were coached by Hall of Famer Bill Sharman and included Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, and Keith Erickson.

6. 1996-1997 Chicago Bulls

Phil Jackson was the team’s head coach, while Michael Jordan led his fifth MVP title. The team included Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, and Steve Kerr.

5. 1982-1983 Philadelphia 76ers

This was another of the 76ers’ great teams coached by Hall of Fame coach Billy Cunningham. The team included top-notch players like Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney (known as “The Boston Strangler”), and Moses Malone. They won the championship behind Malone’s MVP play.

4. 1987-1988 Los Angeles Lakers

This was the first of the Lakers’ three titles in a row. The Lakers won the championship behind the play of MVP Magic Johnson, who fired head coach Pat Riley after he had led the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals the year before. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, A.C. Green, Mychal Thompson, and Kurt Rambis were other stars on the team.

3. 1984-1985 Boston Celtics

The Celtics earned their 16th championship behind the play of MVP Larry Bird. The team was led by head coach K.C. Jones and included other greats like Kevin McHale, Robert Parish (known as the “Big 3”), and Dennis Johnson.

2. 2001-2002 Los Angeles Lakers

The team had a dominating starting lineup anchored by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers were coached by Phil Jackson and won their third championship in a row. The team also included veterans like Gary Payton and Karl Malone and rising stars like Rick Fox and Derek Fisher.

1. 1996-1997 Chicago Bulls

The defending champion Bulls broke the record for wins in a season with 72. They were led by Michael Jordan, who won his 5th MVP award that year. In addition, the team was filled with talented role players, including Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. As a result, they steamrolled through the playoffs, losing only once en route to winning their 2nd three-peat. Phil Jackson served as the team’s head coach. and won their second three-peat behind MVPs Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.


Many teams have a rich history and great players, including the 1960s Celtics, 1970s Lakers, 1980s 76ers, and 1990s Bulls. These teams could make a list, but I used the criteria of champions and their respective player’s MVP awards to determine my list.