Ranking the Worst NBA Finals in Recent Memory
Who remembers how bad some of the past NBA Finals have been? How bad the Eastern Conference was in the early 2000s? Well, most of the 2000s, really.
So here’s a list of the worst NBA Finals, dating back to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers Era, focusing mostly on the losing teams in each respective finals….
5 - 2004 - Detroit Pistons beat Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
The Lakers were heavy favorites going into the series, but their lack of depth and age quickly caught up to them against a veteran and balanced Pistons team. Outside of Shaq and Kobe, the Lakers didn’t have much they could count on. In Game 4, the duo combined for 56 points while the rest of the team supported them with only 24, with no role player other than Gary Payton hitting more than a single field goal. Only 2 games in the series were decided by single digits.
4 - 2009 - Los Angeles Lakers beat Orlando Magic 4-1
Future Laker Dwight Howard led his team through a dreadful Eastern Conference but the squad hit a big dead end after that. Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis provided solid support to Howard, but how about a starting backcourt of Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee making it to the finals?
3 - 2001 - Los Angeles Lakers beat Philadelphia 76ers 4-1
Behind Iverson’s 48-point outburst, the 76ers managed to capture a game in the Finals. But that was it. Iverson’s supporting cast that year was composed of Aaron McKie, Jumaine Jones, Tyrone Hill, and Dikembe Mutombo. After Games 2 and 3 were played pretty tightly, the Lakers closed out the series with back-to-back double-digit wins.
2- 2007 - San Antonio Spurs beat Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0
LeBron put together the biggest series of his Cleveland career against Detroit in the Conference Finals, but the Spurs weren’t going to let the emerging superstar go any further. The Cavaliers gave a good run in Games 3 and 4, but all in all, James just didn’t have the help he needed. Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were the team’s top scorers behind James, with Sasha Pavlovic and Drew Gooden rounding out the starting 5. Yeah, so that’s maybe why the King sought out a new life in Miami.
1 - 2002 - Los Angeles Lakers beat New Jersey Nets 4-0
Jason Kidd made a cast of decent supporting players look like studs during the 2002 and 2003 playoffs, both years leading the Nets to the NBA Finals. Kidd’s starting lineup consisted of Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Kenyon Martin, and Todd MacCulloch. Yeah, the first three had some solid seasons with the Nets, but what did they do when they suddenly didn’t have Kidd on their team? Lucious Harris also provided some punch off the bench for the Nets. But against the Kobe and Shaq Lakers, the Nets barely had a chance.