Plenty of talented teams across the history of the NBA seem to have disappeared from conversations these days, their legacies evaporating along with their title hopes. And that's not fair.
These teams feature some of the most talented collections of players to play the game, but are not talked about nearly enough. Here are seven of the most underrated teams in recent NBA History.
7. 2017-2018 Boston Celtics
The 2017-2018 Boston Celtics were one game away from the NBA Finals. Jayson Tatum was a rookie playing like an MVP, Terry Rozier had ice coursing through his veins, Jaylen Brown was absurdly explosive on the wing, and Al Horford was a rock on defense. Up 3-2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics choked and blew the series. Still, you don't take three games from LeBron James without being the real deal.
6. 2015-2016 Toronto Raptors
It's a shame DeMar DeRozan couldn't be part of the Toronto Raptors' first NBA Championship in 2019. He gave so much to the organization, and led an extremely solid roster alongside Kyle Lowry in the 2016 playoffs. The Raptors had talent at every position, from walking bucket Terrance Ross on the wing, to playoff hero Bismack Biyombo in the paint. These Raptors were one of the greatest threats from the East that LeBron faced during his time in Cleveland, pushing him to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
5. 2008-2009 Orlando Magic
If feels like it's been eons since Dwight Howard's days of stardom. In reality, it hasn't been too long. In 2008-2009, D12 put up 20.6 points per game and led the league with 13.8 rebounds per game. His 2.9 blocks per game were also a league high, and earned him Defensive Player of the Year Award honors. With snipers Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu on the wing, the Orlando Magic had the perfect four out-one in system for Howard. The team fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals in five.
4. 2003-2004 Minnesota Timberwolves
2004 was Kevin Garnett's best shot at making the Finals before he left for the Boston Celtics in 2007. Sam Cassell was having an All-Star season at age 34, putting up 19.8 points and 7.3 assists per game. He and wings Latrell Sprewell and Wally Szczerbiak gave KG the perimeter support he always needed. The Minnesota Timberwolves ran into the roadblock of the Shaq and Kobe Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, falling in six games.
3. 1997-1998 Indiana Pacers
If Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers had managed to win a title, he would be remembered as one of the greatest shooters in history. Instead, his name is left out of plenty of conversations that it belongs in. The 'Last Dance' put his talents on display, showing the 1997-1998 Indiana Pacers were one game from beating Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Miller, Rik Smits, and Chris Mullin's 58-24 win team fell in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
2. 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks
Too many people consider it a fluke that the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals. They clearly haven't seen Dirk Nowitzki's highlight reel. One of the NBA's best all-time scorers exploded against Miami, putting up 26.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. In Game 4, Dirk evened the series with 21 points while dealing with the flu. Wow. With Tyson Chandler and Jason Terry headlining a great supporting cast, these Mavs are the most underrated NBA champions.
1. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings
The 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings were the best team to ever play in California's capital city. Interior presence Chris Webber and sniper Peja Stojakovic both scored over 20 PPG. Five other players scored in double digits, including Mike Bibby and Vlade Divac. The deep roster gave the Los Angeles Lakers their greatest scare during their Three-Peat run, pushing them to seven games in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, featuring a controversial Game 6 loss for the Kings.