Teams who never made the NBA finals


Making the NBA finals is the dream for every fan of a franchise, but some supporters are still waiting for their team to make it. It’s a long hard season in the NBA, with 82 regular season games before the seven-game playoffs. Making it all the way to the big game takes an outstanding team, and these teams have so far failed to make it to the big one.

Memphis Grizzlies

Grizzlies fans are still waiting on making their first appearance in the NBA finals. The closest the franchise has ever gotten to that game was their conference final in 2012 but suffered a 4-0 loss to the Spurs. The franchise was created in 1995 in Vancouver but relocated to Memphis in 2001.

Neither city has been a lucky one for the Grizzlies as their attempts to play in the final fall short every year. They have made ten playoffs in their history, but struggle to deal with the extra pressure that comes with those big games.

Charlotte Hornets

In their first run as the Charlotte Hornets, this franchise looked as though it might be a regular contender in the playoffs. First introduced to the NBA in 1988, the Hornets made seven playoff appearances in their first 14 seasons.

Their name was changed to the Charlotte Bobcats for a decade before making the switch back to the Hornets. In all of those name changes the Hornets are yet to make it past the semifinals, even with Michael Jordan buying a controlling share of the franchise in 2010.

Denver Nuggets

Since entering the NBA in 1976, the Denver Nuggets have never made it to the NBA finals but have managed to pick up 11 divisional titles in that time. Last season the Nuggets were second in the conference during the regular season but suffered an upset loss to the Trail Blazers in the semifinals. That elusive appearance in the NBA finals is still something Nuggets fans are waiting on, but rising stars like Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray might push them over the line.

New Orleans Pelicans

Even with an All-Star player like Anthony Davis, the Pelicans couldn’t get close to the NBA finals. The Pelicans have only been a franchise since 2002, so perhaps they’re still finding their feet in the NBA. The Pelicans lost Anthony Davis to the Lakers in 2019 but managed to draft the next big thing in basketball in Zion Williamson. However, if they couldn’t get to the finals with Davis, there’s no guarantee Williamson can elevate them to that level either.

Los Angeles Clippers

It must be hard for Clippers fans living in the shadow of their city rivals, the Lakers. With the Lakers having so many NBA titles the Clippers fans must be a little envious of what their rivals have got. The Clippers have a good recent record of making the playoffs so if they can just raise their game a little bit more in the postseason this 49-year run could end.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have been in the NBA since 1989 and at times looked as though they could make it all the way to the finals. They blew their one big chance when they lost the Western Conference Finals in the 2003-04 season to the Lakers.

Since then they have never been able to sustain the same levels and look like they need some major wins in the draft to get them there. It’s been 30 years, and the Timberwolves fans must be losing patience waiting on a finals appearance.

Losing isn’t fun for anyone, but spare a thought for the fans of these NBA franchises who have yet to see their team in the finals. Maybe one day they’ll get this monkey off their backs, but until then, they remain part of an exclusive club.