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basketball teams in Usa

in this post, I’m going to shed some light on the most successful basketball teams in USA. NBA is the third most lucrative sporting event in America. a lot of players are struggling to know the team they can enroll with. history is very important while choosing where to belong. below is the list of basketball teams in USA for your careful consideration.

Table of Contents

The Denver Nuggets

As an American professional basketball team from Denver, Colorado, the Denver Nuggets is part of the Western Conference of NBA and belong to the Northwest division. Founded in 1967 as Denver Larks, the team was initially a charter franchise of ABA (American Basketball Association). It later changed its name, before it played its first season, to Rockets. The name was changed to Nuggets, when a merger between ABA-NBA was expected in 1974. The team lost to New York Nets in the finals of ABA championship in 1976.

The team plays its home games at Pepsi Center, which is also the home arena for Colorado Avalanche of National Hockey League.

Performance

In their initial seasons at NBA, the team struck gold by making it to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and 12 times in the team’s first 14 seasons. In the 1990s, the team suffered big setbacks reaching the playoffs only twice in ten years.

The team did not get any big wins till the team drafted small forward Carmelo Anthony during the third overall pick of the 2003 draft in NBA.  After Anthony joined the team in 2003-2004, the Nuggets have not missed a single playoff. In spite of reaching the playoffs, the Nuggets have made it past the playoffs only once, when the team reached finals of 2009 Western Conference.

Even after the exit of Anthony to New York, the team has continued on with its post season presence regularly. The team has retired the numbers of five players in its long history. Though the team has not reached the championship round from the time in ABA, it has had some intermittent success all through its NBA history. Since their induction into NBA in 1976, the team has won six division titles. The team has increased its success consistently and has become a strong division contender and playoff performer.

Rivalries

Nuggets vs. Lakers

Since both teams belong to Western Conference they don’t get along. The two have met over 150 times in matchups during the regular season and have a powerful rivalry burning whenever they meet. The teams have clashed constantly at playoffs in NBA history and the rivalry was at its peak in the 2009 Western Conference finals.

Nuggets vs. Jazz

The two teams belonging to the same region has made the rivalry more intense. The teams have faced each other in over 170 matchups in regular season and over 20 playoffs making the rivalry a better known one in NBA. It was during the back to back season playoffs in the middle of 1980s that the rivalry reached its peak. Since the two teams are part of the western conference, the rivalry is based more on their geographical proximity and it is expected to go up several notches in future matchups they feature in.

Nuggets vs. Spurs

The rivalry between the two teams goes a long way back to the 1960s, a time when the two teams were part of American Basketball Association. The two teams have also met for the maximum number of times in NBA. They have so far completed over 260 games and the number is more when compared to Nuggets’ facing any other NBA team. The playoff matchups between the two teams are several in numbers and mostly have a very high intensity rivalry quotient. The rivalry is predicted to increase more in the upcoming matches.

The Milwaukee Bucks

A professional basketball team from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks belongs to the Central Division of NBA’s Eastern Conference.  Established in the year 1968 as part of NBA’s expansion team, the Milwaukee Bucks’ playing arena is at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The team was initially owned by Herb Kohl, former United States Senator, but since April 2014, the ownership has been turned over to Wesley Edens & Marc Lasry, a billionaire hedge fund managing group. The ownership change has since been approved by the NBA owners and also the Board of Governors in May. John Hammond is the present general manager of the team. Jason Kidd is its head coach.

Performance

The Milwaukee Bucks have one league title to their name, which was won in the year 1971. The other wins include two conference titles in the year 1971 and 1974, and thirteen division titles won between 1971 to 1974, 1976, and 1980 to 1986 and in 2001.

Star players of the team include Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Big Dog Robinson, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, Andrew Bogut, Ray Allen, Vin Baker, Terry Cummings, Toni Kukoc, Brandon Jennings, Michael Redd and Jon McGlocklin. During the period starting from 1979 to 1980, the Bucks won 12 consecutive seasons, making it the longest winning streak in NBA history. But in 1991, the reverse happened when the team had made just 31 wins making them the team with the lowest win total, since the year 1977. The induction of Ray Allen changed the fortune for the team and their winning streak regained.

With 13 division titles, the Bucks are considered as elite teams in the league, and have carved a name for their team, as a premier organization of NBA, since their inception in 1970.

Rivalries

The Chicago Bulls – Milwaukee Bucks

The Chicago Bulls are the greatest rivals to the Milwaukee Bucks who do not have any other rivalry of importance. The rivalry started in the middle of the 1970s, when the Bulls were crushed by the Bucks in a division title game, and in the Eastern Conference title.  The close proximity of the two cities is also another reason for the rivalry.

During the 2010-2011 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks were considered to be a big challenge for the Bulls and were expected to win the division title. But the Bulls maintained their dominance and the Bucks had to contend with the ninth place without a chance to go for the playoffs. Though Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut are star players who could give the bulls a run for their money, the bulls have a long history of dominance that is hard to break.

The Indiana Pacers – Milwaukee Bucks

Though there has not been any clear cut rivalry between the two teams, things were a bit on the rougher side, when the teams faced each other for the matches in 2013. They have met nearly 150 times. The rivalry between the two teams sprouted in the 1999 and 2000 back to back seasons. Dunleavy and Larry Sanders were ejected, while Tyler Hansbrough and Mike Dunleavy had a big tiff in a game. The tension between the two teams is evident when they meet.

The Miami Heat

Based in Miami, Florida, the Miami Heat is a professional basketball team belonging to the Eastern Conference’s South East Division in NBA. The home games are played by the team at the American Airlines Arena situated in Downtown Miami.

Micky Arison of the cruise ship giant Carnival Corporation owns the team. Pat Riley is the de facto general manager and president of the team. Erik Spoelstra is the head coach. Established in the year 1988, the team is part of the 4 expansion franchises.

Though the Heat is not related to Miami Floridian, which was part of American Basketball Association in the early part of 1970s, the team occasionally pays tribute to them by wearing an identical uniform during the Hardwood Classics Nights of NBA. This was done in the 2005-2006 season and again in the 2011 -2012 season.

Performance

The Heat has won three league championships in the years 2006, 2012 and 2013. They have also gained five conference titles and 11 division titles. The Heat has also the honor of having the second longest winning streak in the history of NBA, next to the Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins. The team is valued at $625 million, taking it to the sixth most valued franchise in NBA.

Rivalries

Heat vs New York Knicks

The rivalry between the two started with the brutally played playoff series in consecutive years from 1997 to 2000. Pat Riley, the head coach for the Knicks first in 1990s and then for Miami Heat in the latter part of 1990s was a source of rivalry for the two teams. The rivalry saw a lot of physical violence and suspensions, which affected the outcome of the games. In 1997, the Heat bagged the honor of being one among 8 teams to win a series, when trailing at 3-1. The Knicks in 1999 bagged the second eighth seed, upsetting the first seed in NBA league history.

Heat vs Chicago Bulls

Though both have been in the race to gain the Eastern Conference title since the early part of 1990s, the rivalry picked up its pace only recently. Both teams are consistently faced off each other in the playoff matchups, where the intense physical game is liberally interspersed with trash talk and suspensions.

Heat vs. Boston Celtics

The rivalry between the two teams has heated up recently with both meeting at the playoffs. Rosters filled with stars on both sides, it is a delight to watch the teams play. Both teams fight for supremacy in NBA and the stakes are mostly the highest when the two teams meet.

Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

The rivalry between the teams rests more on the fans than on the players with the two fan bases hating each other intensely. Mostly the rivalry is seen in the physical play with the violence escalating in the recent seasons and is set to continue in the coming years.

Heat vs. Orlando Magic

basketball teams in usa

Since the two are state rivals, the rivalry is a given thing. The two teams have played over 95 games against each other, which included playoff matchup games. The rivalry has picked momentum recently and physical play is dominant in the meetings. Star player and basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal featuring in both franchises all through his illustrious career the link between the two increases further and fuels the rivalry more.

The Memphis Grizzlies

Part of the Southwest Division of NBA’s Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies team is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies play at home in the FedEXForum. Robert Pera is the majority owner of the team. Founded in the year 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the team in 2001, shifted to Memphis. It is the only team to play from Memphis of the total four professional leagues. Chris Wallace is the general manager and Dave Joerger is the head coach. Joerger was promoted as head coach, when the top brass of the team could not come to an amicable agreement with Lionel Hollins.

Performance

Being a young franchise of NBA’s expansion during 1995-1996 season, the team did not do well during its initial run in NBA. The team based in Vancouver initially did not win more than 20 games in a single season, till the team was into the fourth year in NBA. During its third season in the year 1999-2000, the team managed to finish at 8-40 with a winning percentage of 0.160.

After the team experienced a dismal run without reaching the 30 win mark in the initial eight seasons, the Grizzlies’ fortune turned in the 2003-2005 season, when it grabbed 50 games and also made it to the playoffs. With Spaniard Pau Gasol leading the team, Grizzlies continued on their successful run to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, though they did not win any of the playoff series.

After a break of four years from post season appearances the team finally made it past the playoff level in the last three seasons. In 2011, the team tasted its first playoff win and in 2013, Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference finals for the first ever time in NBA history. Since it is a young team, it has not yet retired any numbers.

The Memphis Grizzlies are emerging as one of the valuable teams in NBA. For the last few of its seasons, the team has become a strong contender for the Western Conference title. The team had a near miss with the title in 2012-2013 season. With its roster still young and energetic, the team is all set to make it to the top soon.

Rivalries

Grizzlies vs. Spurs

The rivalry between the two teams is regarded as one of the best in NBA history. The two teams belonging to inner division have met more than 70 times during regular season games. They have also met in post season series thrice with two being in the last three seasons. The matchup between the two in the 2013 Western Conference finals has increased the intensity more.

Grizzlies vs. Mavericks

The fledgling Grizzlies matching up with the veteran Mavericks has led to much speculation and entertainment among the fan bases. The two teams are mostly at loggerheads angling for their division supremacy. The rivalry reached its peak, when the two met at the playoffs in the 2006 Western Conference. The two also met post season in the same year in the first round. The two have met over 65 regular season games so far.

Grizzlies vs. Rockets

The rivalry between the two teams is often filled with intense game play and trash talk. There have been over 70 meetings between the two teams and the fighting is mostly over who has divisional supremacy.

Part of the Southwest Division of NBA’s Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies team is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies play at home in the FedExForum. Robert Pera is the majority owner of the team. Founded in the year 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the team in 2001, shifted to Memphis. It is the only team to play from Memphis of the total four professional leagues. Chris Wallace is the general manager and Dave Joerger is the head coach. Joerger was promoted as head coach when the top brass of the team could not come to an amicable agreement with Lionel Hollins.

The Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been part of the NBA (National Basketball Association) since 1970, when they were included in expansion. The professional American basketball team also called as Cavs is based in Cleveland, Ohio. The home arena of the team is at Quicken Loans Arena. This is also where the Cleveland Gladiators of Football League and Lake Erie Monsters of American Hockey play.

The team is part of the Eastern Conference of NBA and belongs to the Central Division. They hold the distinction of the division’s only remaining charter member. The other members had shifted to the Midwest Division, which is not functioning now.

The team features popular NBA stars like Brad Daugherty, Austin Carr, Mark Price, Zydrunas Ligauskas, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Past reigning NBA stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Thurmond and Walt “Clyde” Frazier also were part of the Cleveland Cavaliers though only towards their career end.

Performance

The team has won three Central Division Championships in the years 1976, 2009 and 2010, 1 Eastern Conference Championship in 2007, and 18 playoff seasons in total. At the time of Ted Stepien owning the team, the NBA brought about the draft pick trading rule also called as The Stepien Rule. The team had the record of longest losing streak in all major professional sports in America, from 2010 to 2011 with 26 losses.

Rivalries

The Milwaulkee Bucks –Cleveland Cavaliers

Though the two teams have not been pitted against each other during playoff rounds, the end of the season matchup between the two would be a gritty one.

The Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers

The rivalry between the teams was summed up by Le Bron James as, ‘We don’t like them, and they don’t like us”. For a major part of their matches the rivalry has not settled down even a bit. The Celtics had emerged victorious with 4-3 during Irving’s time. The two teams are to be facing each other thrice in the regular season with Boston being considered as the dominant team.

Chicago Bulls – Cleveland Cavaliers

The rivalry is rife since 1989, but was filled with Cleveland being defeated most of the time. It was in 2010 that the Cavs won a game against the Bulls. With players like point guard Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, the rivalry between the two teams is still alive.

Washington Wizards – Cleveland Cavaliers

The rivalry goes back to the time, when the two teams faced each other in the playoffs consecutively for three years in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Kyrie Irving and John Wall are the prominent players with Wall having a 2-0 lead. The only matchup between the two had the Wizards winning by 3.

Detroit Pistons – Cleveland Cavaliers

The Detroit Pistons like the Cavaliers and Wizards have been in the bottom rung of Eastern Conference for some time, but like the other two the Pistons are waiting to end the state. The two teams had an intense matchup in the 2007 Eastern Conference finals. The Pistons have a powerful star lineup including Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith

Basketball Teams in Usa

The Dallas Mavericks

Based in Dallas, Texas the Dallas Mavericks is a professional American basketball team belonging to the Southwest Division of NBA’s Western Conference. The team is often referred to as ‘Mavs.’ Valued at over $685 million, it ranks fifth in the most valuable basketball franchise of NBA list. The other teams that hold the first four places are New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

The Mavericks is part of NBA’s expansion franchise and joined NBA in 1980. The team has at present the longest running sell out streak in a major sports league in North America with 477 consecutive sellout games, since the year 2001.

Performance

The Mavs registered its first season win in 1983-1984 and continued to play better in the following years till the 1989-1990 season, when it was just one game short of entering  the NBA finals. It lost to Los Angeles Lakers during the season, and twice before that which amounts to three times in just five years.

All through the 1990s the team was right at the base in NBA, setting records for worst season several times. It was in the year 2000-2001 that the Mavs finally made it to the playoffs. Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley were the key players in that season. Since then Dallas has missed being in the playoffs only twice from 2001 to 2012.

It managed to reach NBA finals in 2006, where it was defeated by Miami Heat. It was in the year 2011 that the Mavericks won the first title. Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Nowitzki were the star players in the team who made it possible. The key players fought against and managed to defeat the big three formidable stars Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. So far the team has retired Brad Davis and Mark Aguirre’s numbers.

From the time of their inaugural season, the Mavs have usurped the division title in the years 1987, 2007 and 2010.  They also have two conference championships won in 2006 and 2011, and one NBA championship in the year 2011.

Rivalries

Mavericks vs. Suns

This was considered as an intense rivalry during the middle part of 2000s. The rivalry started when point guard Steve Nash shifted to Phoenix Suns. As both teams met consistently in playoffs, this sparked a powerful rivalry between the two. With the two teams being at top form when they play against each other the matchups are highly entertaining.

Mavericks vs. Spurs

This rivalry also turned into an intense one in the 2000s. The two teams meet consistently resulting in high stakes and powerful rivalry that is hard to compare.

Mavericks vs. Heat

The rivalry gained national prominence when the Mavs crushed the Miami Heat in the NBA finals in 2011. The star players in both teams and celebrity owners all resulted in the rivalry becoming a popular and intense one in NBA history. With both teams as contenders for title, the rivalry is expected to become intense in future.

Mavericks vs. Rockets

The two teams are state rivals and connected by the interstate 45. Bragging and rough play feature dominantly, when the teams meet. Mavericks always manage to hold the edge whenever the two play on court.

The Houston Rockets

Based in Houston, Texas, the Houston Texas is a professional basketball team belonging to the Southwest division of National Basketball Association’s Western Conference. Founded in the year 1967, the team initially played in San Diego, California for nearly four years. It later shifted to Houston. The team plays its home games at the Toyota Center in Houston, California.

Performance

During its debut season, the team won just 15 games. With the inclusion of Elvin Hayes during the 1969 NBA draft the team’s fortune changed for the better, and it made it to the playoffs in 1969. When Hayes was traded later for Moses Malone, the team made it to the finals in the conference level.

Malone also won the Most Valuable Player award twice. He was also instrumental in the team entering into the finals of NBA in 1981. The team did not win as it was defeated by Boston Celtics in six games. Kevin McHale featured in the Celtics team and is now the head coach of Rockets.

Before the beginning of 1984-1985 season, the Rockets got their much needed encouragement and motivation, when the team drafted center player Hakeem Olajuwon. This move was significant in the team becoming a prominent franchise in NBA.

Ralph Samson and Olajuwon teamed together to lead the team into the finals in NBA for the second time in 1985-1986. The team however managed to get hold of the championship only in 1994. The team won another championship in 1995, when it added All –Star guard Clyde Drexler of Portland Trailblazers in a mid-season move.

The team ranked sixth in the Western Conference. After this the team traded all its star players and drafted Charles Barkley, but has not managed to go to the finals till now. The team made it to the playoffs, when they drafted Yao Ming, but did not go past the initial round of playoffs till the year 2009.

Rivalries

Rockets vs. Timberwolves

The two teams have had over 95 matchups over the years with the Rockets emerging as the dominant player. The rivalry heated up in the year 1997, when the teams met in the initial round of playoffs in the Western Conference.

Rockets vs. Spurs

As the two teams play for the same state, both have had their opportunities to stay ahead in the Western Conference. The fierce rivalry has been further boosted by star players like Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The rivalry reached its peak in 1995, when the two teams met in the finals of Western Conference with the Rockets snatching the NBA title.

Rockets vs. Mavericks

This is considered as a high profile rivalry in NBA with the in-state foes escalating the intensity levels to a new high whenever they meet. The peak of the rivalry was seen in 2005, during which time the two teams met at the playoffs. With regional and neighborly rivalry at its strongest level, the rivalry will only increase in future.

Rockets vs. Trail Blazers

The two have met more than 185 times with the Rockets emerging as the winning team in most of the games. The teams have met at several playoffs in the past and are also expected to do so in the future. The matchups will get more significant in future as the Rockets focus on becoming a star NBA team again.

The San Antonio Spurs

This is a professional American basketball team with San Antonio, Texas as its base. It belongs to the Southwest division of the Western Conference of NBA (National Basketball Association). The team is the present (2014) NBA champion.

Part of the four teams of the erstwhile American Basketball Association to stay intact after the merger of ABA with NBA in 1976, it has the distinction of being the only team of the ABA to win the NBA championship. It has won five NBA championships, and is the fourth in the list of NBA great teams next to Boston Celtics, which has 17 wins, Los Angeles Lakers with 16 and Chicago Bulls with six championships.

The Spurs also have the distinction of being second in rank in the active NBA franchises, which have high winning percentage and are next to Los Angeles Lakers. They are also the only NBA team to have a record tie or better regular season head to head record against all other active NBA franchises.

Performance

The Spurs have completed 38 seasons in NBA from 1976 of which they have won about 20 division titles. They have also made 24 playoffs of the 25 previous seasons from 1989-1990. They have missed playoffs only four times in NBA history. Since Tim Duncan was included in the team in 1997, it has not missed any playoffs. It made its 50th victory in the 2013-2014 season setting up a record of 50 consecutive wins. The team’s present head coach is Gregg Popovich. He was earlier the general manager of the team, before he replaced Bob Hill in 1996 as head coach.

Rivalries

Spurs vs. Suns

The two teams have completed over 45 playoffs and the rivalry is considered to initiate a better matchup between them in NBA. The stakes always remain high, when the two teams face each other. Tim Duncan, Kevin Johnson, David Robinson and Dan Majerie are some of the prominent stars who have increased the intensity quotient of the rivalry, making it more interesting for the fan bases.

Spurs vs. Mavericks

The two teams have been contenders for gaining supremacy in the Western Conference in the 2000s making the rivalry between the two a strong one in NBA. High profile owners and a potent offense of the Mavericks when faced with the laid back and solid approach of Spurs resulted in a wonderful contrast that sparked off great thrill and excitement among the fan bases. Both teams winning a championship have made the rivalry stronger, and it is expected to increase further in future.

Spurs vs. Lakers

The two teams are two successful NBA franchises making their matchups an NBA staple. As the two have several championships in their name, the rivalry is more intense. They have faced in playoffs seven times in the past 15 seasons. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson are some of the NBA legends who have taken the rivalry to new heights in NBA.

Spurs vs. Rockets

The rivalry between the two has always been dominated by the Spurs undoubtedly with the team achieving more than three NBA titles and over four championships at the conference level.

Spurs vs. Thunder

The rivalry existing between the two teams has been popularly named as Southwest Standoff. The Spurs being of the old Western Conference teams and Oklahoma City Thunder being the new elite, the rivalry is an exciting one which is further boosted by Duncan and Durant in action.

The Portland Trail Blazers

The team based in Portland, Oregon is a professional basketball team also called as Blazers. The team is part of the Northwest Division in the Western Conference in National Basketball Association. The home games of Trail Blazers was played at Memorial Coliseum, but later on moved to Moda Center in the year 1995, which was called as Rose Garden till the year 2013.

The franchise became part of the NBA in 1970. Portland is the Blazer’s only base and the NBA franchise has so far had a good run in NBA. From the year 1977 to 1995, the team had sold out all its home games which number over 814. This is the longest streak in this category in the history of major sports in North America.

The team also is the only remaining team to be based in the Pacific Northwest binational region after the Vancouver Grizzlies shifted to Memphis and took the name Memphis Grizzlies in the year 2001 and the Oklahoma City Thunders who were Seattle Supersonics shifted to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Performance

The team has made it to the finals in NBA thrice and has won the Championship in 1977. The other two appearances in the finals were in 1990 and 1992, when the team did not win. It has reached the playoffs in 30 seasons of the 44 seasons that have passed since its entry into NBA. Of the 30 playoffs, 21 were straight appearances starting from 1983 to 2003. This is the second such longest streak in NBA.

Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen and Lenny Wilkens are Hall of Fame players who have been part of the team.  Of the six players, Bill Walton is the most honored player winning the most valuable players award in 1977, and the MVP for regular season in 1978.

Rivalries

Trail Blazers vs. Lakers

The Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers have met in over 45 playoffs from 1977 and in more than 205 regular season games. The two have met thrice in the finals of Western Conference, which has sparked off afresh the rivalry between them. With both teams belonging to Western Conference, the matchup is set to increase further.

Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

This rivalry dates back to the time, when Thunder played as Sonics in Seattle. The regional proximity of the two teams fueled the rivalry, which is still burning high. The rivalry was at its high in 2007, when the Blazers selected Greg Oden during the first pick instead of Kevin Durant. Durant turned out to be the better player, while Oden had to contend with frequent injuries as Center player.

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz

The two teams are consistent teams of Western Conference and also share the Northwest division. The two teams met frequently in the 1990s, nearly four times in which the Blazers won in the 1992 Finals of Western Conference.

Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks

Both teams are part of Western Conference and have met over 135 times in the regular season games. They have also met in the playoffs several times with both faring equally in the post season run. The rivalry is all set to move up several notches in future.

The Oklahoma City Thunder

Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Thunder is a professional basketball team in America belonging to the Northwest division of NBA’s Western Conference. The team plays at home in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tulsa 66ers, which is a NBA league affiliate is owned by Thunder. Together with Tulsa Shock, which is a franchise of WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) based in Tulsa, Oklahoma are the only teams from Oklahoma state to be part of the major professional sports leagues in North America.

The team joined NBA as part of its expansion franchise in the 1967-1968 season and it was named as Seattle Supersonics. The Sonics had a turbulent beginning and did not make it to the playoffs during the first seven franchise seasons.

Performance

It was during the end of 1970s that the Sonics found some success. It reached the NBA finals in the 1977-1978 season, but did not win the title, as it was defeated by the Washington Bullets. It won the championship the following season by defeating the same Washington Bullets.

Dennis Johnson, Jack Sikma and Gus Williams were the star players led by Lenny Wilkins the head coach who gave the team a successful run to the finals.  Following the win, Sonics had a decade of losses and intermittent successes, which finally changed in the 1990s.

Shawn Kemp Seattle and Gary Payton led the team to over 55 wins in six straight seasons, but did not manage to win the title for a second time. The team then struggled through the 2000s and totally rebuilt its team with starts like James Harden Serge Ibaka, Kevin Duran and Russell Westbrook. The team has been a dominant player in the Western Conference, during its time in Oklahoma city.

Rivalries

Thunder vs. Trail Blazers

The rivalry goes back to the time, when Thunder was based in Seattle and has increased in intensity now. The two teams have faced each other in over 225 games. The contests were frequently close and quite heated, making the rivalry an up and coming one in NBA.

Thunder vs. Mavericks

The rivalry reached its peak in the 2011 Western Conference finals matchup round. Though the Thunder was an upcoming team with the Mavs having won the NBA title long back, the Thunder has made up for the lack in its recent seasons. With both teams being contenders for the top position in Western Conference, the rivalry is all set to heat up more.

Thunder vs. Grizzlies

With both teams having young talent, the matchups are quite fierce. Having met frequently in the past few seasons, the rivalry has heated up more and is predicted to move up further in the upcoming seasons.

Thunder vs. Warriors

With the two teams being on an upward trend, the Thunder and Warriors’ rivalry is a big one. Thunder has the upper hand however in the recent years. Warriors have however shown a strong fighting spirit, which can turn the rivalry into a bigger one in the Western Conference.

Thunder vs. Spurs

The rivalry between the two teams is a well-known one and is nicknamed as Southwest Standoff. The Spurs being of the old school Western Conference teams and the Thunder being part of the younger crop of talent, the matchups has sparks flying in all directions.

The New Orleans Pelicans

Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, The New Orleans Pelicans is a professional American basketball team of National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is part of the Southwest division of Western Conference. The team was founded in the year 2002 as New Orleans Hornets, after the Charlotte Hornets relocated.

The Hornets had been based in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1988 to 2002. The team had to relocate to Oklahoma City, due to the destruction that ensued during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The team had two seasons in the name of New Orleans Hornets or Oklahoma Hornets, and later returned back to New Orleans for the 2007-2008 season.

The name of the team changed to Pelicans during the 2012-2013 season. The name Charlotte Hornets, history and the related records starting from 1988 to 2002 were returned back to the original city, which was later on used by the Charlotte Bobcats NBA franchise from May 20, 2014. The team plays its home games at the Smoothie King Center.

Performance

The initial four seasons of the team in NBA as Charlotte Hornets was not successful with the team not winning over 31 games in one single season. But this state of matters changed abruptly, when the team won 44 games and set franchise record in the 1992-1993 season, and went on to the second round in playoffs with Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues and Larry Johnson.

During the period from the year 1997 to 2004, the team made it to the playoffs in six of the total seven seasons. It was during this period that the team shifted to New Orleans permanently. After a brief hiatus of three years, the team returned back to form with Chris Paul as point guard. The Hornets won 56 games during 2007-2008 season, but did not manage to get their first NBA title.

Of the 11 seasons the team had played since its shifting from North Carolina, it has accomplished a score of 453-515 in the regular season. It has also qualified five times in the post season games. Overall the team has one playoff series victory and a division title.

Rivalries

Pelicans vs. Rockets

The two teams with inner division rivalry and a roster brimming with new and promising stars, the rivalry is expected to reach interestingly high levels in the forthcoming seasons in NBA. The two have met in 65 games, since the time when the Pelicans were playing as in the name of Charlotte Hornets.

Pelicans vs. Spurs

The two teams located in neighboring states fuels the rivalry more on court. The rivalry heated up strongly in 2008, when the two teams faced each other in the semifinal round of Western Conference. Though the Pelican failed to score a win, the rough and tough play indicated the intensity of the rivalry and its future level when the teams will meet regularly.

Pelicans vs. Mavericks

The two teams have played in more than 70 games in all. The Mavericks and Pelicans have made their matchups more interesting because of the powerful rivalry they exhibit on court. The rivalry reached a new high in 2008, when Dallas faced defeat at the hands of New Orleans in the first round play at the Western Conference. The divisional rivalry is predicted to move up several notches in future.

The Minnesota Timberwolves

Founded in 1989, Minnesota Timberwolves is an American professional basketball team with Minneapolis, Minnesota as its base. Belonging to the Northwest Division of NBA’s Western Conference, Glen Taylor is the team’s present owner. Initially the team played at home in the Metrodome, but later changed the arena to Target Center in 1990, and has been playing there till now. The team is also referred as Wolves or T-Wolves. Milt Newton is the general manager of the team, while Flip Saunders is the head coach.

Performance

The team was included as part of NBA expansion in the year 1989-1990. The initial years in NBA were not that successful for the team. In its initial season, the team won 22 games, while in the second season it was 29games. The number dwindled to just 15 in the 1991-1992 season. In the first seven seasons the team had just a lowly average of 21.7 wins in a year.

All this changed in the 1995-1996 season, when the team drafted Kevin Garnett. Six foot 11 inch tall rookie forward Kevin Garnett’s inclusion had the team enter the playoffs for eight consecutive times, right from 1997 to 2004. Garnettt along with another rookie Stephon Marbury and Tom Gugliotta was instrumental in the team’s first playoff match. The team however did not make it past the first round in seven of the eight attempts. They finally managed to get the division title in 2004 and later went on to the Western conference finals.

The team has been on a rebuilding spree since it missed the playoffs in 2005. It traded Garnett over to the Boston Celtics in 2007. Garnett won the Most Valuable Player award during the 2003-2004 season. The Wolves have drafted Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love to the team since then, but haven’t made it to the playoffs from the time of their 2004 run for the Western Conference Finals.

The players like Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love make a strong offense for the team, but the team lacks sufficient defense for going on the winning path in a consistent manner. With Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Shabazz Muhammad who was drafted from UCLA, the T-Wolves are looking to make it to the finals this time around.

Rivalries

Timberwolves vs. Thunder

The two teams have played over 90 games, all of them season regulars. The matchup between the Thunder and Wolves has continued its momentum into NBA history, and it does not seem to wane even a single bit. The rivalry reached its peak, when the two teams had a faceoff in the Western Conference in the Year 1998, during the first round. It was a time when Oklahoma City Thunder played from Seattle. Since the two teams are division foes, the rivalry will only get more intense in the upcoming seasons of NBA.

Timberwolves vs. Rockets

The rivalry between the Wolves and the Rockets started during the first round playoffs in the 1997 Western Conference. Since then the two teams have played with each other in more than 95 games all of which had fueled the fierce rivalry into a powerful one. Star players like Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon have served to increase the rivalry quotient more. This sums up the basketball teams in USA for now