Home | Blog | NBA Teams without a Championship – [Updated 2023]

NBA Teams without a Championship – [Updated 2023]

Last Updated September 18, 2023 Last Updated January 23, 2023 by Edward Pullen

A basketball player’s dream is to play for an NBA team and win a championship. While many teams have had success in the league, there are a few that have never won a title. Some of these teams had come close, but ultimately fell short. Let’s take a look at the history of NBA teams without a championship and find out what has kept them from reaching the top.

Read about NBA players’ wingspan and how it is in their favor.

NBA Teams without a Championship

NBA Teams without a Championship – Franchises that Never Won a Title

There are 12 NBA franchises that have not won an NBA Championship throughout their history. These teams are;

  1. Indiana Pacers
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Denver Nuggets
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. New Orleans Pelicans
  8. Charlotte Hornets
  9. Phoenix Suns
  10. Atlanta Hawks
  11. Orlando Magic
  12. Utah Jazz

Vertical jump plays a pivotal role in the performance of a basketball player. See which players have the highest jump and how does it benefit in dunking.



1. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers began in the ABA in 1967. They won three titles during this time before joining the NBA in 1976 where they have yet to win an NBA championship.

nba team that has never won championship


2. Brooklyn Nets

Originally the New Jersey Americans, the Nets were a part of ABA from 1967 – 1976. They won two championships before joining the NBA in 1977 where they are still struggling to win an NBA Championship title.

no nba rings


3. Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets began as a member of ABA in 1967. They won the title in their first year before joining the NBA in 1976 where they never won an NBA Championship.


4. Minnesota Timberwolves

The T-Wolves began as a member of ABA in 1967. After winning four championships, they joined the NBA in 1989 and they are still waiting to win the NBA champions title.

team without nba championship


5. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers were created as Buffalo Braves in 1970 and moved to California five years later. Since then, they have never won an NBA Championships, despite having some very talented players throughout history.


6. Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies came into existence as Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995 and relocated to Memphis six years later. Despite making it deep into the playoffs several times, they haven’t won a Championship.


7. New Orleans Pelicans

Originally named as Hornets, this team began in 1988. They won the title just four years later, but relocated to New Orleans for reasons not basketball-related. They were renamed the Pelicans in 2013 and, regardless of several playoffs, they are still without NBA rings.

nba team without a championship


8. Charlotte Hornets

The original Charlotte franchise before relocation, this team began in 1988 and went by the name of Bobcats until 2014 when they reclaimed their former name during rebranding. They have won three division titles but never reached that next step toward winning a championship.


9. Phoenix Suns

The Suns began as an expansion team in 1968 where they won three division titles and two conference championships before relocating to the desert in 1979. Despite many talented players throughout history, yet they have never won championship rings.


10. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks began as a member of ABA in 1967. They won three division titles during their time there before joining the NBA where they have yet to win an NBA Championship.


11. Orlando Magic

The expansion team joined the league in 1989 and made it deep into the playoffs several times. However, they were never able to get over that hump and win a championship.


12. Utah Jazz

The Jazz joined the league just six years after its foundation as New Orleans/Utah Jazz (that’s right, this team has been around for a long time). They have won two division titles but still without an NBA Championship.


“There are several other teams that have never won an NBA championship but were not included on this list due to the fact that they have been around for less than 30 years or have not been as successful as the teams above mentioned.”

The NBA championship matches occur indoors – see which basketballs they use on the hardwood court and why!



NBA Teams without Rings – Why They Haven’t Won the League

There are many reasons why each of the above teams hasn’t won an NBA championship. Some include lack of talent, lack of experience, etc.

For example, the Jazz has been around for a while but have mostly had young teams. In the past five years, they have drafted well and acquired several talented veterans. However, being able to get over that championship hump is challenging due to the fact that there are many other talented teams in the league looking to take home the trophy.

The Hornets went through a rebuilding stage during the early 2000s, but have since returned to prominence with young talent. They have made it deep into the playoffs several times, but lack of experience has held them back from their potential NBA title run.

Many teams have had success in the NBA without winning championships, but these are a few that have not been able to reach the top. As seen above, many of these teams have gotten close but ultimately fell short for a variety of reasons.

Also, read about the offensive and defensive rules of goaltending.



First Team to Join NBA Championship

The first franchise to join the league was the Fort Wayne Pistons who played in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Their first coach was none other than Bobby McDermott, a legend in basketball. They made their first NBA finals appearance in 1956 where they took the series to a full seven games against their rivals, Los Angeles, Lakers.



NBA Teams that Never Made the Finals

The following teams haven’t made the NBA finals;

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Denver Nuggets
  • LA Clippers
  • New Orleans Pelicans



Wrapping Up

It is obvious that every NBA team would love to be called champions by the end of every season. However, only one team gets the NBA rings that puts more effort and teamwork into the game. Now you know which teams are without a championship – pay close attention to their performances in the upcoming season to see if they have improved or not!



Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

Who was the first NBA team to win a championship?

The first franchise to win an NBA championship was Philadelphia Warriors in 1947 against Chicago Stag. Philadelphia Warriors (4) vs. Chicago Stags (2)


When was the first NBA championship?

For those who do not know, the first NBA championship took place in 1947. The finals started on April 2nd, 1947 and ended on April 25th, 1947.


Who was the youngest MVP?

The youngest MVP in NBA history is Derrick Rose who won the award at the age of 22.


Latest posts by Edward Pullen (see all)