In the second round of the NBA playoffs, most of the names and teams we’re used to still competing in mid-June will not participate.
A few days ago the Los Angeles Lakers–the 2020-21 NBA champions–were sent home in the first round together with their opponent in the 2021 NBA final (the Miami Heat).
With greats like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Luka Dončić and Jayson Tatum–many of the outstanding stars of the league– are already on vacation, the NBA sees another year of statistical anomalies.
For the first time since 2016 an Eastern Conference team won the Larry O’Brien Trophy and among all the possible results one stands above the other; The NBA names their first-ever champion since the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals.
There is a 62 percent chance the league will crown a brand new league champion in June.
None of the eight surviving teams in the NBA playoffs have won a title since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. pic.twitter.com/1XN3vYRcw3
– ESPN statistics and info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 7, 2021
Since none of the remaining teams have won the title since the league was expanded to 16 postseason teams in 1984, they combine 384 untitled seasons.
Five of the eight remaining teams have not won a title in their franchise history; the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz all have the opportunity to watch their first franchise championship.
Perhaps the closest NBA title to winning an NBA championship, The Jazz suffered consecutive NBA final losses in 1997 and 1998. The Suns also lost both appearances, one in 1976 and the other in 1993.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks haven’t brought back the trophy since 1958, the Milwaukee Bucks since 1971, and the Philadelphia Sixers since 1983.