Miss the NBA Playoffs Two Years in a Row? Not the Spurs!

Jerry TappSenior Analyst IIIMarch 16, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 24:  Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs high fives Matt Bonner #15 after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 24, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Spurs defeated the Suns 97-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One of the most amazing stats in the NBA is that the San Antonio Spurs have never gone two consecutive years without making the playoffs since they came into the league in 1976-77. This year will be no exception, as the Spurs are the No. 1 seed in the West with a 50-16 record and will be making their 16th straight playoff appearance in this year’s postseason.

Here’s another interesting stat: In the 36 years that the Spurs have been in the NBA, they have made the playoffs in 32 of those seasons.

There is another NBA team that can challenge the Spurs remarkable playoff run: The Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike the Spurs, the Lakers have missed the NBA playoffs in two consecutive seasons; the last time—and only time—was in 1975 and 1976. The Lakers have made the NBA postseason in 59 of the 64 seasons the franchise has been in the league.

Combine the playoff runs of both the Spurs and Lakers, and you will see that of the last 14 NBA titles, nine have been won by either of these two teams (the Lakers have won five and the Spurs four since 1999).

Here’s a look at the teams that have the longest amount of time since missing the playoffs in two consecutive seasons.

Team, Last time it missed playoffs in two consecutive seasons
San Antonio: Never
Los Angeles Lakers: 1975-76
Dallas: 1999-2000
Miami: 2002-03
Denver: 2002-03
Chicago: 2003-04
Utah: 2005-06
Orlando: 2005-06
Atlanta: 2006-07
Boston: 2006-07
New Orleans Hornets: 2006-07
Philadelphia: 2006-07

Two teams, the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers, missed the playoffs for the second straight year last season, ending streaks that had lasted for over five years. The Suns 33-33 record last season was not good enough to make the playoffs, thus giving them a second straight season out of the postseason. This was the first time it happened to the Phoenix franchise since 1987 and 1988. The Cavs missed the playoffs last season and in 2011, making it the first time they missed the postseason since 2004 and 2005.

One final stat: 12 teams have not played in the NBA playoffs since 2010. Leading the way are the Minnesota Timberwolves who last made an appearance in the NBA postseason in 2004. The other teams that have not played in the NBA playoffs since 2010 (last playoff year listed in parenthesis): Charlotte (2010); Cleveland (2010); Milwaukee (2010); Phoenix (2010); Sacramento (2006); Brooklyn (2007); Golden State (2007); Toronto (2008); Washington (2008); Detroit (2009), Houston (2009).