With the NBA season coming to a close, some playoff positioning still needs sorting, but for the first time in league history, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will not be involved in postseason play, per ESPN Stats & Info.
According to Basketball-Reference, the Celtics lead all NBA franchises with 17 championships, while the Lakers' 16 titles rank second, and the Knicks also own a pair. However, after all three organizations made the playoffs last season, none of them will be taking part in the NBA's second season in 2014.
The Celtics entered this season with significantly tempered expectations after trading future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett during the offseason. On top of that, All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was coming off a torn ACL, and long-time coach Doc Rivers bolted Boston for sunny Los Angeles.
With Rivers gone, then 36-year-old Brad Stevens was hired to lead the NBA's most decorated franchise after coaching accomplished underdog Butler University for six seasons.
While Stevens' coaching ability has impressed during his debut NBA campaign, the Celtics currently sit on 25 wins, their lowest total since the 2006-2007 season.
Across the country, the Lakers had their own shoes to fill, as center Dwight Howard left for Houston in free agency, and long-time star Kobe Bryant carried a torn Achilles into the season. Furthermore, coach Mike D'Antoni was expected to implement a plethora of players on one-year deals into a squad further diluted by the oft-injured duo of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.
Bryant ultimately returned for six games before suffering a fractured knee bone that has sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Similarly, Nash has played just 15 games due to a balky back, while Gasol is slated to miss his 22nd game of the season Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Unable to overcome such a burden, the Lakers have presently lost 55 games, the most in franchise history, per FoxSports.com.
Rounding out the underwhelming trio, the Knicks approached this season with huge expectations following 54 wins in coach Mike Woodson's first full season at the helm in 2012-2013.
However, the Knicks dug themselves a deep hole after a combination of setbacks early on.
The curious offseason acquisition of Andrea Bargnani proved ineffective, while center Tyson Chandler suffered a broken leg four games into the season.
Compounding the troubles, numerous Knicks underperformed on the court, which worsened the off-the-court distractions caused by star forward Carmelo Anthony's contract situation, guard J.R. Smith's multiple suspensions and point guard Raymond Felton's arrest on felony gun charges.
Unsurprisingly, a late-season playoff push fell short for the Knicks, who boast just 35 wins heading into Tuesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics, Lakers and Knicks all face an offseason of change, something each franchise will get a head start on after combining to miss the playoffs for the first time in NBA history.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!