NBA's Five Biggest Heartbreak Franchises

Gordon TrueCorrespondent IAugust 16, 2010

NBA's Five Biggest Heartbreak Franchises

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    Which NBA franchise has participated in the most playoff games without ever winning a championship?

    We'll answer that question as we count down the five "heart-break" franchises. 

    These are the NBA franchises that have the most playoff games on their resume without a title.

    These are the teams that have earned the respect that comes from repeated trips to the post-season, but don't have any hardware to show for it.

    These are the teams that have broken the hearts of their fans year after year. 

    So let the count down begin...

Honorable Mention : Orlando Magic

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    In just 21 seasons, the Orlando Magic have made 12 trips to the NBA playoffs.

    Despite being a relatively young franchise, they have played in 112 playoff games.

    In 1995, Shaq and Penny led the Magic to a division title and all the way to the NBA finals before being swept by the Houston Rockets.

    More recently, in 2009, Dwight Howard led the Magic back to the NBA Finals only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    We are all too aware of the heart break that Cleveland fans have gone through over the years.

    In 40 seasons, the Cavaliers have 18 playoff appearances. They have played in 148 playoff games.

    In 1989, the Cavaliers had their best regular season to date with 57 wins. In the first round of the playoffs, however,  their dreams were crushed by Michael Jordan's famous buzzer beater over Craig Ehlo. 

    In 2007, the Cavs made their only appearance in the NBA Finals only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs. 

    Do I need to mention the heart break that hit the franchise early last month?

4. Dallas Mavericks

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    In 30 seasons, the Dallas Mavericks have participated in 16 post-seasons and 154 playoff games.

    Their average of 9.625 games per playoff appearance is second-best among title-less franchises.

    In 2006 the Mavericks won 60 regular season games. They made it all the way to the NBA Finals where they lost to Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in six games.

    The following season would only add insult to injury. After setting a franchise record with 67 wins and earning the number one overall seed, the Mavericks would lose to the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

3. Denver Nuggets

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    The Denver Nuggets have been to the NBA playoffs 28 times in 43 seasons.  They have been part of 206 playoff games without winning a championship.

    The Nuggets only trip to a Championship series came in the 1976 ABA Finals where they lost in six games to the New York Nets.

    More recently, the Denver Nuggets have struggled to make it out of the first round, despite promising seasons. 

    In the past seven years, the Nuggets have gone home in the first round of the playoffs six times. The other year, 2009, they made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the eventual-champion Los Angeles Lakers.



2. Utah Jazz

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    In 36 seasons, the Utah Jazz have made it to the playoffs 24 times, an average of two playoff appearances per three years.

    They have played in 237 playoff games. They have the highest average of games per playoff appearance of any title-less franchise at 9.875.

    Perhaps the two most heartbreaking seasons for the Utah Jazz came back to back, in 1997 and 1998.

    At 62-20 and 64-18, these stand as the two best regular seasons in Utah Jazz history. Karl Malone was the league MVP in 1997.

    Both seasons ended the same way: losing in the NBA Finals to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

    The last four seasons include three 50+ win seasons, three trips to the conference semi-finals, and one trip to the conference finals.

1. Phoenix Suns

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    The Phoenix Suns have come home from the playoffs empty-handed a record  29 times.

    They have the highest percentage of playoff appearances of any title-less franchise with 29 appearances in 42 seasons (69%).

    No team has participated in more playoff games, 274, without winning a championship.

    In 1976 the Phoenix Suns had their first trip to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Boston Celtics.

    In 1993, MVP Charles Barkley led them back to the NBA Finals. There, they lost to none other than Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

    In the past 22 seasons, the Phoenix Suns have missed the playoffs just 3 times.

    They have made it beyond the first round an astounding 18 times without ever bringing home the trophy.