For the first time ever, the Toronto Raptors are headed to the NBA's championship stage.
Toronto clinched its inaugural Finals trip with a 100-94 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. In doing so, they have put an end to one of the NBA's longest Finals droughts. The 2019 Finals will also mark the first time in NBA history that the championship series will be held outside the United States.
Fittingly, they will take on the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Finals, a team that ended their own 40-year Finals drought when they began their current run of titles and Finals berths back in 2015. For Milwaukee, it was on the cusp of seeing its own 45-year Finals drought end after it had a 2-0 lead in the East finals ... but the Bucks promptly lost four straight in that series to keep their run of Finals-less seasons active.
The Raptors' appearance in The Finals got us thinking -- and researching -- exactly how long it has been between championship round appearances for every NBA team. For 22 NBA franchises, the gap between their last Finals run and today can vary greatly.
Here's a quick look at how long it has been since each team that has made at least one Finals has appeared in one ...
(Note: Six franchises -- the Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans -- have never reached The Finals. They are noted below with a N/A.)
* * *
|Team||First Finals appearance||Last Finals appearance||Current drought (years)|
|Atlanta Hawks||1957 ^||1961 ^||58|
|Brooklyn Nets||2002 ^^||2003 ^^||16|
|Golden State Warriors||1948||2019||--|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1949 ^^^||2010||9|
|New Orleans Pelicans||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|New York Knicks||1951||1999||20|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||1978 *||2012||7|
|Philadelphia 76ers||1950 **||2001||18|
|Portland Trail Blazers||1977||1992||27|
|Sacramento Kings||1951 ***||1951 ***||68|
|San Antonio Spurs||1999||2014||5|
|Washington Wizards||1970 ****||1979||40|
^ = franchise located in St. Louis
^^ = franchise located in New Jersey
^^^ = franchise known as Minneapolis Lakers
* = franchise known as Seattle SuperSonics
** = franchise known as Syracuse Nationals
*** = franchise known as Rochester Royals
**** = franchise known as Baltimore Bullets
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