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Six different NBA champs in six seasons?

Five different NBA franchises have won the NBA championship in the last five years, a rarity in a league known for its dynasties. Can the Denver Nuggets become the first back-to-back NBA champions since the Golden State Warriors pulled off that feat in 2017 and 2018, or could we get a sixth different NBA champion in six seasons when the dust settles on the NBA playoffs this summer?

Nuggets are defending champions

The Toronto Raptors won the first championship in franchise history in 2019, followed by a Los Angeles Lakers title run in 2020, a Milwaukee Bucks victory in the NBA Finals in 2021, and the Warriors getting back into the winner’s circle in 2022. Then last season the Nuggets made it five different NBA champions in the past five seasons when they beat the Miami Heat in five games.

Having such a variety of champions is not business-as-usual for the NBA. Dating back to the 1980 championship – a span of 44 seasons – only 14 different teams have won the title thanks to the binge-winning of franchises like the Lakers, Warriors, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs. In all, the Lakers won 11 titles in that span, the Warriors won four, the Celtics won four, the Bulls won six, and the Spurs won five. The Heat and the Detroit Pistons won three each.

Of the other eight titles in that 44-year period of NBA history, along with those won by the Raptors, Bucks, and Nuggets, the Houston Rockets won back-to-back in 1994 and 1995, the Philadelphia 76ers won in 1983, the Dallas Mavericks won in 2011, and the Cleveland Cavaliers won in 2016,

Who’s in position to win 2024 title?

The Nuggets are definitely in position to be able to win back-to-back titles this summer, as they’re battling the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves for first place overall in the Western Conference standings. Before the Warriors in 2017 and 2018, the last back-to-back NBA champs were the Heat in 2012 and 2013, and the Lakers just two years earlier in 2009 and 2010.

The Warriors and the Lakers, two of the other teams that have won the NBA championship in the past five seasons, could both end up battling for their postseason lives in the Play-In Tournament in the Western Conference this spring, having turned in subpar campaigns to date. The Raptors have already been eliminated from playoff contention. The Bucks, though, are second behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings and looking like contenders to win a second title in four years.

The Celtics continue to be the class of the East, holding a double-digit lead atop the conference standings, and are likely the best bet to make it six different champs in six years for the NBA. The field in the West looks more wide open with each of the top eight seeds within 10 games of first place heading into this week, with the Nuggets, Thunder, and T-Wolves likely to be the top three.

List of NBA champions since 1980

2023 Denver Nuggets
2022 Golden State Warriors
2021 Milwaukee Bucks
2020 Los Angeles Lakers
2019 Toronto Raptors
2018 Golden State Warriors
2017 Golden State Warriors
2016 Cleveland Cavaliers
2015 Golden State Warriors
2014 San Antonio Spurs
2013 Miami Heat
2012 Miami Heat
2011 Dallas Mavericks
2010 Los Angeles Lakers
2009 Los Angeles Lakers
2008 Boston Celtics
2007 San Antonio Spurs
2006 Miami Heat
2005 San Antonio Spurs
2004 Detroit Pistons
2003 San Antonio Spurs
2002 Los Angeles Lakers
2001 Los Angeles Lakers
2000 Los Angeles Lakers
1999 San Antonio Spurs
1998 Chicago Bulls
1997 Chicago Bulls
1996 Chicago Bulls
1995 Houston Rockets
1994 Houston Rockets
1993 Chicago Bulls
1992 Chicago Bulls
1991 Chicago Bulls
1990 Detroit Pistons
1989 Detroit Pistons
1988 Los Angeles Lakers
1987 Los Angeles Lakers
1986 Boston Celtics
1985 Los Angeles Lakers
1984 Boston Celtics
1983 Philadelphia 76ers
1982 Los Angeles Lakers
1981 Boston Celtics
1980 Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA’s regular-season schedule comes to an end on Sunday, April 14 with a 15-game slate, and the 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament will take place from April 16 to April 19. The NBA’s postseason schedule then begins in earnest on the weekend of April 20-21, with the NBA Finals played in June.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.