Top 10 Underdogs To Win an NBA Championship

Since the NBA Finals are underway and we'll have a new NBA Champion soon, Jason Radowitz ranks the top 10 underdogs to win an NBA Championship.
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Top 10 Underdogs To Win an NBA Championship

Before this year's NBA season began, the Boston Celtics were +50000 to win the NBA Championship at the start of the season. If the Celtics are able to defeat the Golden State Warriors for the NBA Championship, the Celtics would be the biggest long shot to win the NBA title based on preseason odds in the past 35 seasons. That got us wondering. Who are the top 10 underdogs to win the NBA Championship? Our list is below.

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1. 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers might've finished with a record of 57-25 but there were so many naysayers when it came to LeBron James trying to win a Championship in Cleveland. Many said it would never happen. James had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on his side but had to take down the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Down 3-1 in the series, James and the Cavaliers made history. James won a title for Cleveland. It was Cleveland's first-ever NBA Championship.

2. 2011 Dallas Mavericks

Remember when the Heat had LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh and lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA FInals? Yeah, that was a pretty large upset. The Mavericks didn't even need a Game 7 in this series with Dirk Nowitzki adding 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in the final three games of the series to close out the Finals.

3. 2006 Miami Heat

Like James, Nowitzki had some heartbreak as well. In 2006, the Miami Heat took down the Dallas Mavericks after Miami went down 0-2 against the Mavs in the Finals. The Heat were underdogs in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons and underdogs in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks but overcame it all and ended up winning with Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O'Neal as its core pieces.

4. 2004 Pistons

The 2004 Pistons came into the preseason as the third-best team in the East. Eventually, the Pistons had to face the Lakers in the finals and shut down the entire Lakers roster other than Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Not a single player scored in double figures other than those two. Even stars need a supporting cast. The Pistons had a great game plan and an amazing season.

5. 1995 Houston Rockets

Although the Rockets won the NBA Finals in 1994, they came into the next season as a major underdog. The Rockets were the 6th seed in the West but were able to acquire Clyde Drexler in the middle of the season. Houston dominated teams like the San Antonio Spurs, who were 62-20 on the season. Eventually, in the Finals, the Rockets swept the Magic in four games for their second championship in a row.

Five More NBA Underdogs to Win NBA Championship

6. 2019 Toronto Raptors

7. 1978 Washington Bullets

8. 2008 Boston Celtics

9. 2012 Miami Heat

10. 2015 Golden State Warriors

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Jason grew up an avid sports fan. His passion for sports writing grew in high school and he developed a blog that was strictly for New York Sports. From his work, you will quickly realize that he loves looking at games from an analytical and numbers perspective and hopes to provide you with that same perspective in his articles.


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