The second round of the NBA playoffs will get started this week. Of the four teams that made it to the conference finals last year (Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Toronto), it looks like only two might return this year… OKC was eliminated in the first round this year by Houston, and Cleveland and Toronto will face each other in the second round this season, with one of them advancing to the conference finals again. Golden State would be the second team if they can advance past the winner of the Utah-L.A. Clippers series winner.
Of the 30 NBA franchises, 14 have played in a conference finals at least once this decade (2010-16). Three current franchises have never played in an NBA conference finals: Charlotte, the L.A. Clippers and New Orleans. Of the teams that have at least one conference finals in their history, the longest wait is from the Washington Bullets. The last time they appeared in a conference finals was in 1979. They could erase that mark this season if they can beat the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and advance to the conference finals.
Here’s a look at the 30 NBA franchises and the last year they appeared in a conference finals series. (Current franchise city is listed.)
Never: Charlotte, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans
2000: New York Knicks, Portland
2001: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
2010: L.A. Lakers, Orlando, Phoenix
2011: Chicago, Dallas
2014: Indiana, Miami, San Antonio
2015: Atlanta, Houston
2016: Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City, Toronto