NBA

Every NBA team’s best iteration ever

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Every NBA franchise has had their peaks and valleys. Here’s what the top of the mountain looked like for every team.

There are up years and there are down years. For some franchises there has been more bad than good but every organization has that one team that stands out above the rest.

Here, we’re celebrating the best teams in each franchise’s history.

Atlanta Hawks: 1986-87

Picking out the best team in Hawks history is a bit tricky. Sure, they won the title in 1958, but that team really wasn’t all that impressive as they only won 41 games and had an SRS of just .82. They made the Finals three other times in the late 1950s and 1960s, but lost to the Celtics all three times. Then there’s the team that won 60 games in 2015, before getting swept by the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals.

In the absence of any great, singular team, the 1986-87 Hawks, featuring Dominique Wilkins at his peak is as good a choice as any. In the late 80s, Wilkins really came into his own, becoming one of the most dominant scorers the NBA has ever seen, going on to average at least 25 points per game in 10 consecutive seasons. Supporting Wilkins were Kevin Willis and Doc Rivers, both of whom would average double-doubles for the season. The team earned the most wins in franchise history to that point, while posting an impressive SRS of 7.18 and finishing in the top-five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

The Hawks earned the No. 2 seed that season, but fell in the Conference Semifinals to the Detroit Pistons, who were well on their way to earning their reputation as the Bad Boys. The Hawks remained competitive for over a decade after the 1987 season — only posting a single losing season for the next 12 years — though they were never able to translate regular season wins into postseason success. While the 1987 team may not have been the most successful or accomplished Hawks team ever, they were the best.

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