#1 Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers come in at No. 1 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectible NBA teams of all-time.

Glamour, flash and winning. Those are the staples of the Los Angeles Lakers through the decades. It’s no coincidence that some of the most iconic players in the game’s history have donned the purple and gold uniform. Even Hall of Fame coaches like Pat Riley and Phil Jackson felt like natural fits as stars in Southern California.

The Showtime Lakers are the greatest example. That squad played fast, played hard and had a fun time doing it. The squad, led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy, helped bring the NBA to unseen heights. Their games were the hottest ticket in Hollywood. Actors, musicians and other pop culture figures flocked to The Forum to be seen watching the best show in town.

It was a winning show, too. The Lakers earned five championships in the 1980s, including becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles (‘87 and ‘88) since the Celtics nearly two decades earlier.

The perfect mesh of talent and glitz carried over into the 1990s and 2000s. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. One of the greatest duos of all time, they led the Lakers to a three-peat to begin the new millennium. Bryant would head another two championship squads (2009-10) before retiring.

Prior to the Showtime Era, hardwood legends Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain brought eyeballs to the franchise. Their iconic battles with the Knicks and Celtics in the Finals provided some of the best moments in postseason history.

In addition to the glamour, the Lakers have a proud history of Hall of Fame centers. The trend started back when the franchise was in Minneapolis. George Mikan became the young league’s first dominant big man. At 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds, Mikan towered over the competition, which allowed him to average 23.1 points per game and win three scoring titles (1949-51).

The Lakers’ superstar resume’ got bigger when LeBron James, the best player of his generation, signed with the team in 2018. If he can attract another star to join him, the Lakers will be primed to stay No. 1 on this list for a long time.

Check out the Lakers’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on the company’s website.

#2 Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics come in at No. 2 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectible NBA teams of all-time.

Banners. When it comes to the Celtics’ legacy, the discussion centers on banners. The franchise hangs 17 championship banners in the rafters of TD Garden. The most dominant runs in league history came through Boston, including winning 11 titles in a 13-year span starting in 1956-57. They also two championships in three seasons in the 1970s and three in a six-year span in the 1980s.

The mad genius behind each of these dynasties was Red Auerbach. The cigar-smoking mastermind spent more than half a century with the Celtics. He won nine championships as a coach and seven as an executive. He was responsible for drafting and pulling off trades to land players such as Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and many others.

A reflection of the city, Boston teams have won with the same traits. Celtics have always played tough and smart. Starting with the run of titles in the late 1950s, Boston was a dominant defensive team. Having Russell to patrol the paint helped, of course. Remember, two of the most famous plays in team postseason history – done by Havlicek and Bird – were late-game steals that won key postseason games. Havlicek in 1965 vs. Philadelphia and Bird in 1987 vs. the Pistons.

Of course, no history about the Celtics is complete without mentioning its battles with the Lakers. A classic east coast vs. west coast rivalry, multiple generations of Celtics champions has gone toe-to-toe with the Los Angeles. Russell faced the Lakers in the finals seven times, winning each series. Bird topped the Lakers in 1984. Pierce continued the winning tradition in 2008. In total, Boston has won nine of 12 Finals series vs. the Lakers.

The modern Celtics continue the smart and tough approach to the game. Boston has seen a steady climb toward another title with Brad Stevens — whom many consider to be the best young coach in the game — guiding hard-nosed players such as Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart to go with the talented youth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Check out the Celtics’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on company’s website.

#3 New York Knicks

The New York Knicks come in at No. 3 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

New York long has had a love affair with basketball, and nowhere is that more evident than at Madison Square Garden. No matter the Knicks’ record, the arena is always sold out and rowdy with New Yorkers cheering on their squad.

The team’s history goes back as far as the NBA does, and the pinnacle for the franchise was in the early 1970s. The Knicks boasted a collection of talent that ranks among the game’s best in history. Hall of Famers Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed brought the team’s first title in dramatic fashion.

Facing a Lakers squad with all-timers Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in the 1970 Finals, the Knicks grinded out a series win in seven games. That clash is one of the most memorable in league history thanks in large part to the heroics of Reed. The Hall of Fame big man surprised everyone by playing through a severe leg muscle injury in Game 7. Starting the game, he scored the first two buckets of the night on a pair of midrange jumpers. The emotional lift of seeing their leader play through pain was much greater than the four-point cushion, and the Knicks prevailed.

After adding another future Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, New York would bring a championship back to the Big Apple in 1973. This time around, they dismantled the Lakers in five games. Reed was Finals MVP of each series.

The Knicks would not reach the mountain top, but it wasn’t for a lack of talent.

Bernard King spent a few years as a headliner. A scoring machine, he was the first Knicks player to notch 60 points at Madison Square Garden (Christmas 1984).

After injuries derailed King’s career, New York struck gold by winning the first draft lottery and drafting Patrick Ewing in 1985. A perfect combination of a big star in a big market made the Knicks relevant for the next 15 years. In that time, they had epic playoff battles with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Reggie Miller’s Pacers. Ewing helped New York reach the Finals twice. The Knicks lost an epic seven-game series to the Rockets in 1994 and an injury prevented Ewing from playing vs. the Spurs in 1999. As a result, New York would lose the series in five games.

Carmelo Anthony, one of the best pure scorers of his generation, shined bright in the 2010s, making six All-Star appearances and winning a scoring title in 2013. Averaging 28 points in 21 games, his high-scoring talent extended to postseason play, too.

Check out the Knicks’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.

#4 Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls come in at No. 4 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

For the NBA, the Chicago Bulls and the world, everything changed on June 19th, 1984. That was the night of the NBA DraftWith the third selection – which followed Houston nabbing Hakeem Olajuwon and Portland picking Sam Bowie – the Bulls drafted a slender guard from North Carolina named Michael Jordan.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Jordan played 13 memorable seasons with the Bulls. In the era dominated by the Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics, he climbed the NBA hierarchy and took the Bulls to the promised land.

Chicago dominated the 1990s, winning six championships. The franchise reached the mountaintop in 1991 by ending two dynasties. First, the Bulls broke through the Pistons in a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals, which ended the Bad Boys Era. Next, Chicago dismantled the Lakers in five games, which ended Johnson’s run as the face of the league. It was officially Jordan’s time.

The Bulls would win two more championships before Jordan took a sabbatical to give baseball a try, which caused him to miss most of the next two seasons. Back for a full season in 1995-96, he led the Bulls to another three consecutive championships, the latter two coming against a Utah Jazz squad led by Hall of Famers John Stockton, Karl Malone and coach Jerry Sloan, a former Bulls player himself.

While Jordan got the lion’s share of the attention, it was not a one-man show on those championship teams. Most notably, Scottie Pippen was Jordan’s sidekick, and a great one at that. Like his counterpart, Pippen was long, athletic, an elite defender and playmaker. Other key role players in the decade included Horace Grant, John Paxson, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper. Of course, having Phil Jackson as coach helped, too.

The Bulls rebuilt after the Jordan Era and became a highly competitive and talented team in the 2010s. Led by League MVP Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, the Bulls made seven consecutive trips to the postseason in 2009-15.

Older versions of the Bulls had no shortage of star power, either. Before he patrolled the sidelines for the Jazz, Sloan earned two All-Star appearances in the late 1960s with Chicago. Artis Gilmore spent seven of his 17 professional seasons wearing red in his Hall of Fame career. Fellow Naismith Hall of Famer Chet Walker averaged more than 20 points per game in his six seasons in Chicago.

Check out the Bulls’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.

#5 Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets come in at No.5 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The expression, “lightning never strikes twice in the same location” doesn’t apply to Houston. Some of the game’s greatest pillars have donned the Rockets’ logo (in San Diego in 1967-71 before moving to south Texas).

It started with Hall of Fame center Elvin Hayes, whom the franchise drafted in 1968 while still based in San Diego. In 1984, Houston won a coin flip (this was pre-NBA Draft lottery) for the right to take Houston Cougar center Hakeem Olajuwon first overall. And, finally, the Rockets scored Chinese big man Yao Ming with the No. 1 pick in 2002. All three put up impressive numbers in H-Town and would be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Beyond individual accolades, the franchise rode the big men to team success. In Hayes’ second season, he took the squad, which won 15 games the season prior, to the playoffs. Olajuwon carried Houston to the postseason in 14 of his 17 seasons. That includes winning the franchise’s only titles in 1994 and 1995. The Nigerian center was Finals MVP in both series. Yao also came up big as the weather warmed, notching nearly 20 points per game in 28 postseason games.

While the team made its historical mark with use of big men, there hasn’t been a shortage of guards who have dominated. Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy ran circles around defenses for 13 seasons. A player who steadily improved throughout his career, Murphy scored over 20 points per game from ages 25 to 31 (1973-80).

In addition to homegrown talent, Houston has nabbed a few Hall of Famers at the end of their careers to make championship runs. It worked to perfection when Clyde Drexler returned to his hometown in 1995. He helped the team win its second consecutive championship. Although it didn’t result in a title, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen were productive in short stints for Houston in the late 1990s.

The current squad developed a winning formula by building from the outside. Perhaps the most analytically advanced team in the league, Houston attacks from the perimeter nowadays. Possessing elite ball-handling guards who excel beyond the perimeter (James Harden, Chris Paul) and sharp-shooting role players, the modern-day Rockets love to launch 3-pointers, which land at a high clip.

Check out the Rockets’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.

#6 San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs come in at No.6 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The Spurs’ history is a chain of Hall of Famers and All-Stars that have collectively kept the franchise in the public eye since landing in San Antonio in 1973.

That season, the team acquired George Gervin from the ABA Virginia Squires. The move started a trend that carries to this day. The Spurs, a small-market franchise adopted from a competitor league, have long been one of the top franchise’s at acquiring, developing and retaining talent in professional basketball history.

The Spurs have sent a representative to the NBA All-Star Game in 40 out of 42 years and every year since 1998. It traces back to Gervin, of course, whose NBA All-Star streak in San Antonio began in 1976-77. “The Ice Man” would appear in nine consecutive exhibitions, including an MVP preference in 1980.

Artis Gilmore and Alvin Robertson carried the torch until David Robinson emerged as the face of the franchise in 1989-90. “The Admiral” made 10 All-Star teams in his 14 seasons in San Antonio. In 1993 and 1996, he teamed up with Sean Elliot on the West squad.

Once the 2000s came around, it was Tim Duncan’s turn to carry the franchise on the national stage. The 15-time All-Star did so with the help of fellow future Hall of Famers Tony Parker (six-time All-Star) and Manu Ginobili (two-time All-Star). Eventually the Big Three seceded representative duties to Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

While nearly always having a team member voted among the game’s best players is great, the true hallmark of the Spurs is winning. Under the guidance of coach Gregg Popovich, San Antonio has hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy five times.

The breakthrough came in 1999. The Spurs, with Robinson still averaging a double-double at age 34 and Duncan establishing himself as one of the game’s best in Year 2, made quick work of the New York Knicks, winning in five games. Duncan, who averaged 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds, won the first of his three Finals MVP awards.

San Antonio would return to the NBA Finals in 2003, beating the New Jersey Nets in six games. The series allowed Robinson to retire a champion. It was also the beginning of Parker and Ginobili’s run as franchise cornerstones. With Duncan and the international stars forming a Big Three, the Spurs won a third title in 2005 by beating the Pistons in seven games.

The next two titles came by taking down LeBron James. The first instance came in 2007, when the total-team assault was too much for a Cleveland squad with one superstar. Parker earned MVP honors in the four-game sweep. After James got his revenge as a member of the Heat in 2013 in a grueling seven-game series, San Antonio responded with a five-game win vs. the Heat in 2014, which solidified the emergence of Leonard (Finals MVP) as one of the game’s best stars.

In the years since winning its fifth title, San Antonio has maintained a standard of excellence. It made the postseason for the 22nd consecutive season in 2019, which ties a record set by the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers (1950-71).

Check out the Spurs’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.

#7 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors come in at No.7 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The Warriors’ winning ways go back as far as the NBA’s existence. The franchise won the league’s first championship in 1947 while based in Philadelphia. They would add another title in 1956 before winning the lottery, so to speak, in 1959.

The team drafted Wilt Chamberlain with the third overall pick that year, and he instantly became the most dominant player in league history. The big man averaged a staggering 38.0 points and 27.1 rebounds per game in his first two seasons. Before being traded about midway through the 1964-65 season, the Hall of Famer notched 41.5 points and 25.1 rebounds per game in a Warriors uniform.

Replacing Chamberlain should have involved a revolving door of centers only a fraction as productive as he was. But the Warriors had another Hall of Famer waiting in the post. Nate Thurmond averaged a modest 7.0 points per game as a rookie in 1963-64. An All-Star in five of the next six seasons, his averages improved to 18.9 points and 19.4 rebounds in that span.

Another Hall of Famer brought a championship to the Bay Area in 1975. Rick Barry, a scoring machine and fierce competitor, won Finals MVP thanks to averaging nearly 30 points per game in the four-game sweep of the Washington Bullets.

Although it didn’t come with a title, the Warriors were one of the most exciting teams in the NBA during a brief period in the early 1990s. “Run-TMC,” a fast-paced trio consisting of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, helped Golden State lead the Association in points per game (118.7) in 1991-92 under coach Don Nelson.

It may be hard for some younger fans to think of the Warriors as underdogs, but they committed one of the greatest upsets in postseason history in 2007 vs. the Mavericks, a 67-win squad fresh off a Finals run the year before and led by League MVP Dirk Nowitzki. Golden State, headed by Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson, stunned Dallas by winning the series in six games, which was the first eight-one seed upset in a best-of-seven series in league history.

The modern Warriors have a chance to become the league’s greatest dynasty. Winning three championships in a row would put them in elite company. And if the squad remains in-tact in 2020, they would be a heavy favorite for a fourth consecutive title, something not done since Lyndon Johnson occupied the White House.

Led by top-notch scorers Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Golden State tramples over opponents on a regular basis. In addition to being one of the best scoring teams of the era, Golden State is also one of the best defensive units. Stoppers Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Thompson and Durant make life difficult for the game’s best offensive players.

Check out the Warriors’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.

#8 Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers land at No. 8 in the Panini America 30 Teams | 30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

Over the history of the franchise, the process has been kind to the 76ers. Some of the best to play their positions have donned the red, white and blue, including one player larger than life and perhaps the best pound-for-pound baller to take the hardwood.

Wilt Chamberlain’s second stint in the City of Brotherly Love cemented his legacy as an all-timer. Playing once again for his hometown team after being traded from the San Francisco Warriors, Chamberlain teamed with fellow Hall of Famers Hal Greer (Finals MVP) and Billy Cunningham to bring the city its first basketball championship in 1967, defeating the Warriors in six games.

Cunningham would bring a title back to Philly, this time as coach, in 1983. He led a squad that featured three Hall of Famers (Julius Erving, Moses Malone and Maurice Cheeks). That trio swept the Showtime Lakers thanks to a dominating performance by Finals MVP Malone, who led each game in rebounding and was the highest scorer in three of the four contests.

While it didn’t result in another championship, there was no shortage of excitement and intrigue in the late 1980s and early ‘90s in Philly. The Sixers drafted Charles Barkley in the historic 1984 NBA Draft, and for eight seasons Sir Charles kept fans on the edge of their seats. Barkley averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds every year in Philadelphia, minus his rookie season, and consistently led the team on playoff runs in a loaded Eastern conference.

The Sixers again struck gold at the top of the draft by picking Allen Iverson No. 1 overall in 1996. The answer to the organization’s prayers, Iverson was an instant star who averaged at least 22 points per game during his decade-long run in Philly. His tenure included winning the MVP Award and taking his squad to Finals in 2001. Dikembe Mutombo, one of the best defenders and rebounders of his generation, also starred on that team, which was led by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

Philadelphia remained competitive in the post-Iverson era thanks to Andre Iguodala, whose solid all-around game led to an All-Star appearance in 2012.

A lengthy rebuild ensued, but their patience was rewarded in the form of young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Both players have skills that transcend their respective positions. Simmons stands nearly 7-feet tall and has some of the best hands in the league. Embiid is one of the more fluid big men in the NBA and is lethal inside as well as a threat to score outside. With Tobias Harris, one of the best combo forwards in the game, and superstar Jimmy Butler also in tow, the new-look Sixers are a squad nobody wants to face in the playoffs.

Check out the Sixers’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on the company’s website.

#9 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons roll in at No. 9 in the Panini America 30 Teams | 30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The Pistons are one of the best franchises in the NBA at building high-caliber teams that also reflect the culture of the city. Detroit, known for its blue-collar attitude, fully embraces players that win with hard work and toughness.

The Bad Boys are the epitome of that sentiment. Led by a Hall-of-Fame backcourt of Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, Detroit reached basketball’s mountaintop in 1989 and 1990. In doing so, they became just the second squad to win back-to-back titles since 1970, following the Lakers ’87 and ’88.

While the backcourt was the face of the Bad Boys, the heart and soul were the post players who set the tone defensively. Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, John Salley and James Edwards made life miserable for opponents who dared enter the paint. Adding key figures like Dennis Rodman, Mark Aquirre and Vinnie Johnson made the Bad Boys one of the most complete teams in the modern NBA.

The franchise’s third championship came in 2004 when Dumars, then calling the shots in the front office, assembled a team that mirrored the Bad Boys. Led by Ben Wallace and Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, the “Goin’ to Work” Pistons brought together several misfits and outcasts who banded together to put the team above themselves. With Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace rounding out the lineup, the Pistons dominated a Lakers squad that boasted four future Hall of Famers in its starting five to win the title.

The newest model of Detroit basketball features a pair of heavy hitters that fans can’t help but get behind. Andre Drummond is one of the best rebounders of his generation and routinely revs the crowd up with his persistence on the offensive glass and powerful slams. Blake Griffin, one of the best shooting forwards in the game, is a bumper car on the hardwood until he hits the gas once a lane to the basket opens.  

Check out the Pistons all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on their website.

#10 Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz check in at No. 10 in the Panini America 30 Teams | 30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

Any discussion about the history of the Jazz must start with one phrase: Stockton to Malone. Point guard John Stockton and power forward Karl Malone are universally considered one of the best duos of all-time and one of the best to play their positions. They combined for 24 All-Star appearances and took Utah to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 under coach Jerry Sloan.

The Jazz began their NBA tenure in New Orleans in 1974, and the biggest party was coming to watch “Pistol” Pete Maravich perform on the hardwood.

Maravich had moves made for the social media generation. With his dead-on jumper, sweeping layups and between-the-legs passes, the Hall of Famer was a ready-made viral video before there was such a thing. While a member of the New Orleans Jazz, he set the franchise record for points in a single game with 68 vs. the Knicks on Feb. 25, 1977.

The bridge between the Maravich and the Stockton-Malone Jazz squads was built by Adrian Dantley. The Hall of Fame forward led the NBA in scoring in 1980-81 (30.7) and 1983-84 (30.6) and was an All-Star in six of his seven seasons in Utah.

The modern Jazz remain a sweet tune, sporting a symphony of young talent that includes 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and budding star Donovan Mitchell. Proclaiming the mantra “#TeamisEverything,” the squad will make its third consecutive playoff appearance in 2019 under coach Quin Snyder.

Check out the Jazz’s all-time lineup below and click on each card to find them for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. And if you’re looking for the latest Panini NBA products, you can find them on their website.