#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.

#11 Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns check in at No. 11 in the Panini America 30 Teams | 30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.

The Suns have been home to some of the game’s greatest players including Charles Barkley, Connie Hawkins, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Johnson. Ten Suns players have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The club may still be looking for its first NBA championship, but the organization has enjoyed a lot of success in the desert. In only their eighth  season, led by Dick Van Arsdale, Paul Westphal and Hawkins, the Suns made their first trip to the NBA Finals.  The Suns fell to the Boston Celtics in a hard fought 4-2 series.

The foundation of its next run of success was built around Walter Davis, Johnson, Barkley, Tom Chambers and Dan Marjerle. A 13 consecutive season playoff run included another trip to the NBA Finals in 1993, led by NBA MVP Barkley. The Suns won an impressive 62 games in the regular season. The Chicago Bulls prevailed in the Finals to win their third championship in a row.

During the early 2000s, the Suns were led by Steve Nash who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Grant Hill, Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire were also part of the team in this period. The fast break-style offense made the team an athletic force among and one of the NBA’s elite teams for several seasons.

The club may still be looking for its first NBA championship, but the organization has – for the most part – enjoyed success in the desert, and owns the league’s second highest winning percentage of any team not to yet win an NBA title.

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

#12 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder spent over 40 years as the Seattle Supersonics before relocating to OKC in 2008.

The Thunder have been a key part of a makeover of Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have generated excitement in the city for over a decade. He was the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and has played his entire career as a member of the Thunder. He’s won an MVP, averaged a Triple Double for an entire season twice (and is on his way to his third straight season currently), and become the face of the franchise with his passion and drive. The Thunder have made the NBA Finals and become a consistent contender in their brief time in OKC.

The franchise was legendary before they moved to the Midwest. They won the 1979 NBA title behind the efforts of Fred Brown, Jack Sikma and others. The Sonics also had some of the most popular players in the 1990s, the era when many card collectors grew up. Shawn Kemp was a supremely talented and athletic power forward, slamming down monster dunks and becoming a ’90s superstar.

The Sonics only got one season of Kevin Durant before moving to OKC, but that was a Rookie of the Year season for the teenager. Durant made the move to Oklahoma with the team, where he became their scoring leader and first superstar. While Westbrook and James Harden were developing into the future-MVPs that they would become, Durant was the focal point for the team. He won the MVP in 2014 and led them to the NBA Finals that season.

Check out the Sonics/Thunder all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.

#13 Miami Heat

Founded in 1988, the Miami Heat franchise is one of the youngest in the NBA.

It took them a few years to gain a foothold in the league, but the additions of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway in the mid-1990s helped to establish the franchise as a contender. The biggest move in the history of the team, though, was when they drafted Dwyane Wade fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. The shooting guard from Marquette was selected after LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh in what would end up being one of the greatest draft classes in NBA history. The Heat are pretty happy with the player they ended up with at No. 5. Wade is the best player in Miami history, leading them to their first NBA Title in 2006, when he teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to bring the championship to Miami.

But it was in 2010 when good times really starting coming to Miami. Wade was able to leverage his friendship (and the Heat’s large amount of cap space) to recruit his friends from the 2003 Draft Class to Miami. James and Bosh joined up with Wade to form the “Big Three” that would go to four straight NBA Finals and win two titles. This turned the Heat into must-watch television and a national storyline every night. The Heat were the hottest ticket in the entire NBA and every game, whether at home or on the road, felt like a playoff game. It was truly the best time in franchise history.

Check out the Heat’s all-time roster, consisting of many players who helped the franchise to those three championships. Click on the card of each player to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace.