“In a lot of ways it’s harder in this league,” another NBA executive says, “to go from middle-of-the-pack to the top than from the bottom to the top.”
– An NBA executive to SI’s Joe Posnanski.
Every NBA franchise has been to the playoffs at least once since 2004; 23 of the league’s 30 teams have made it in the last three years.
It’s almost impossible to be consistently awful. Over half the teams make the playoffs every year; the rest are given first crack at selecting the best young prospects. Even the Clippers have some history of recent playoff success, with an Elton Brand led team making Game 7 of the second round in 2006.
It’s not difficult to build a 45+ win team; it’s actually pretty easy.
For franchises to miss the playoffs for more than five straight years, two things usually have to happen: they have to wait too long to rebuild and then whiff in the Draft.