10 Failed NBA Superteams

Updated on February 19, 2020
Jan Michael Ong profile image

I like writing about food, sports, personal finance, the stock market, reality TV, cartoons, comics, collectible card games and video games.

Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and Hakeem Olajuwon

At first glance, this seemed to be a no-brainer. Combining three future Hall-of-Famers who all had playoff success and had been in the NBA Finals seemed to be a good idea at the time.

Hakeem Olajuwon won 2 championships in the 90s. He also had a Finals appearance in the 80s. Scottie Pippen won 6 championships in the 90s. Charles Barkley made one Finals appearance in the 90s.

This looked like a very formidable front court. Olajuwon and Pippen were elite defenders. Olajuwon and Barkley were elite rebounders.

The team did not work out because of a spat between Barkley and Pippen. Barkley lobbied for Pippen to come and even took a pay cut for him.

Pippen regretted coming to Houston and said "I probably should've listened to Michael a year ago when he said that Charles will never win a championship because he doesn't show any dedication He's a very selfish guy. He doesn't show the desire to want to win.''

Pippen would be out after a year and this infuriated Barkley. Barkley himself would be out two years later due to injuries.

Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George

Three superstars and one basketball.

It was an extremely risky trade as it had a larger chance of not working than working. Putting together three ball dominant players in one team rarely ever works.

Russell Westbrook is a triple double machine. He is a guard that could take it to the hole and is a strong point guard.

Paul George is an excellent two-way player. He can score anywhere on the court and can stop his man on the other end.

Carmelo Anthony is one of the most lethal scorers in the history of the game. He has amazing shooting mechanics that rival the greatest players of all time.

The team did not work as Carmelo Anthony was too inefficient and did not play any defense.

The team also did not have much teamwork and it was more like the three stars just taking turns.

Carmelo would be gone after a season, effectively breaking the superteam.

Shaquille O' Neil, Anfernee Hardaway, Dennis Scott and Nick Anderson

The Orlando Magic drafted quite well in its early years. They acquired Nick Anderson in 1989, Dennis Scott in 1990 and Shaquille O' Neil in 1992. They drafted Chris Webber in 1993 but parlayed him into Anfernee Hardaway. In just a few short seasons, they were in the Finals.

The Magic seemed to be the real deal. Anfernee Hardaway seemed to be like the second coming of Magic Johnson. Shaquille O' Neil would be Hardaway's version of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott were the Byron Scotts of the team who the stars could kick out to and make the midrange or long range basket.

The 1995 Finals were a disaster for the Orlando Magic. They were in the lead and poised to win Game 1. They had two chances to ice the game but Nick Anderson missed four straight free throws. Kenny Anderson sent the game into overtime and the Rockets prevailed. The Rockets would then go on to sweep the series.

The next season was Shaq's last with the Magic. He was injured for a significant amount of time. The Magic still made the Eastern Conference Finals but were swept by the Jordan-led Bulls.

Shaq would take his act to the bright lights of Los Angeles the next season and left the team.

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan

The Clippers have long been the laughingstock of the NBA and all of professional sports.

The Clippers have been mediocre for a long time because ownership did not want to spend the money to build a good team.

When they finally did, they got the squad of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Chris was one of the best point guards in the league and was in his prime. Blake Griffin was an offensive force and was steadily expanding his range. DeAndre Jordan was a defensive force who blocked shots and rebounded with impunity.

Dubbed "Lob City" because of all the dunks and alley oops done by the trio, the Clippers were now in perennial playoff contention. Some pundits even believed that the Clippers were championship contenders.

Unfortunately, the Clippers never even made the Conference Finals. Bad luck and injuries always seemed to derail the trio.

In the end, the three were traded to various teams to begin a rebuilding process.

Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby

The late 90s to early 2000s Sacramento Kings were an exciting team to watch. They were the era's version of the Golden State Warriors. This team practiced a more team-oriented offense where everyone was a threat and there were multiple passes per possession.

This was in contrast to the isolation plays which were prevalent in the era.

Everyone in the starting lineup was an above average passer. This included big men Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. The Kings also had one of the best point guards in Mike Bibby and one of the best marksmen in Peja Stojakovic.

The 2001-02 season was the peak of the team of Mike Bibby, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic. They had the league's best record with 61 wins. They appeared to be on their way to the Finals. They easily dispatched the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. They were then up against the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Aside from being against one of the best tandems of all time in Shaq and Kobe, the Kings were also against some very dubious officiating. Tim Donaghy would later come out and say that Game 6 was rigged. The number of phantom calls and no calls were astounding.

Despite having a 3-2 lead, a combination of poor officiating and missing key shots in Game 7 ended the King's title hopes.

Despite the setback, the Kings were still title favorites the next season. The Kings would end up losing a tough seven game series against Dallas due to Webber going down with a severe knee injury.

The Kings would try to make another push the next season after Webber recovered towards the end of the season. This time it would be the Minnesota Timberwolves that would oust them.

After the season, Chris Webber was traded and Vlade Divac left in free agency.

This ended this incarnation of the Kings.

Reggie Miller, Jermaine O' Neil, Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson

Reggie Miller was a Pacer lifer and the organization tried to reward him by doing its best to construct a suitable roster for him. Reggie was able to play with good players such as Rik Smits, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis, Mark Jackson, Jalen Rose and Chris Mullin.

This particular incarnation of the Pacers had Reggie Miller, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O' Neil and Ron Artest. This team was a defensive juggernaut. Only the Pistons were in their way and they were in the Finals.

There were high hopes for the team that they would finally win a ring and get one for Reggie. Things started off well until the "Malice in the Palace " incident on November 19, 2004. Ron Artest and Ben Wallace got into a scuffle and this escalated into the whole arena. Ron even got to punch a fan when they threw a beverage at him. Jermaine O' Neil clocked a fan who went to the playing area.

Players involved in the brawl got lengthy suspensions. This derailed the Pacers and they lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Detroit Pistons.

Reggie Miller retired after the season and Ron Artest was traded early into the next season.

We never had a chance to see what this team could do and we never got to see Reggie finally win a ring.

Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis and Steve Smith

Aside from talent, you also need chemistry and patience.

Sometimes combining stars from different teams may not always work out.

The 2000-01 Blazers were filled with talent. They had a starting lineup of Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis and Steve Smith.

They also had quality reserves in Detlef Schrempf, Brian Grant, Greg Anthony, Bonzi Wells, Jermaine O' Neil and Stacey Augmon.

The Blazers were up by thirteen points entering the 4th quarter. They missed several shots in the 4th quarter and the Lakers crept back in. The Lakers eventually won the game through some shoddy officiating which saw the Lakers get a 37-16 disparity in free throws awarded.

The Blazers gave it another try the next season but lost to the Lakers 0-3 in the first round of the playoffs.

After the season, Arvydas Sabonis retired and Steve Smith was traded for Derek Anderson, Steve Kerr and a second round pick.This broke up the core that the Blazers had.

This was a huge missed opportunity for Portland who had not sniffed the Finals since the days of Clyde Drexler and who had not won a championship since the days of Bill Walton.

Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard

Years after the Kobe, Shaq, Payton and Malone superteam debacle, the Lakers tried to form another superteam.

This time its was Kobe Bryant with an aging Steve Nash, a mercurial Ron Artest, an injured Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

Nash could gel with any team as he was unselfish and likes to initiate the offense more than scoring. However, he was hampered with injuries from years of wear and tear. He could be seen stretching in the sidelines more than he was actually playing on the court. Dwight was nowhere near the defensive beast he was in Orlando. He played the season injured and was also often the scapegoat when the Lakers lost.

This team was only around for a season. It won a measly 45 games and was swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers would lose Dwight Howard the season after and thus this superteam ended.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez

Mikhail Prokhorov was a man on a mission. He was determined to bring a championship back to Brooklyn no matter the cost. Unfortunately, Brooklyn lost its future because of this.

The Nets basically traded their picks for the next few years and their young talent in order to acquire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

While this lineup would look good on paper, Pierce and Garnett were already past their prime.

The Nets only managed 44 wins and were quickly dispatched by the Miami Heat in five games.

Pierce would leave the team the next season and this ended this superteam.

For all the young talent and picks the Nets gave up to form this superteam, they did not get a sound return on their investment.

Shaquille O' Neil, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton

Adding two future Hall-of -Famers to the defending champions seems like a surefire way of defending your title.

Gary Payton and Karl Malone were among the best to ever play their respective positions and average more than 20 points the season prior.

Both players made the Finals as stars in their respective teams. Both men however, were derailed by Michael Jordan.

As much as the 2003-04 Lakers were hyped, Lack of chemistry and injuries would prove to be their undoing.

Karl Malone was out for roughly half the season despite being an iron man in Utah. Gary Payton never got into the groove as the Triangle Offense did not maximize his abilities. Kobe and Shaq were also still feuding and both anted to be the alpha male.

Despite the drama, the team still won a respectable 56 games. They were however quickly dispatched by the Detroit Pistons in five games.

The team was dismantled after the season. Gary Payton and Rick Fox were shipped to Boston. Karl Malone retired. Shaq was shipped to Miami in a blockbuster deal.

This was the end of an era in the City of Angels.

Worst Superteam

Which is the worst superteam?

See results

© 2019 Jan Michael Ong


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    • profile image


      5 weeks ago

      2018 cavs bust: d-wade, d-rose, lebron, j.r smith, isaiah thomas, and kevin love.

      lost to kd, curry, and klay :(

    • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Michael Ong 

      11 months ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      TT. This is a big what if. The team should have kept that core and won a few rings.

    • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Michael Ong 

      11 months ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      Loved the Kemp and Payton Sonics. I would maybe do an article on them in the future. Not much time now.

    • Ty Tayzlor profile image


      12 months ago from Anywhere

      I wouldn't view Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp's Sonics as a super team. But I would give a nod to the 2011-2012 OKC Thunder. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, KD, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins on the same team and soon imploded after that

    • EstX Neyo profile image

      Mikey Karlovsky 

      12 months ago

      Bro love the content, but what about Mid 90s Supersonics as well

    • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Michael Ong 

      16 months ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      We always need to consider chemistry, the players' style of play and age when doing a superteam TT. I really wanted Karl Malone and Payton to get a ring at the time. Sadly it did not work out.

      I also wanted Steve Nash to get a ring on the other superteam.

    • Ty Tayzlor profile image


      16 months ago from Anywhere

      Both of Kobe's superteams were utter disasters


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