Which NBA fan bases have it the worst right now? It's a question that the Sports Misery Index tackled, and while we did an article on the top 25 in all sports, it's time to delve deeper into which NBA fans feel good about life and which are, quite frankly, miserable.
The Index takes into account five factors: championships, playoff berths, playoff wins, heartbreaks and rival comparison, with recent events being weighted more than events that took place decades ago. We'll identify how each NBA team rates in each category. In this exercise, the higher the ranking, the greater the misery. Scores are tabulated through the 2017-18 season.
Total score: 27.1
All-sport rank: 1
Ranking by category: championships, 12; playoff berths, 1; playoff wins, 4; heartbreaks, 15 (tie); rival comparison, 1
Where they're especially miserable: Where do we start? The Kings have the longest playoff drought (about to be 13 seasons) in the NBA, they haven't won a playoff series since 2004 and they were the victims of one of the most curiously officiated playoff games in memory in Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals. Oh yeah, they also have to deal with Lakers fans and the current Warriors dynasty. This is why they're the most miserable fans in sports.
Rays of hope: It's really hard to think of one, but at least fans who are in their early 20s or older can remember the Chris Webber/Mike Bibby/Peja Stojakovic days, as the Kings made the playoffs eight consecutive years from 1999 to 2006. Better than talking about recent history.
Trend: Actually pretty good. Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, the Kings have built a young core that made a leap toward playoff contender status this season. The short term might not be great, as the Kings will still miss the playoffs and the rival Warriors could win another title, but there's long-term hope for the first time in a long time.
2. Phoenix Suns
Total score: 18.25
All-sport rank: 12 (tie)
Ranking by category: championships, 1 (tie); playoff berths, 3; playoff wins, 8 (tie); heartbreaks, 28; rival comparison, 2
Where they're especially miserable: The Suns have a lot of the rival angst that the Kings do, as they've had to watch the Lakers and Warriors win eight titles since 2000. Phoenix hasn't made the playoffs (or won a playoff series) since 2010, and when they were good, they always were blocked out by superior teams. They also had a big drug scandal in the 1980s.
Rays of hope: The Suns have either fallen just short or fallen really hard, but at least their fans have seen fun basketball. From Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire earlier this decade to Kevin Johnson and Sir Charles back in the day, Suns basketball has had streaks of entertainment woven into their miserable existence.
Trend: The Kings missed the playoffs, so the Suns aren't No. 1 in the NBA quite yet, but they could be there in the next year or two. Sure, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are fun to watch, but this team is way behind every other team in the Western Conference and seemingly without direction. Ultimately, that wins out, even if Booker and Ayton are doing cool things.
Total score: 16.95
All-sport rank: 17
Ranking by category: championships, 18; playoff berths, 6; playoff wins, 2; heartbreaks, 19; rival comparison, 4
Where they're especially miserable: Things weren't awesome before the Hornets left for New Orleans in 2002, as they never made it past the second round of the playoffs. But that's prolific success as compared to the 15 seasons after they came back, as the Hornets haven't won a playoff series. They have reached the postseason only three times, and they had the worst win percentage in NBA history in 2011-12.
Rays of hope: Kemba Walker is a fun player for current fans to follow, and the Hornets have had some of the snazziest uniforms in the league during their tenure. It's also fun to watch Larry Johnson's "Grandmama" commercials on YouTube during a nostalgia kick.
Trend: It's really hard to say. The Hornets stayed in contention to make the playoffs, but they likely will fall short yet again. A lot will hinge on what Walker decides to do this offseason.
4. LA Clippers
Total score: 15.95
All-sport rank: 25
Ranking by category: championships, 8; playoff berths, 13; playoff wins, 10; heartbreaks, 5; rival comparison, 3
Where they're especially miserable: Sharing a town with the Lakers is bad enough, as the Lake Show has won eight titles since the Clippers arrived in Los Angeles, but the Clippers can't even take advantage of downturns. They've never advanced past the second round, and their 2015 collapse against the Rockets -- when the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and a 19-point third-quarter lead in Game 6 -- was one for the books.
Rays of hope: They've had their best run of success over the past eight seasons, making the playoffs seven times, including six in a row from 2012 to 2017. They won three playoff series during that time. In comparison, the Clippers made the playoffs four times and only won one series from 1984 to 2011.
Trend: Despite seemingly pointing toward the future, be it free agency or the draft, the Clippers were quite feisty this season and unexpectedly made the playoffs. That will drop them out of the misery top 25 in the next update, which is nice. Either way, the Clippers aren't ready to cede L.A. back to the Lakers quite yet.
Total score: 15.3
All-sport rank: 28
Ranking by category: championships, 3; playoff berths, 4; playoff wins, 7; heartbreaks, 26; rival comparison, 6
Where they're especially miserable: The names James Dolan, Isiah Thomas and Eddy Curry will give Knicks fans the shakes, but no more than their track record since 2001. The Knicks have made the playoffs only four times in the past 18 seasons, including missing the past six. The Knicks have won only one playoff series in that time and haven't won the NBA title since 1973.
Rays of hope: The heartbreaks of the 1990s -- from Charles Smith missing putbacks to Reggie Miller's feud with Spike Lee to Patrick Ewing missing what would have been a series-winning runner against the Pacers in 1995 -- are well in the past now. And the Knicks will have some money to spend this summer after trading away Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., among other players.
Trend: The Knicks almost certainly will be in the misery top 25 after this terrible season, but they're more concerned about the summer. If they can get Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, etc., to take their available millions, Madison Square Garden could go from terribly depressing to extremely fun.
Total score: 14.83
All-sport rank: 30
Ranking by category: championships, 13 (tie); playoff berths, 2; playoff wins, 1; heartbreaks, 30; rival comparison, 10
Where they're especially miserable: The Timberwolves missed the postseason 14 years in a row before breaking that drought last season. They've won only two playoff series in franchise history, both of which came in 2004. Minnesota fans also had to watch the best player in franchise history, Kevin Garnett, win an NBA title the year after he was traded away from the team.
Rays of hope: The Wolves broke that awful playoff drought, and they have one of the league's budding young stars in Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota also rates very low in the heartbreak category, as it hasn't had the stomach-punch losses that other franchises have.
Trend: The Timberwolves parted ways with Jimmy Butler and, once again, are separated from being in the playoffs, making them a candidate to move into the next top 25. Now, they have to figure out their next step forward with Towns as the centerpiece after ridding themselves of Butler and Tom Thibodeau.
Total score: 12.85
All-sport rank: 42
Ranking by category: championships, 13 (tie); playoff berths, 5; playoff wins, 11; heartbreaks, 25; rival comparison, 8
Where they're especially miserable: The Magic have had some superstars pass through in their 30 seasons of existence, from Shaquille O'Neal to Penny Hardaway to Dwight Howard. Not only haven't they won a title, but all of those players left Orlando prematurely. The Magic have 30 for 30s dedicated to their misery, while the cross-state Heat have three NBA titles. And don't mention Nick Anderson.
Rays of hope: As you can tell in the paragraph above, the Magic have had some great players in the names above, plus Tracy McGrady. They've been to the NBA Finals twice, in 1995 and 2009, and made the playoffs 14 times from 1993 to 2012. That's why they didn't crack the top 25.
Trend: The Magic came on in the second half of this season to not only make the playoffs for the first time since 2012, but also win the Southeast Division. For the first time in a while, there's hope in Orlando.
Total score: 11.36
All-sport rank: 47
Ranking by category: championships, 4 (tie); playoff berths, 8 (tie); playoff wins, 5; heartbreaks, 15 (tie); rival comparison, 16
Where they're especially miserable: The Nuggets not only suffered through a five-year playoff drought, but they missed the playoffs last season on the final day via an overtime loss to the Timberwolves in a win-or-go-home situation. Denver hasn't won a playoff series since 2009 and has never made it to the NBA Finals. The Nuggets also were left high and dry by Carmelo Anthony.
Rays of hope: If you like high scoring, the Nuggets have been a great team to follow, as they've been in three of the four highest-scoring games in NBA history. Denver also was the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 in the playoffs, as Dikembe Mutombo and Jalen Rose helped topple the SuperSonics in 1994. The Nuggets also made the postseason 10 seasons in a row from 2004 to 2013.
Trend: Not only are the Nuggets returning to the playoffs, but they're doing it with style, as Denver ascended toward the top of the Western Conference. This is easily the most basketball excitement in the Mile High City since Anthony was around.
Total score: 11.1
All-sport rank: 49
Ranking by category: championships, 21; playoff berths, 7; playoff wins, 17; heartbreaks, 24; rival comparison, 7
Where they're especially miserable: It has been rough in Detroit, as the Pistons have not won a playoff series since the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals, and they made the playoffs only once in nine seasons from 2010 to 2018. They've also had to watch the Cavaliers and Bulls go on long runs of success in the past 25 years, and LeBron James' performance in Game 5 in 2007 still causes horrors.
Rays of hope: The Pistons have had two really good runs in team history, as they won two championships during the "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s and early 1990s, then won another championship during the "Deeeetroit Basketball!!" era in the 2000s. The Pistons made the Eastern Conference finals six years in a row from 2003 to 2008.
Trend: The Pistons are in a fight to make the playoffs, as they are trying to hold off the Heat and Hornets for the last spot. But are they really on the verge of another big run? If not, that 2004 championship, now 15 years in the past, doesn't really help Detroit fans cope.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Total score: 10.83
All-sport rank: 51
Ranking by category: championships, 9; playoff berths, 16 (tie); playoff wins, 3; heartbreaks, 11; rival comparison, 11
Where they're especially miserable: The Bucks have the third-worst playoff wins score, as they haven't won a playoff series since the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals. Milwaukee has dropped nine consecutive playoff series since, starting with a seven-game loss to the 76ers in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals and ending with a seven-game loss to the Celtics last season.
Rays of hope: Even though the Bucks haven't won a playoff series since 2001, they have been in the postseason a decent amount lately, as they're going to be in the playoffs for the third straight season and the fifth time in seven seasons. Milwaukee also is blessed with one of the best young stars in the game in Giannis Antetokounmpo, which makes the Bucks must-see TV.
Trend: The Bucks moved from the mediocre middle to the penthouse this season, as they've ridden Antetokounmpo to the top of the Eastern Conference. The misery will be reduced by a significant amount, especially if Milwaukee can find a way into the NBA Finals.
11. Brooklyn Nets
Total score: 9.36
All-sport rank: 56
Ranking by category: championships, 4 (tie); playoff berths, 8 (tie); playoff wins, 12; heartbreaks, 22; rival comparison, 15
Where they're especially miserable: The Nets bet big and lost on late-career Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, which not only left them without an elusive championship, but also in a big hole with no draft picks to fill it. The Nets missed the playoffs the previous three seasons, and they have won only one playoff series since the 2007-08 season.
Rays of hope: The Nets were pretty spunky in the latter portion of their New Jersey days, as they made the NBA Finals in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003. They made the playoffs six seasons in a row in the 2000s and won nine postseason series behind the likes of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. That's more than the crosstown Knicks can say.
Trend: Surprisingly good. The Nets' array of young players jelled nicely and have Brooklyn in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Continued development of the young corps plus reinforcements could lead to far less misery.
Total score: 8.28
All-sport rank: 59
Ranking by category: championships, 22; playoff berths, 10; playoff wins, 6; heartbreaks, 29; rival comparison, 13
Where they're especially miserable: The Hornets/Pelicans haven't exactly torn it up in the Big Easy, as they've won only two playoff series despite making the playoffs seven times in 17 seasons. They've won the division only once, in 2007-08, and that season saw them blow a 3-2 lead to the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.
Rays of hope: One of the two playoff series victories came last season, as the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers before losing to the Warriors in the conference semis. Pelicans fans have been able to watch one of the best players in the NBA in Anthony Davis, and the loss to the Spurs in 2008 is their only real heartbreak since arriving in New Orleans.
Trend: Not looking good at all. Davis has voiced his desire to leave New Orleans when his contract is up, so the Pelicans now have to try to get some value for their disgruntled star. Either way, Pelicans fans are going to be despondent in the near future.
Total score: 7.31
All-sport rank: 62
Ranking by category: championships, 15; playoff berths, 11; playoff wins, 15; heartbreaks, 20; rival comparison, 14
Where they're especially miserable: It has been 36 years since Dr. J & Co. swept the Lakers to win the 1983 NBA championship. The 76ers have been back to the NBA Finals only once since, in 2001. Philadelphia also went through a brutal "process" that saw it miss the playoffs five years in a row and saw their general manager resign after his burner Twitter account was discovered.
Rays of hope: "The Process" began to bear fruit last season, as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons spearheaded a 52-win team that not only saw the Sixers make the playoffs, but win their first postseason series since 2012. Getting to watch Allen Iverson dazzle in the late 1990s and early 2000s was a treat for Philly fans too.
Trend: The 76ers have gone into the "all-in" stage of "The Process," adding Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to the mix via trades. Whether that's enough to win the Eastern Conference, much less get to the NBA Finals, will determine how miserable or happy Philly fans will be.
Total score: 6.69
All-sport rank: 66
Ranking by category: championships, 4 (tie); playoff berths, 15; playoff wins, 16; heartbreaks, 17; rival comparison, 12
Where they're especially miserable: It's bad enough that it has been 41 years since the Wizards (who were the Bullets then) won their only NBA championship, in 1978. Even worse is that Washington hasn't been past the conference semis since losing in the 1979 Finals, as the Wizards have lost five straight in that round, including a seven-game heartbreaker to the Celtics in 2017.
Rays of hope: The Wizards have gone from being a consistent lottery team to being almost a playoff mainstay, as they made the postseason four times in the previous five seasons. Washington has won three playoff series since 2014 after having not won a series since 2005 and only two series from 1980 to 2013.
Trend: The misery will be accumulating fast. John Wall's Achilles injury not only spelled doom for the Wizards this season, but it could be the death knell for the Wall-Bradley Beal combo. If that's the case, Washington could be in line for another long rebuilding effort, though at least Ernie Grunfeld won't be running it.
15. Toronto Raptors
Total score: 5.88
All-sport rank: 68
Ranking by category: championships, 17; playoff berths, 19; playoff wins, 20; heartbreaks, 10; rival comparison, 9
Where they're especially miserable: When playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have been the Raptors' kryptonite over the previous three seasons. Toronto lost to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals in 2016 and was swept by the Cavs in the semis in 2017 and 2018. The most recent sweep was especially disheartening, as the Raptors came into the playoffs with the No. 1 seed in the East.
Rays of hope: At least Cleveland's problems have come later in the playoffs, as Toronto had lost in the first round in six of its seven playoff appearances prior to 2016. The Raptors have turned themselves into one of the East's most consistent teams, as they're about to make the playoffs for the sixth year in a row and have a deep roster of talent.
Trend: Here's goes nothing. The Raptors brought in Kawhi Leonard to make a run to the NBA Finals, and now is their chance. Their long-term future -- from re-signing Leonard to being a consistent championship contender -- is in the balance.
16. Dallas Mavericks
Total score: 3.09
All-sport rank: 73
Ranking by category: championships, 25; playoff berths, 22; playoff wins, 19; heartbreaks, 12; rival comparison, 5
Where they're especially miserable: The Mavericks are about to miss the playoffs for a third straight season, haven't won a playoff series since 2011 and are in the midst of a rebuild. While Dallas has had its fair share of success over the past two decades, that success has been dwarfed by the five titles of the rival Spurs and overshadowed by the Rockets' recent upswing.
Rays of hope: Things were pretty good in Dallas during the 2000s, as the Mavericks made the playoffs 12 seasons in a row from 2001 to 2012 and 14 times in 15 seasons. Mavericks fans got to enjoy a future Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki for two decades, and Nowitzki led the Mavericks past the Heat in 2011 for the franchise's only NBA championship.
Trend: Nowitzki might be on his way out, but the Mavericks are pointed toward a future centered around Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. While that didn't result in a playoff appearance this season, Dallas fans are hopeful that the next era of great Mavs basketball is coming shortly.
Total score: 2.67
All-sport rank: 76
Ranking by category: championships, 20; playoff berths, 20; playoff wins, 8 (tie); heartbreaks, 13 (tie); rival comparison, 19
Where they're especially miserable: The bottom fell out for the Grizzlies last season, as they plummeted to a 22-60 record. They have an aging core in a brutal Western Conference. Memphis fans also had to wait nine seasons before the Grizzlies won a playoff series, and the Grizzlies have made it past the first round only three times in 18 seasons.
Rays of hope: The Grizzlies were a playoff mainstay prior to last season, as they made the postseason the previous seven years. All four of the Grizzlies' playoff series victories have come since 2011, each of them coming as the lower seed. They made the conference finals in 2013, and they upset the top-seeded Spurs as the No. 8 seed in 2011 for their first-ever series victory.
Trend: It's officially rebuilding time in Memphis, which could cause some pain among Grizzlies fans that are used to playoff appearances. Marc Gasol's exit came at the trade deadline. Will Mike Conley be following him out the door in the offseason?
18. Utah Jazz
Total score: 2.4
All-sport rank: 78
Ranking by category: championships, 9 (tie); playoff berths, 14; playoff wins, 18; heartbreaks, 13 (tie); rival comparison, 23
Where they're especially miserable: Watching old highlight clips. Michael Jordan's jumper over Bryon Russell to end the 1998 NBA Finals still hurts 21 years later, as the Jazz were denied a title in the Karl Malone-John Stockton era. The Jazz have been up and down since, as they haven't made it to the Western Conference finals since 2007.
Rays of hope: The Jazz have not only made the playoffs the past couple of years, but they've won a playoff series in each. Utah upset the Clippers in 2017 and the Thunder this past season in the first round. The Jazz also made the playoffs 20 seasons in a row from 1984 to 2003 and 25 times in 29 seasons from 1984 to 2012.
Trend: The Jazz have settled into a pattern -- start slowly, induce panic in their fans and then go on a second-half run to make the playoffs. Now, can Donovan Mitchell & Co. up the ante and make a run toward the conference finals?
19. Chicago Bulls
Total score: 1.79
All-sport rank: 80
Ranking by category: championships, 19; playoff berths, 21; playoff wins, 14; heartbreaks, 23; rival comparison, 18
Where they're especially miserable: The 21 years since Michael Jordan & Co. left the Windy City have been tough, as the Bulls haven't been able to return to that level. The 2012 first-round loss to the 76ers was especially brutal, as Chicago lost as the No. 1 seed due to a knee injury to franchise player Derrick Rose, who hasn't been close to being the same player since and has left the team.
Rays of hope: It's hard for Bulls fans in their late 20s and older to be too despondent, as they witnessed one of the most dominating stretches in NBA history. Chicago had two three-peats and won six titles from 1991 to 1998. The Bulls also made the playoffs seven years in a row from 2009 to 2015 and eight times in nine years, prior to backsliding last season.
Trend: It's going to be ugly. The Bulls backslid even further and fired coach Fred Hoiberg in the process. While there are some talented young players, it looks like it'll be a while before the Bulls return to playoff contention. Expect Chicago to rise up these standings.
20. Indiana Pacers
Total score: 1.52
All-sport rank: 81
Ranking by category: championships, 4 (tie); playoff berths, 26; playoff wins, 22; heartbreaks, 4; rival comparison, 20
Where they're especially miserable: In the Eastern Conference finals. The Pacers have made the conference finals eight times since 1994 but advanced to the NBA Finals only once in that time, before losing to the Lakers in 2000. They lost four of those series in a Game 7, most recently to the Heat in 2013. The Pacers had the Cavaliers on the ropes last season before also falling.
Rays of hope: The Pacers are as safe a playoff bet as they come, as they've missed the playoffs only six times since 1990. Indiana has been able to seamlessly transition between eras with little to no falloff, going from Reggie Miller to Paul George to now Victor Oladipo, who led the Pacers to a surprising playoff berth last season.
Trend: The Pacers returned to their familiar playoff home, but Oladipo's midseason leg injury has Indiana fans understandably skittish, as they went through a similar thing with George. Oladipo's recovery could be the determining factor on whether Indiana can make it to the next level.
21. Houston Rockets
Total score: -0.45
All-sport rank: 85
Ranking by category: championships, 16; playoff berths, 27; playoff wins, 23; heartbreaks, 8; rival comparison, 17
Where they're especially miserable: The Rockets had the Warriors down 3-2 and on the ropes in last season's Western Conference finals, but Chris Paul's Game 5 hamstring injury helped contribute to Houston losing that series. The Rockets haven't won the NBA Finals (or played in them) since 1995. Since then, the other Texas NBA teams have six titles (five for the Spurs, one for the Mavericks).
Rays of hope: The Rockets are about to make their seventh straight playoff appearance since acquiring James Harden from the Thunder, winning five postseason series in that span. Houston fans that are older than 30 got to see their team win back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 behind Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
Trend: Harden has had one of the better individual seasons in recent memory, but Rockets fans should be worried that their best chance to unseat the Warriors might already have taken place, especially considering Paul's advancing age and increasing injury frequency.
22. Atlanta Hawks
Total score: -1.94
All-sport rank: 87
Ranking by category: championships, 1 (tie); playoff berths, 24 (tie); playoff wins, 21; heartbreaks, 18; rival comparison, 21
Where they're especially miserable: Having the Hawks this low might be surprising since they haven't made the NBA Finals, much less won them, since moving to Atlanta in 1968. The Hawks also have had a hard time making the Eastern Conference finals, as they've enjoyed only one such appearance since 1970, and it resulted in a four-game sweep to the Cavs in 2015.
Rays of hope: While the Hawks haven't won the big one, they're almost always in contention. The Hawks made the playoffs 10 seasons in a row from 2008 to 2017, winning six postseason series. The Hawks also were postseason regulars in the 1980s and 1990s, missing the playoffs only four times. That's a lot better than the rival Hornets and Magic can come up with.
Trend: The Hawks showed some promise this season, specifically the second-year development of John Collins and a second-half surge from rookie point guard Trae Young, but the rebuilding process has a ways to go before bearing fruit. So, expect Atlanta to rise in these rankings.
Total score: -3.15
All-sport rank: 90
Ranking by category: championships, 11; playoff berths, 28; playoff wins, 13; heartbreaks, 27; rival comparison, 22
Where they're especially miserable: It has been a long time, almost 42 years, since Bill Walton led the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. Portland has made the NBA Finals only twice since, most recently in 1992. The closest they've come since was in 2000, when they blew a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead to the Lakers in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
Rays of hope: Few teams are better at getting to the playoffs than the Blazers, who have the third-best playoff score in the NBA. Portland will be making its sixth consecutive playoff appearance, winning two playoff series, and before that made the playoffs 26 times in 27 seasons from 1977 to 2003. Being a Portland fan almost guarantees late April and May basketball viewing.
Trend: A lot of the same. The Blazers continue to be a postseason regular behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but they won't get to that next level unless they can pick up a little more help. Perhaps Enes Kanter can provide the necessary playoff spark.
Total score: -7.96
All-sport rank: 104
Ranking by category: championships, 23; playoff berths, 24 (tie); playoff wins, 24; heartbreaks, 9; rival comparison, 25
Where they're especially miserable: In finishing the job. Despite having an array of All-Star players that most fan bases would kill for, the Thunder haven't won the ultimate prize. Their only NBA Finals appearance was a five-game loss to the Heat in 2012. And OKC blew a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference finals, then lost Kevin Durant to them.
Rays of hope: Despite the lack of a championship, Oklahoma City fans are spoiled. The Thunder are about to make their ninth playoff appearance in 11 seasons in OKC, getting as far as the conference finals four times. Also, Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have helped give the Thunder one of the league's most star-studded rosters.
Trend: Can the Westbrook-George combo get the Thunder over the first-round hump and back to the Western Conference finals and beyond? That's the litmus test for Thunder supporters, who appreciate the entertainment but would like to see OKC back among the NBA elite.
Total score: -15.98
All-sport rank: 114
Ranking by category: championships, 29; playoff berths, 12; playoff wins, 25; heartbreaks, 21; rival comparison, 24
Where they're especially miserable: The past six years have been brutal for the Lake Show, as the Lakers are one of only four franchises who have missed the playoffs six years in a row. The Lakers compiled four of the five worst records in franchise history during that stretch, and they haven't won a playoff series since 2012. And the Dwight Howard experiment was no bueno.
Rays of hope: If you're rated this low in misery despite missing the playoffs six years in a row, that means you had virtually no misery before that. And the Lakers didn't, as they've won 11 championships in Los Angeles, 10 since 1980. From Magic Johnson to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980s to Shaq and Kobe then Kobe and Pau Gasol in the 2000s, Showtime meant title time.
Trend: LeBron James' arrival in Los Angeles disappointed in year one, as the Lakers are going to miss the playoffs. But progress has been made, and the Lakers will go all out for another superstar (see Davis, Anthony).
26. Boston Celtics
Total score: -19.68
All-sport rank: 116
Ranking by category: championships, 24; playoff berths, 29; playoff wins, 26; heartbreaks, 7; rival comparison, 26
Where they're especially miserable: The Celtics haven't won an NBA title in 11 years and have been recently blocked by LeBron James, first with the Heat in 2011 and 2012, then with the Cavs the past two seasons. James has closed out the Celtics twice in Game 7s, including this past season in TD Garden when the Celtics were without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Rays of hope: The Celtics have 17 NBA titles, more than any other franchise in NBA history. While many of those were pre-1980, the Celtics won three times with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the 1980s and won the "Anything is Possible!" title with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in 2008. They're also making their fifth straight playoff appearance and 11th in the past 12 seasons.
Trend: It's a little hard to say. A lot obviously hinges on whether the Celtics can navigate the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals. But even after that, will Boston be able to trade for Anthony Davis? Will the Celtics convince Kyrie Irving to stay with them long term? There's a lot up in the air.
27. Miami Heat
Total score: -22.75
All-sport rank: 117
Ranking by category: championships, 27; playoff berths, 23; playoff wins, 27; heartbreaks, 1; rival comparison, 28
Where they're especially miserable: The Heat actually are the top-ranked team when it comes to heartbreaks. They have lost twice in the NBA Finals since 2011 and haven't won a playoff series since 2016. They also have seen their Big Three (LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) turn into a solitary one due to free agency and injuries, and that one (Wade) is retiring after this season.
Rays of hope: Everything above was a big stretch, as being a Heat fan is generally pretty easy. James, Wade and Bosh brought back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, while Wade combined with Shaquille O'Neal to bring South Florida a previous championship, in 2006. No one is going to have sympathy for a franchise with three championships and five NBA Finals appearances in the past 13 seasons.
Trend: With Wade riding off into the sunset, it is hard for Heat fans to know what to expect going forward. Either way, the days of NBA championships and NBA Finals appearances are getting further and further away, so the misery will increase.
Total score: -24.39
All-sport rank: 118
Ranking by category: championships, 26; playoff berths, 18; playoff wins, 29; heartbreaks, 2; rival comparison, 29
Where they're especially miserable: The Cavs have definitely done the "close but no cigar" thing during their history, most recently evidenced by losing in the NBA Finals three times in the previous four seasons. Older Cavs fans remember Michael Jordan closing them out with "The Shot" in the first round in 1989. And, oh yeah, there's that LeBron James leaving thing -- twice.
Rays of hope: While losing to the Warriors three times isn't fun, the one win was extremely fun. Not only did the Cavs bring their city its first title in 52 years, but they became the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and did that against the winningest regular-season team in NBA history. LeBron's blocked shot and Kyrie Irving's go-ahead 3-pointer are long-lasting memories.
Trend: While not as painful as it was the first time James left, the result is exactly the same, as the Cavaliers have gone from being among the best in the NBA to the bottom of the league. The memories of the 2016 championship help delay some of the frustration, but it's coming.
Total score: -34.14
All-sport rank: 120
Ranking by category: championships, 28; playoff berths, 30; playoff wins, 28; heartbreaks, 3; rival comparison, 27
Where they're especially miserable: If it wasn't for Ray Allen and his clutch 3-pointer, the Spurs could have six titles in the Gregg Popovich era, as San Antonio had the Heat on the cusp of elimination in the 2013 NBA Finals. San Antonio also has seen its championship core erode to almost nothing, as Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili left this past offseason.
Rays of hope: The Spurs arguably have been the most successful franchise in sports over the past 20 to 25 years (yes, they're in the discussion with the New England Patriots). San Antonio has won five NBA titles since 1999 and have made the playoffs 22 years in a row and 29 times in the past 30 seasons. And the one year they missed allowed them to win the draft lottery and select future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan.
Trend: Perhaps the Spurs aren't quite at the NBA championship level they once were, but Popovich worked his magic to have the Spurs in the playoffs for the 22nd straight season. Things are still solid in San Antonio.
Total score: -41.55
All-sport rank: 122
Ranking by category: championships, 30; playoff berths, 16 (tie); playoff wins, 30; heartbreaks, 6; rival comparison, 30
Where they're especially miserable: They compiled a 73-9 record in 2015-16, the best in NBA history, but saw that season end without a championship, as they lost Game 7 to the Cavaliers at home and became the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Also, the Warriors missed the playoffs 17 of 18 seasons from 1995 to 2012, before their current seven-year postseason streak.
Rays of hope: I mean, really? The Warriors have won back-to-back championships, losing only one game in those two NBA Finals, and they earned a third title in 2015, all over LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Golden State is in the midst of a dynasty, and none of the stars in their championship core (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green) is older than 31.
Trend: Life has been good for the Warriors, and it will be even better if they three-peat. However, will this season be the last before the crew (Durant, and Green too, maybe?) starts to break apart and players begin to go their own ways?