Ranking the Golden State Warriors among past NBA Finals runner-ups

Are the Golden State Warriors the best team to lose the NBA Finals? WhatIfSports.com played a tournament with the Warriors and the last 25 Finals runner-ups.

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After a 73-win campaign and well-deserved consideration for the best team in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors stumbled in the NBA Finals, squandering away a 3-1 series lead to fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the defeat, the Warriors will go down as one of the best teams to lose in the Finals. But where do they rank among past runner-ups? We used WhatIfSports.com’s NBA simulation engine to find out, placing the Warriors in a round-robin tournament with the last 25 NBA Finals losers. Every team in the tournament played every other team 51 times. Check out how the Warriors fared:

2015-16 Golden State Warriors vs. Last 25 NBA Finals Runner-Ups
Rank Team Win% PF PA Simulate vs. Warriors
1 1994-95 Orlando Magic 69.2% 106.0 99.0 SimMatchup >
2 2015-16 Golden State Warriors 66.5% 103.9 97.4 2016 Runner-Ups
3 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers 65.8% 102.6 96.2 SimMatchup >
4 1996-97 Utah Jazz 65.5% 99.2 94.3 SimMatchup >
5 2013-14 Miami Heat 64.0% 102.7 97.1 SimMatchup >
6 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs 60.0% 100.9 96.9 SimMatchup >
7 1992-93 Phoenix Suns 59.3% 105.4 102.5 SimMatchup >
8 2010-11 Miami Heat 56.1% 98.5 96.1 SimMatchup >
9 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder 53.1% 96.9 96.1 SimMatchup >
10 1995-96 Seattle SuperSonics 52.3% 99.1 98.2 SimMatchup >
11 1997-98 Utah Jazz 52.0% 97.6 97.0 SimMatchup >
12 2009-10 Boston Celtics 51.6% 98.0 96.7 SimMatchup >
13 2008-09 Orlando Magic 50.6% 99.1 98.6 SimMatchup >
14 2005-06 Dallas Mavericks 49.5% 97.4 97.3 SimMatchup >
15 2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers 48.5% 96.1 96.6 SimMatchup >
16 1991-92 Portland Trail Blazers 48.5% 99.8 100.5 SimMatchup >
17 2000-01 Philadelphia 76ers 47.2% 94.3 95.7 SimMatchup >
18 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers 46.7% 96.5 97.8 SimMatchup >
19 2004-05 Detroit Pistons 44.2% 90.3 92.7 SimMatchup >
20 1990-91 Los Angeles Lakers 42.3% 99.3 102.3 SimMatchup >
21 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers 40.8% 93.7 96.1 SimMatchup >
22 1993-94 New York Knicks 40.5% 96.3 99.1 SimMatchup >
23 2001-02 New Jersey Nets 38.7% 92.2 96.8 SimMatchup >
24 2002-03 New Jersey Nets 37.8% 91.5 96.4 SimMatchup >
25 1999-00 Indiana Pacers 35.6% 96.4 100.9 SimMatchup >
26 1998-99 New York Knicks 13.5% 84.5 99.8 SimMatchup >

It’s another runner-up finish for the Warriors, with the 1994-95 Orlando Magic claiming the top spot in the tournament. Shaq and Penny’s squad, which was swept by the Houston Rockets in 1995, won 69.2 percent of their matchups and averaged a simulation-best 106.0 points per game. Golden State wasn’t far behind, with a 66.5 winning percentage. The Warriors’ 103.9 points per game ranked as the third-most, behind the Magic and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns (105.4 PPG).

Bringing up the rear in the tournament was the 1998-99 New York Knicks. Following the lockout-shortened season, the Knicks became the only No. 8 seed to advance to an NBA Finals, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in five games. In the simulation, the Knicks won just 13.5 percent of the time and were outscored by more than 15 points per game.

For more power rankings, view WhatIfSports.com’s simulation of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the last 25 NBA champions.