5 New Orleans Hornets
2007-08 marked the Hornets full-time return to New Orleans for the first time since 2005. The city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina was in need of a pick me up, and the Hornets gave them just that, setting a franchise record of 56 wins and taking home the first division title in franchise history. All-Star point guard Chris Paul led the league in both assists per game and being adorable, while head coach Byron Scott won coach of the year. Paul’s unbelievable year continued with averages of 24.1 points and 11.3 assists in the playoffs, where the Hornets eventually fell to the defending champion Spurs in an epic 7-game Conference Semis series.
4 San Antonio Spurs
The defending champions from the year before, the Spurs once again proved they hate repeats, as they would fail to win back-to-back rings for the fifth time in nine years. Though that’s not exactly to say they mailed it in. San Antonio won 50 games for the ninth straight season, as their own Big Three (formed through some archaic thing called “The Draft”) of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili all averaged 19 points a game. The 2007-08 Spurs lasted until the Western Conference Finals, where they were eventually ousted by Kobe Bryant and the team he was suddenly happy to be on again.
3 Detroit Pistons
In 2007-08, the Detroit Pistons wore the number 50 on their jerseys in honor of a half-century in the city; marking the first time anyone has ever celebrated spending time in Detroit. The boys from the Motor City also kept up their tradition of winning in the most blue-collar fashion possible, allowing the fewest points, having the fewest turnovers, and with seemingly no star power (Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace all averaged between 12-18 points per game). After running away with the Central division, Rip Hamilton and his bank robber mask passed Isiah Thomas and his aggressive libido to become the Pistons’ all-time leading scorer in the playoffs, where they eventually fell to the Celtics.
2 Los Angeles Lakers
It was a sad day for L.A. basketball. The historic Smush Parker era had come to an end when the Lakers abruptly decided to sign an actual NBA point guard in Derek Fisher. Maybe they realized they needed a quality veteran, or maybe it was because Kobe Bryant was demanding a trade roughly every ten minutes. Who’s to say really? But 2007-08 was the year the Lakers made moves. Midway through the season they landed All-Star power forward Pau Gasol from Memphis in exchange for sixpence and a beaver pelt, then proceeded to go 22-5 with Gasol and won the #1 seed in the West. Kobe won the MVP and the Lakers were clearly back. Well, until they lost in the finals.
1 Boston Celtics
Danny Ainge, you bastard. When we look at current Frankenstein teams like the Heat and Lakers, the Celtics’ executive extraordinaire is the one we can blame. Practically overnight, Ainge orchestrated the trades that added perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to play alongside Paul Pierce. The “Big Three” was born, and the project was an instant success. The Celts won a league best 66 games, the second most wins in franchise history and a ridiculous turnaround from the previous year’s 24 wins. Though they were challenged in the playoffs, playing a record-setting 26 games on their way to a title, they still got where they were going. And in the end, Kevin Garnett’s declaration that “Anything is possible!” reminded us all that if you’re 7-feet tall, have two future Hall of Famers helping you and are heavily favored to win the title, you may just pull it off.
So, there you have it, all the best teams in the NBA from 2007-08. Or as it will forever be remembered in history, the year we all realized Kevin Garnett was for sure a crazy person.
Any teams we missed? Doubt it. But why not throw together a list of your own?