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What's Next?

Eddie Sefko has an article in today's Dallas Morning News discussing how hard it is to not just improve on a season where you finished second but to even repeat that success. He's completely right. Anything less than the O'Brien trophy this season will only put an exclamation point on last years failure.

If the Mavs fail to make the NBA Finals that means they've regressed and people will say they blew their only chance. And If the Mavs lose in the Finals again they'll be labeled as a team that can't win it all. Unfair? Yes, but that's how it works. In a lot of ways there is more pressure the next season on the NBA Finals loser to prove themselves than there is on the champion to defend their title.

With that in mind, here's what the last 26 teams did the year after losing in the NBA finals.

Year Team Next Season
2006 Dallas Mavericks ???
2005 Detroit Pistons Lost in Conf. Finals
2004 LA Lakers Missed Playoffs
2003 New Jersey Nets Lost in Semis
2002 New Jersey Nets Lost in NBA Finals
2001 Philadelphia 76ers Lost in 1st Round
2000 Indiana Pacers Lost in 1st Round
1999 New York Knicks Lost in Conf. Finals
1998 Utah Jazz Lost in Semis
1997 Utah Jazz Lost in NBA Finals
1996 Seattle Supersonics Lost in Semis
1995 Orlando Magic Lost in Conf. Finals
1994 New York Knicks Lost in Semis
1993 Phoenix Suns Lost in Semis
1992 Portland Trail Blazers Lost in 1st Round
1991 LA Lakers Lost in 1st Round
1990 Portland Trail Blazers Lost in Conf. Finals
1989 LA Lakers Lost in Semis
1988 Detroit Pistons NBA Champions
1987 Boston Celtics Lost in Conf. Finals
1986 Houston Rockets Lost in Semis
1985 Boston Celtics NBA Champions
1984 LA Lakers NBA Champions
1983 LA Lakers Lost in NBA Finals
1982 Philadelphia 76ers NBA Champions
1981 Houston Rockets Lost in 1st Round
1980 Philadelphia 76ers Lost in Conf. Finals