Skip to main content

NBA Season Triangle

Visualizing paths through NBA seasons.

After taking a bird's eye view of NBA team histories in a previous article, I wanted to dive deeper into the unique paths of individual seasons. Two teams can end a season 41-41, but arrive there in very different ways. To help visualize these season paths, I created the NBA Season Triangle. In basketball's history, the triangle holds a lofty place, and I hope this graph is a fun way to explore that history. Scroll below to learn more!

On the Season Triangle, the y-axis shows a team's number of wins and the x-axis shows a team's number of losses.

Each gray square is the location of a unique, regular season Win - Loss record.

In the NBA, a perfect season would end up 82-0. The season path of perfection would take no detours, starting at 0-0, going all the way up the green line to the top left.

Although no team has had a perfect regular season, the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors came shockingly close, finishing at 73-9.

The most "average" record in a full NBA season is 41-41. If a team alternated wins and losses every single game, they'd travel along this yellow staircase of mediocrity.

Many teams over many years have ended up at 41-41. The team which most nearly walked the staircase of mediocrity, however, was the 1989-90 Seattle Supersonics (RIP).

And lastly, the worst possible outcome for a season would be an unthinkable 0-82. With no interruptions, this rough streak would follow the red line to its very end.

Sadly, the worst record in NBA history belongs to the 76ers. The intentionally bad "Process" teams of the 2010s, however, failed to claim it. Instead, Philly's "Nine and 73-ers" team of 1972-73 holds the record. They bottomed out at, you guessed it, 9-73.

Every Season Path

Using the Season Triangle graph, I plotted every season path of every NBA team. Below, you can type in your favorite team, click on each decade, and hover over the lines to see the particular win-loss records. For some of the most legendary decades, check out the 1980s Boston Celtics, 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, 1990s Chicago Bulls and 2000s San Antonio Spurs.