Comparing the Warriors' three-year run to other great NBA dynasties

With their Game 5 win over the Cavaliers on Monday night, the Warriors completed their second NBA title run in three years, in their third straight trip to the NBA Finals.

Many will debate whether the 2016-17 Warriors are the best NBA team of all time, but let's not forget their previous two years weren't too shabby either. Now the question becomes, is this the greatest multiyear run of any team in NBA history?

In order to decide, let's take a look at some of the previous NBA dynasties. These are all the teams in NBA history that have made at least three consecutive Finals appearances and won at least two. So even though the Spurs have had sustained success, they won't appear on this list because they never went to three straight Finals. Got it?

Let's see how these recent Warriors teams stack up to the historical heavyweights.

Minneapolis Lakers (1952-1954)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 3
  • Regular season record: 134-74 (.644)
  • Postseason record: 24-11 (.686)
  • Hall of Fame players: George Mikan, Slater Martin, Clyde Lovellette, Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard
  • Coach: John Kundla

The case for: Led by Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers were the first team in NBA history to win three straight titles. You have to get some credit for being the first to do something, right? The team was also loaded with five Hall of Famers.

The case against: Basketball was just taking the national stage, and there were only 10 teams in the league during their run. On top of that, their winning percentages are on the low end of the teams on this list. Hats off to the guys who started it all, though.

Boston Celtics (1957-1966)

  • Seasons: 10
  • Championships: 9
  • Regular season record: 554-216 (.719)
  • Postseason record: 80-41 (.661)
  • Hall of Fame players: Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Bill Sharman, Clyde Lovellette, Andy Phillip, Arnie Risen
  • Coach: Red Auerbach

The case for: Um, nine championships in 10 years. Eleven Hall of Famers. Nuff said.

The case against: The league was still small -- only eight teams at the beginning of the run in 1957 and nine at the conclusion of the run in 1966 -- and the percentages are on the low end. But that will happen when you're taking data from 10 years instead of three or four.

Los Angeles Lakers (1982-85)

  • Seasons: 4
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 231-97 (.704)
  • Postseason record: 49-20 (.710)
  • Hall of Fame players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes 
  • Coach: Pat Riley

The case for: Kareem and Magic are top-10 all-time players, and the playoff dominance puts them in the running for best ever.

The case against: Only winning two in four years hurts the Lakers, as they continued to run into those pesky 76ers and Celtics.

Boston Celtics (1984-87)

  • Seasons: 4
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 251-77 (.765)
  • Postseason record: 56-29 (.659)
  • Hall of Fame players: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish, Bill Walton
  • Coach: K.C. Jones

The case for: These teams absolutely dominated the regular season, and were stacked with five Hall of Famers, despite the fact that Walton was on his last legs. The 1986 team is in contention for the best of all time.

The case against: The winning percentage in the playoffs wasn't great -- the result of continually going up against loaded Lakers teams.

Los Angeles Lakers (1987-89)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 186-60 (.756)
  • Postseason record: 41-16 (.719)
  • Hall of Fame players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy
  • Coach: Pat Riley

The case for: The "Showtime" Lakers thoroughly dominated the regular season and playoffs, and entertained while doing it.

The case against: L.A. was undefeated in the playoffs heading into the Finals in 1989, but were swept by the Pistons. If this group could have won that series to make it three straight, they'd have a much better case.

Detroit Pistons (1988-90)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 176-70 (.715)
  • Postseason record: 44-16 (.733)
  • Hall of Fame players: Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley
  • Coach: Chuck Daly

The case for: These teams probably didn't come to mind when thinking of NBA dynasties, but the "Bad Boy" Pistons were no joke. Their postseason record over their three straight Finals appearances is one of the best in NBA history.

The case against: A lack of true star power outside of Isiah, this team hasn't been remembered the way some others on this list have. When we're talking about legacy, the way a team sticks in fans' minds matters.

Chicago Bulls (1991-93)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 3
  • Regular season record: 185-61 (.752)
  • Postseason record: 45-13 (.776)
  • Hall of Fame players: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen
  • Coach: Phil Jackson

The case for: The years when M.J. officially took over the NBA -- the .776 winning percentage is tied for the best on the list.

The case against: Outside of Jordan and Pippen, they didn't have any true stars. Their regular-season winning percentage is also low to be considered the greatest run ever.

Chicago Bulls (1996-98)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 3
  • Regular season record: 203-43 (.825)
  • Postseason record: 45-13 (.776)
  • Hall of Fame players: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Robert Parish
  • Coach: Phil Jackson

The case for: This run could be the best of all time. A ridiculous .825 regular season winning percentage combined with a 45-13 postseason record spells pure dominance. Most probably forgot the aging Parish was on the team, but adding Rodman as a third Hall of Famer to Jordan and Pippen helps these teams stand out.

The case against: Really not much. The Warriors have put up a better regular-season winning percentage during their run, but that's about it. Also, had Jordan not retired in 1998 this run could have been extended even longer, so there's a bit of disappointment that seeps in.

Los Angeles Lakers (2000-02)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 3
  • Regular season record: 181-65 (.736)
  • Postseason record: 45-13 (.776)
  • Hall of Fame players: Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant (not inducted yet)
  • Coach: Phil Jackson

The case for: The postseason dominance was evident, as Shaq and Kobe became one of the most formidable duos in NBA history. There was nobody in the East to contend with Shaq, but the teams were tested by worthy West rivals like the Trail Blazers and Kings.

The case against: For such talented teams, they certainly cruised during the regular season. There was no question as to whether they were the best team in the league during this run, but the regular-season numbers make it hard to call them the best ever.

Los Angeles Lakers (2008-10)

  • Seasons: 3
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 179-67 (.728)
  • Postseason record: 46-21 (.687)
  • Potential Hall of Fame players: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol
  • Coach: Phil Jackson

The case for: Yeah, there's not much here. Not truly dominant teams despite their two titles. Kobe's first post-Shaq titles probably count for something in terms of legacy.

The case against: The numbers speak for themselves. This wasn't a truly dominant run.

Miami Heat (2011-14)

  • Seasons: 4
  • Championships: 2
  • Regular season record: 224-88 (.718)
  • Postseason record: 59-28 (.678)
  • Potential Hall of Fame players: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen
  • Coach: Erik Spoelstra

The case for: The first long run for a "superteam," this team was stacked with three future Hall of Famers in their absolute primes, and Allen produced one of the most memorable shots in NBA history in 2013.

The case against: Despite the star power, the numbers just aren't there. As crazy as it sounds, these teams winning two titles in four years will actually go down as a disappointment.

Golden State Warriors (2015-17)

The case for: The regular-season mark (which includes a record 73 wins in 2015-16) is the best three-year run in NBA history, and they've finished the job two of three times. They have two of the league's top five players -- in their primes. Aesthetically, they probably rival the Showtime Lakers as the most fun to watch.

The case against: It's all LeBron's fault. Had the Warriors not lost to the Cavs in 2016, or if they had pulled off a perfect 16-0 postseason in 2017, there wouldn't be much of a debate. But with only two titles instead of three, some of the "three-peat" teams (and the nine out of 10 Celtics team) could be considered slightly more qualified.

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