NBA's Biggest Turnarounds
<i>2006-07</i>: 24-58 <br><i>2007-08</i>: 66-16 (42 more wins)<br><br>After losing out in the draft lottery for a chance to select Greg Oden or Kevin Durant (despite having had the second-most Ping Pong balls), Boston fans were cursing their rotten luck again. But in separate blockbuster trades, Danny Ainge acquired Ray Allen (Sonics) and Kevin Garnett (Timberwolves) to pair with holdover star Paul Pierce. The Celtics went on to obliterate the NBA record for the biggest turnaround single-season turnaround -- and win the franchise's 17th championship.
San Antonio Spurs
<i>1996-97</i>: 20-62 <br><i>1997-98</i>: 56-26 (36 more wins)<br><br>The return of David Robinson, who had missed all but six games the previous season with an injury, coupled with No. 1 overall pick Tim Duncan, left, vaulted the Spurs back to the top of the NBA.
San Antonio Spurs
<i>1988-89</i>: 21-61 <br><i>1989-90</i>: 56-26 (35 more wins)<br><br>After waiting two years to fulfill his military duties with the Navy, David Robinson finally came aboard. The 7-foot Admiral's arrival, along with that of Terry Cummings, propelled Larry Brown's squad to the then-biggest turnaround in NBA history.
<i>2003-04</i>: 29-53 <br><i>2004-05</i>: 62-20 (33 more wins)<br><br>The arrival of free agent point guard Steve Nash (Mavs), along with rising stars Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, as well as coach Mike D'Antoni's revolutionary offense, enabled the Suns to rise up from the ashes like, well, a Phoenix.
<i>1978-79</i>: 29-53 <br><i>1979-80</i>: 61-21 (32 more wins)<br><br>Patience paid off for GM Red Auerbach, who had drafted Larry Bird out of Indiana State a year earlier via a technicality no longer allowed by league rules. Bird, the eventual Rookie of the Year, joined with Dave Cowens, Cedric Maxwell, Tiny Archibald and Chris Ford to lead Boston to the Eastern Conference finals.
<i>1968-69</i>: 27-55 <br><i>1969-70</i>: 56-26 (29 more wins)<br><br>After winning a coin flip with the Suns for the No. 1 pick, the Bucks drafted Lew Alcindor. The 7-foot UCLA star would go on to win Rookie of the Year while joining with Bob Dandrige and Flynn Robinson to lead Milwaukee to the Eastern Conference finals.
<i>1987-88</i>: 28-54 <br><i>1988-89</i>: 55-27 (27 more wins)<br><br>Following their worst season since the '68-69 expansion year, GM/coach Cotton Fitzsimmons signed free agent Tom Chambers (Sonics), left, and acquired Kevin Johnson (Cavs), right, in a trade for Larry Nance. They joined with Eddie Johnson, Armon Gilliam, Jeff Hornacek and rookie Dan Majerle to spur a revival that carried Phoenix all the way to the Western finals.
<i>2002-03</i>:17-65 <br><i>2003-04</i>: 43-39 (26 more wins)<br><br>Despite finishing tied with Cleveland for the worst record in '02-03, the Nuggets slipped to third in the draft lottery. But thanks to Detroit's selection of Darko Milicic with the second pick (after the Cavs had taken LeBron James), Denver wound up with Carmelo Anthony. The Syracuse phenom teamed with free agent signee Andre Miller (Clippers) and Marcus Camby to help Denver end an eight-year playoff drought.
New Jersey Nets
<i>2000-01</i>: 26-56 <br><i>2001-02</i>: 52-30 (26 more wins)<br><br>For the second time in his career, Jason Kidd engineered an incredible turnaround. Kidd (acquired in a trade with the Suns for Stephon Marbury) joined with second-year forward Kenyon Martin and rookie forward Richard Jefferson to form a devastating fast-break attack that carried the long-suffering Nets to the first of two consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
<i>1995-96</i>: 72-10 <br><i>1994-95</i>: 47-35 (25 more wins)<br><br>Michael Jordan, in his first full season back from retirement, joined with Scottie Pippen and newly-acquired Dennis Rodman (whom GM Jerry Krause had stolen in an October trade with the Spurs for Will Perdue) to create a team for the ages. The Bulls went on to shatter the NBA record for best single season ever and claimed the fourth of their six NBA titles in the `90s.
<i>1990-91</i>: 33-49 <br><i>1991-92</i>: 57-25 (24 more wins)<br><br>Cleveland's steady climb to Eastern Conference contender took a detour in '90-91 when Mark Price, left, went down with a torn ACL. Price's return to health the following season, along with the contributions of Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Terrell Brandon, put the Cavs right back in the race before running into Michael Jordan's Bulls (again) in the playoffs.