Midwest Division (NBA)

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Midwest Division
Conference Western Conference
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Inaugural season 1970–71 season
Ceased 2003–04 season
Most titles (11 titles)

The Midwest Division was a division in the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The division was created at the start of the 1970–71 season, when the league expanded from 14 to 17 teams with the addition of the Buffalo Braves, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The league realigned itself into two conferences, the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference, with two divisions each in each conference. The Midwest Division began with four inaugural members, the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns.[1] The Bulls and the Suns joined from the Western Division, while the Pistons and the Bucks joined from the Eastern Division.

The division was disbanded when the league expanded from 29 to 30 teams with the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats at the start of the 2004–05 season. The league realigned itself into two conference with three divisions each. The Midwest Division was replaced with two new divisions, the Southwest Division and the Northwest Division. The 2003–04 season, the division's last-ever season, consisted of seven teams, the Dallas Mavericks, the Denver Nuggets, the Houston Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the San Antonio Spurs and the Utah Jazz. The Mavericks, the Rockets, the Grizzlies and the Spurs joined the Southwest Division, while the Nuggets, the Timberwolves and the Jazz joined the Northwest Division.[2]

The San Antonio Spurs won the most Midwest Division titles with eleven. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz won the second most titles with six. However, the Bucks won those six titles in only ten seasons before they left the division. The 34th and last division champion was the Minnesota Timberwolves. Seven division champions had or tied for the best regular season record during the season. Five NBA champions came from the Midwest Division. The Spurs and the Houston Rockets won two championships each, while the Bucks won one championship. All of them, except the 1994–95 Rockets, were division champions. The Midwest Division twice had six teams qualified for the playoffs. In the 1985–86 season, all six teams from the division qualified for the playoffs, while in the 2003–04 season, six of seven teams qualified for the playoffs. In the division's first and last ever season, all teams in the division had winning percentages above 0.500 (50%).

Despite the name, the Midwest Division also included several teams who were located far outside the Midwest. The Sacramento Kings and the Vancouver Grizzlies were located in the West Coast, while the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic were located in the Southeast. The Denver Nuggets played 28 seasons in the Midwest Division, longer than any other team. Three teams, the Heat, the Magic and the Charlotte Hornets, only played one season each in the division. None of the four inaugural members remained when the division was disbanded in 2004.

Today, the Central Division can be considered the league's Midwestern-based division, with four former members of the Midwest Division.

Teams[edit]

Team City Year From Year To Current division
Joined Left
Charlotte Hornets (19882002; 2004–present, formerly Charlotte Bobcats) Charlotte, North Carolina 1989 Atlantic Division 1990 Central Division Southeast Division
Chicago Bulls Chicago, Illinois 1970 Western Division 1980 Central Division Central Division
Dallas Mavericks Dallas, Texas 1980 dagger 2004 Southwest Division Southwest Division
Denver Nuggets Denver, Colorado 1976 ABAdouble-dagger 2004 Northwest Division Northwest Division
Detroit Pistons Detroit, Michigan 1970 Eastern Division 1978 Central Division Central Division
Houston Rockets Houston, Texas 1980 Central Division 2004 Southwest Division Southwest Division
Indiana Pacers Indianapolis, Indiana 1976 ABAdouble-dagger 1979 Central Division Central Division
Memphis Grizzlies (2001–present)
Vancouver Grizzlies (19952001)
Memphis, Tennessee
Vancouver, British Columbia
1995 dagger 2004 Southwest Division Southwest Division
Miami Heat Miami, Florida 1988 dagger 1989 Atlantic Division Southeast Division
Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1970 Eastern Division 1980 Central Division Central Division
Minnesota Timberwolves Minneapolis, Minnesota 1989 dagger 2004 Northwest Division Northwest Division
Orlando Magic Orlando, Florida 1990 Central Division 1991 Atlantic Division Southeast Division
Phoenix Suns Phoenix, Arizona 1970 Western Division 1972 Pacific Division Pacific Division
Sacramento Kings (1985–present)
Kansas City Kings (19751985)
Kansas City-Omaha Kings (19721975)
Sacramento, California
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska
1972 Central Division
(as Cincinnati Royals)
1988 Pacific Division Pacific Division
San Antonio Spurs San Antonio, Texas 1980 Central Division 2004 Southwest Division Southwest Division
Utah Jazz Salt Lake City, Utah 1979 Central Division
(as New Orleans Jazz)
2004 Northwest Division Northwest Division
Notes

Team timeline[edit]

Memphis Grizzlies Orlando Magic Minnesota Timberwolves Charlotte Hornets Miami Heat San Antonio Spurs Houston Rockets Dallas Mavericks Utah Jazz Indiana Pacers Denver Nuggets Sacramento Kings Phoenix Suns Milwaukee Bucks Detroit Pistons Chicago Bulls

Division champions[edit]

^ Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season
Season Team Record Playoffs result
1970–71 Milwaukee Bucks^ 66–16 (.805) Won NBA Finals
1971–72 Milwaukee Bucks 63–19 (.768) Lost Conference Finals
1972–73 Milwaukee Bucks 60–22 (.732) Lost Conference Semifinals
1973–74 Milwaukee Bucks^ 59–23 (.720) Lost NBA Finals
1974–75 Chicago Bulls 47–35 (.573) Lost Conference Finals
1975–76 Milwaukee Bucks 38–44 (.463) Lost First Round
1976–77 Denver Nuggets 50–32 (.610) Lost Conference Semifinals
1977–78 Denver Nuggets 48–34 (.585) Lost Conference Finals
1978–79 Kansas City Kings 48–34 (.585) Lost Conference Semifinals
1979–80 Milwaukee Bucks 49–33 (.598) Lost Conference Semifinals
1980–81 San Antonio Spurs 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Semifinals
1981–82 San Antonio Spurs 48–34 (.585) Lost Conference Finals
1982–83 San Antonio Spurs 53–29 (.646) Lost Conference Finals
1983–84 Utah Jazz 45–37 (.549) Lost Conference Semifinals
1984–85 Denver Nuggets 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Finals
1985–86 Houston Rockets 51–31 (.622) Lost NBA Finals
1986–87 Dallas Mavericks 55–27 (.671) Lost First Round
1987–88 Denver Nuggets 54–28 (.659) Lost Conference Semifinals
1988–89 Utah Jazz 51–31 (.622) Lost First Round
1989–90 San Antonio Spurs 56–26 (.683) Lost Conference Semifinals
1990–91 San Antonio Spurs 55–27 (.671) Lost First Round
1991–92 Utah Jazz 55–27 (.671) Lost Conference Finals
1992–93 Houston Rockets 55–27 (.671) Lost Conference Semifinals
1993–94 Houston Rockets 58–24 (.707) Won NBA Finals
1994–95 San Antonio Spurs^ 62–20 (.756) Lost Conference Finals
1995–96 San Antonio Spurs 59–23 (.720) Lost Conference Semifinals
1996–97 Utah Jazz 64–18 (.780) Lost NBA Finals
1997–98 Utah Jazz^ 62–20 (.756) Lost NBA Finals
1998–99[a] San Antonio Spurs^ 37–13 (.740) Won NBA Finals
1999–00 Utah Jazz 55–27 (.671) Lost Conference Semifinals
2000–01 San Antonio Spurs^ 58–24 (.707) Lost Conference Finals
2001–02 San Antonio Spurs 58–24 (.707) Lost Conference Semifinals
2002–03 San Antonio Spurs^ 60–22 (.732) Won NBA Finals
2003–04 Minnesota Timberwolves 58–24 (.707) Lost Conference Finals

Titles by team[edit]

Team Titles Season(s) won
San Antonio Spurs 11 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2000–01, 2001–02,
2002–03
Milwaukee Bucks 6 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1975–76, 1979–80
Utah Jazz 6 1983–84, 1988–89, 1991–92, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1999–00
Denver Nuggets 4 1976–77, 1977–78, 1984–85, 1987–88
Houston Rockets 3 1985–86, 1992–93, 1993–94
Chicago Bulls 1 1974–75
Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento Kings) 1 1978–79
Dallas Mavericks 1 1986–87
Minnesota Timberwolves 1 2003–04

Season results[edit]

^ Denotes team that won the NBA championships
+ Denotes team that won the Conference Finals, but lost the NBA Finals
* Denotes team that qualified for the NBA Playoffs
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
1970–71 Milwaukee^ (66–16) Chicago* (51–31) Phoenix (48–34) Detroit (45–37)
1971–72 Milwaukee* (63–19) Chicago* (57–25) Phoenix (49–33) Detroit (26–56)
1972–73 Milwaukee* (60–22) Chicago* (51–31) Detroit (40–42) Kansas City-Omaha (36–46)
1973–74 Milwaukee+ (59–23) Chicago* (54–28) Detroit* (52–30) Kansas City-Omaha (33–49)
1974–75 Chicago* (47–35) Detroit* (44–38) Kansas City-Omaha* (40–42) Milwaukee (38–44)
1975–76 Milwaukee* (38–44) Detroit* (36–46) Kansas City (31–51) Chicago (24–58)
1976–77 Denver (50–32)* Detroit* (44–38) Chicago* (44–38) Kansas City (40–42) Indiana (36–46) Milwaukee (30–52)
1977–78 Denver* (48–34) Milwaukee* (44–38) Chicago (40–42) Detroit (38–44) Kansas City (31–51) Indiana (31–51)
1978–79 Kansas City* (48–34) Denver* (47–35) Milwaukee (38–44) Indiana (38–44) Chicago (31–51)
1979–80 Milwaukee* (49–33) Kansas City* (47–35) Denver (30–52) Chicago (30–52) Utah (24–58)
1980–81 San Antonio* (52–30) Kansas City* (40–42) Houston+ (40–42) Denver (37–45) Utah (28–54) Dallas (15–67)
1981–82 San Antonio* (48–34) Denver* (46–36) Houston* (46–36) Kansas City (30–52) Dallas (28–54) Utah (25–57)
1982–83 San Antonio* (53–29) Denver* (45–37) Kansas City (45–37) Dallas (38–44) Utah (30–52) Houston (14–68)
1983–84 Utah* (45–37) Dallas* (43–39) Denver* (38–44) Kansas City* (38–44) San Antonio (37–45) Houston (29–53)
1984–85 Denver* (52–30) Houston* (48–34) Dallas* (44–38) Utah* (41–41) San Antonio* (41–41) Kansas City (31–51)
1985–86 Houston+ (51–31) Denver* (47–35) Dallas* (44–38) Utah* (42–40) Sacramento* (37–45) San Antonio* (35–47)
1986–87 Dallas* (55–27) Utah* (44–38) Houston* (42–40) Denver* (37–45) Sacramento (29–53) San Antonio (28–54)
1987–88 Denver* (54–28) Dallas* (53–29) Utah* (47–35) Houston* (46–36) San Antonio* (31–51) Sacramento (24–58)
1988–89 Utah* (51–31) Houston* (45–37) Denver* (44–38) Dallas (38–44) San Antonio (21–61) Miami (15–67)
1989–90 San Antonio* (56–26) Utah* (55–27) Dallas* (47–35) Denver* (43–39) Houston* (41–41) Minnesota (22–60) Charlotte (19–63)
1990–91 San Antonio* (55–27) Utah* (54–28) Houston* (52–30) Orlando (31–51) Minnesota (29–53) Dallas (28–54) Denver (20–62)
1991–92 Utah* (55–27) San Antonio* (47–35) Houston (42–40) Denver (24–58) Dallas (22–60) Minnesota (15–67)
1992–93 Houston* (55–27) San Antonio* (49–33) Utah* (47–35) Denver (36–46) Minnesota (19–63) Dallas (11–71)
1993–94 Houston^ (58–24) San Antonio* (55–27) Utah* (53–29) Denver* (42–40) Minnesota (20–62) Dallas (13–69)
1994–95 San Antonio* (62–20) Utah* (60–22) Houston^ (47–35) Denver* (41–41) Dallas (36–46) Minnesota (21–61)
1995–96 San Antonio* (59–23) Utah* (55–27) Houston* (48–34) Denver (35–47) Minnesota (26–56) Dallas (26–56) Vancouver (15–67)
1996–97 Utah+ (64–18) Houston* (57–25) Minnesota* (40–42) Dallas (24–58) Denver (21–61) San Antonio (20–62) Vancouver (14–68)
1997–98 Utah+ (62–20) San Antonio* (56–26) Minnesota* (45–37) Houston* (41–41) Dallas (20–62) Vancouver (19–63) Denver (11–71)
1998–99[a] San Antonio^ (37–13) Utah* (37–13) Houston* (31–19) Dallas* (27–23) Minnesota (25–25) Denver (14–36) Vancouver (8–42)
1999–00 Utah* (55–27) San Antonio* (53–29) Minnesota* (50–32) Dallas* (47–35) Denver (35–47) Houston (34–48) Vancouver (22–60)
2000–01 San Antonio* (58–24) Utah* (53–29) Dallas* (53–29) Minnesota* (47–35) Houston (45–37) Denver (40–42) Vancouver (23–59)
2001–02 San Antonio* (58–24) Dallas* (57–25) Minnesota* (50–32) Utah* (44–38) Houston (28–54) Denver (27–55) Memphis (23–59)
2002–03 San Antonio^ (60–22) Dallas* (60–22) Minnesota* (51–31) Utah* (47–35) Houston (43–39) Memphis (28–54) Denver (17–65)
2003–04 Minnesota* (58–24) San Antonio* (57–25) Dallas* (52–30) Memphis* (50–32) Houston* (45–37) Denver (43–39)* Utah (42–40)

Rivalries[edit]

Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs[edit]

Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • a 1 2 Because of a lockout, the season did not start until February 5, 1999, and all 29 teams played a shortened 50-game regular season schedule.[3]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "1970–71 Season Overview: Kareem Rules the League". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Expansion Bobcats prompt change". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. November 17, 2003. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Donovan, John (February 4, 1999). "Let the semi-season begin: Expect injuries, intensity and a new champion in '99". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 

External links[edit]