By JERRY TAPP
The Toronto Raptors are the fifth NBA team since 2000 to make their NBA Finals debut; the Indiana Pacers played in the NBA Finals for the first time in 2000, the New Jersey Nets were a first-time NBA Finals team in 2002, the Miami Heat made their NBA Finals debut in 2006 and the Cleveland Cavs made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007.
Of the four teams that made their debuts in the NBA Finals since 2000, only the Miami Heat in 2006 won the title that year.
Going back to the NBA first championship in 1947, there have been 26 teams that have played in the NBA Finals. Of those 26, only 10 won the title in their debut in the Finals. Of those 26, three of those franchises eventually folded: the Chicago Stags, Baltimore Bullets and Washington Capitals.
Of the 30 current NBA franchises, 24 franchises (including this year’s first-timer Toronto) have played in the NBA Finals. The six franchises that have not played in the NBA Finals are: the L.A. Clippers, Charlotte, Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans and Memphis.
Following are the 10 NBA franchises that won the championship in their NBA Finals debut. Will Toronto become the 11th?
Warriors-1947 (Currently the Golden State Warriors)
Baltimore Bullets-1948 (franchise no longer in existence)
Minneapolis Lakers-1949 (currently the L.A. Lakers)
Rochester Royals-1951 (currently the Sacramento Kings)
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