Most accomplished NBA franchises: Measuring success with Auerbach Arithmetic
We could've come up with a completely subjective list ranking NBA franchises in order of how successful we deemed them to be. Instead, we came up with some math to do the rankings for us.
In ranking the organizations in order of how accomplished they've been over their lifespans, we used a nifty points system to reward teams for special feats while punishing them for causing their fans to suffer. The structure is as follows: 10 points for every championship
5 points for a conference title
4 points for every 60-win season
3 points for every 50-win season
3 points for every Hall of Famer that played for or coached the team
1 point for every retired jersey number
-1 point for every five-year stretch of missing the postseason
-1 point for every season with less than 30 wins
-2 points for every season with less than 20 wins
In the case of the present-day Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans, we went with the NBA's official decision to restore all Charlotte NBA history to the current franchise.
We also included all Seattle Sonics achievements in the Oklahoma City Thunder's computations, and included ABA championships.
As you probably guessed, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers reign supreme over the rest of the NBA by quite the margin. But you'll be surprised by some other teams at the top of the class.
Clearly, the ages of franchises come into play, and the newer organizations haven't had the time to accrue as high point totals as the classic teams -- some even come in at totals in the negatives. The ones that have been mostly unsuccessful in those years make matters even worse, resulting in negative scores. These numbers do not reflect this current season.