The Oklahoman identified 18 NBA teams that made the playoffs with its core players void of post-season experience. Of those 18, six won first-round series, but only two advanced to the conference finals:
→1977 Portland: Blazers won the NBA title. Their top four scorers were Maurice Lucas, 25; Bill Walton, 24; and Lionel Hollins and Bob Gross, both 23. One exclusion — Lucas played in 20 ABA playoff games before joining the Blazers. →1976 Cleveland: Cavs beat Bullets in their first playoff appearance, then lost to Boston in Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland’s top three scorers — Jim Chones, Campy Russell and Bingo Smith — had played for no other NBA teams. But Chones also came over from the ABA.
Paying duesThe Oklahoman identified 18 NBA teams that made the playoffs with its prime players void of postseason experience. The relevant numbers for those 18 teams: 4 Times swept in the first round. 6 First-round series wins. 14 Teams that made the playoffs the next season. 2 Teams that made the NBA Finals the next season (1986 Rockets, 1995 Magic). 0 Teams that won the NBA title the next season.