The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

NBA team with the all-time best winning percentage? Hint: It’s not the Lakers anymore.

Despite the efforts of Nick Young and Co., the Lakers are still No. 1 all-time in winning percentage if ABA results are included. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

The Lakers are having a terrible season, one so bad that it’s not only pushed them toward the bottom of this season’s standings, but it has also moved them down a notch on a historic list. Recently, the team dropped to No. 2 on the list of NBA franchises with the best all-time winning percentages.

The new No. 1 squad? That would be your defending champions: the Spurs. Long one of the league’s most consistent playoff participants, the Spurs’ run of 15 straight 50-win seasons — with a solid shot at making it 16 this season — has given it an all-time winning percentage of .614, compared to the Lakers’ mark of .610.

The change at the top actually occurred a couple of weeks ago, but it was brought to light recently by the San Antonio Express-News. The caveat, and it’s a significant one, is that the Spurs’ nine seasons in the ABA are not being counted toward this number, so if you add those back in, they return to No. 2, at .594.

The Lakers’ winning ways go back to 1948, when the team originated in Minneapolis and was a member of the BAA, the NBA’s forerunner. They won the league’s championship that season, the first of 16, which puts them second on that list to the Celtics’ 17 titles.

The Spurs are up to five championships now, putting them just behind the third-place Bulls (six). Four teams — the 76ers, Heat, Pistons and Warriors — are tied for fifth with three NBA titles (the Pacers won three in the ABA).

On the the list of winning percentages, the top five is rounded out by the Celtics (.588), Suns (.552) and Thunder (.536). The Clippers, despite some recent success, remain at the bottom, at .387.

Top five all-time winning percentages in the other major sports leagues:

NFL — Cowboys (.575), Bears (.574), Packers (.567), Dolphins (.565), 49ers (.557)

MLB — Yankees (.569), Giants (.538), Dodgers (.525), Cardinals (.519), Red Sox (.517)

NHL (through Monday’s games) — Canadiens (.590), Flyers (.577), Bruins (.557), Sabres (.543), Predators (.541)

(H/T Fox Sports, Basketball ReferencePro Football Reference, Baseball Reference, Hockey Reference)

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