NBA playoffs: List of longest current postseason droughts

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With the NBA playoffs tipping off on Saturday, a fresh batch of teams are set to embark on their quest to win a championship. Included are some mainstays while there are a few recent newcomers also in the mix this year.

By clinching the No. 2 seed this year, the Boston Celtics extended their consecutive playoff run to eight seasons, which is the longest active streak in the NBA. Behind the Celtics are the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz (six) while the Philadelphia 76ers are next at five seasons.

Meanwhile, a few teams snapped some postseason droughts.

Of course, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in tournament to claim the seventh seed. With the win, the Timberwolves qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2018. It is just their second appearance since the 2003-04 season.

The New Orleans Pelicans snapped their three-season playoff drought on Friday by defeating the Clippers to secure the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat L.A. on the road.

With Minnesota and New Orleans back in the playoffs, Rookie Wire took a look at the longest current postseason droughts in the NBA.

San Antonio Spurs: 3 seasons

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The loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament ensured the Spurs would miss the playoffs for the third straight year, their longest drought in franchise history.

The last time the Spurs made it was during the 2018-19 season, their 22nd straight year in the playoffs. Of course, that is tied for the NBA record for the longest streak ever.

Detroit Pistons: 3 seasons

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The Pistons last made the playoffs during the 2018-19 season when they were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. The team has since gone all-in on building toward the future and looks to have a strong foundation in place. With Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and others in the mix, the Pistons could be snapping this streak in the near future.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 4 seasons

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Cleveland appeared to be on the verge of snapping its postseason drought but fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the closing minutes on Friday in the play-in tournament. The Cavaliers have now missed the playoffs in four straight seasons after last making it 2018 with LeBron James. Cleveland hasn’t made the playoffs without James since 1998.

Charlotte Hornets: 6 seasons

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Charlotte lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament to extend their postseason drought to six seasons, despite finishing with a winning record (43-39). They last made it during the 2015-16 season when they lost in seven games to the Miami Heat. Coincidentally, that was the last time they had a winning record (48-34).

Sacramento Kings: 16 seasons

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When the Kings were eliminated from playoff contention on April 3, the team made history. But, as you would probably guess, it wasn’t the good kind of history as the loss ensured the Kings would miss the playoffs for the 16th straight season.

Sacramento last qualified for the playoffs during the 2005-06 season when they were bounced in the first round in six games by the San Antonio Spurs. That season was also the last time the team posted a winning record after finishing 44-38.

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