The concept of the generational curse is becoming more well-known in the vernacular. Trauma has roots in genetics, and thanks to how humans reproduce, parents pass down certain characteristics to their offspring. As a result, these offspring are vulnerable to continuing the cycle of their ancestors' behavior. But does the same phenomenon happen in the NBA? Do NBA franchises have their own version of the generational curse — specifically those that have never made the NBA Finals in their many years of existence?

At the very least, the Denver Nuggets have broken theirs. After 47 years, the Nuggets have finally made it to the grandest stage in the NBA. As is the case in the NBA, the Nuggets, in addition to their front office's smart decision-making over the past few years, were lucky as well. After all, they drafted Nikola Jokic, who is inarguably already one of the greatest players in NBA history, with the 41st overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.

But other franchises aren't quite as lucky. Thanks to years of mismanagement, inept roster-building, and the poor culture that has come as a result, there remains a few teams in the NBA that haven't made it to the NBA Finals yet.

That is quite the feat; given the way the NBA is structured, bad teams are rewarded with a chance to draft a transformative player. Failing to take advantage of that is quite the marvel.

Here are the five NBA franchises who are still dreaming of achieving what the Nuggets have accomplished — getting over the Conference Finals hump.

Teams that have never made the NBA Finals

Los Angeles Clippers (0 NBA Finals appearances in 53 years)

Has there been a more unlucky franchise in NBA history than the Clippers?

Having entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, the Clippers team, which was then called the Buffalo Braves, did not have immediate success. They posted a 26.4 percent win rate in their first three seasons before emerging as a low-level playoff team in the mid-1970s, thanks in large part to the emergence of superstar Bob McAdoo. They made it to the second round for three consecutive seasons before plummeting down the NBA's totem pole once more.

And then Donald Sterling came in and bought the franchise in 1981 after it had already moved to San Diego and rebranded as the Clippers. Sterling proclaimed that he would do whatever it takes to build the Clippers into a contender. But we all know how that turned out — the Clippers became the laughingstock of the league, making the playoffs just four times under Sterling's watch prior to the arrival of Point God Chris Paul in 2011.

Paul's arrival transformed the Clippers; even with Sterling's less-than-stellar leadership, the Clippers have become one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league thanks to the emergence of Lob City.

And then in 2014, Donald Sterling found himself in the middle of controversy; after making racist statements caught on tape, the NBA banned Sterling from any form of involvement in the NBA. Steve Ballmer then stepped up to buy the franchise, giving the Clippers some much needed stability behind the scenes.

However, the Clippers simply couldn't shake off the franchise's curse. It seems like in every postseason run, they run into injury woes. In 2016 and 2017, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul's injuries derailed their hopes. In 2021 and 2023, Kawhi Leonard's knee injuries prevented the Clippers from reaching their ceiling. And during the years where they were healthy, they choked.

The Clippers franchise has been around for 53 years — following the Nuggets' 2023 NBA Finals appearance, they now hold the ignominious distinction of having the longest existence in the league without an appearance in the grandest stage.

Minnesota Timberwolves (34 years)

It's not like the Timberwolves have lacked opportunities to make some noise in the playoffs in the past. Led by Kevin Garnett, one of the five-best players in the league at his peak, the Timberwolves were always among the sturdiest teams in the Western Conference.

In fact, the Timberwolves have come close to making the NBA Finals in the past. In 2004, the Timberwolves made it all the way to the Conference Finals — 17 years before the Clippers made it to their first — only for them to run into the Los Angeles Lakers, which had four Hall of Famers in their starting lineup during that time.

However, the Timberwolvcs couldn't capitalize on that near miss. Instead, the Timberwolves felt like they had to trade away Kevin Garnett in 2007, effectively dooming the team to years of rebuild. They proceeded to miss the playoffs in 13 straight seasons since 2005, until Jimmy Butler's arrival meant that they could sneak in as the eight-seed in 2018.

The Timberwolves, thanks to Anthony Edwards, now have a bright future ahead of them — perhaps even an NBA Finals appearance in their future. If only they had remained patient and kept their draft picks instead of trading them all away for Rudy Gobert.

Charlotte Hornets (33 years)

The Hornets arrived in the NBA in 1988 (although they were essentially defunct for two years before they were resurrected as the mighty Bobcats in 2004), and here they are, joining the ignoble list of teams that haven't yet appeared in an NBA Finals. Like the Timberwolves, the Hornets have had stints of solid playoff contention.

In the 1990s, the Hornets were more than just their funky color scheme; they were a complete basketball team, with a heady floor general, solid marksmen on the wings, and two of the brightest big men in the league in Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Alas, that didn't quite translate to as deep of a playoff run as they would have liked. In fact, the Hornets are just one of two teams in the NBA that haven't even made the Conference Finals yet.

Now owners of the second overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, the Hornets will have a golden opportunity to add to their LaMelo Ball-led core. But they are a ways away from playoff contention, much less an NBA Finals appearance, given their present roster construction.

Memphis Grizzlies (28 years)

Among all the teams in this list, the Grizzlies look like the most likely team to snap their NBA Finals drought. Thanks to their masterful drafting over the past few years, the Grizzlies have become one of the best, young teams in the association — with years of contention guaranteed as long as they keep their heads screwed on straight.

Alas, that seems to be a problem for the Grizzlies at the moment. Their star player, Ja Morant, is currently embroiled in off-court controversies involving firearms, which has cast the Grizzlies star's future in considerable doubt.

Nevertheless, given how well run the Grizzlies franchise has been over the past decade or so, it's not too far-fetched to think that they could soon break free from this less-than-stellar company within the next few years.

New Orleans Pelicans (21 years)

The Pelicans franchise is the youngest without an NBA Finals appearance, with 21 years in existence without coming four wins away from winning a championship. In fact, they've failed to even come within eight wins away, as they haven't yet made the Conference Finals, joining the Hornets as the only two franchises that have failed to do so.

Such intertwinement between the two makes sense; the Hornets, after 14 seasons in Charlotte, moved to New Orleans. Since 2002, the Hornets' history have belonged to the Pelicans franchise. It was only in 2004 when the original Hornets franchise's lineage continued with its reincarnation as the Bobcats.

Still, the Pelicans are closer to the Grizzlies than they are to the Hornets in terms of roster-building. With stars such as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram leading the way, perhaps a clean bill of health is all the franchise needs to reach a place they haven't yet charted.