Top 5 Biggest NBA "What Ifs" From the 20th Century

Many people today continue to say "what if" something different happened from the way it went down. In sports, we will never know the answer to these questions because it is impossible to tell how the course of history would've changed. But we can infer that things would be much different from what we have seen. Over the course of the 2000s and 2010s we have seen many questionable trades, signings, and other decisions that may have jeopardized a teams chance to win. But what if these moves never happened. Lets break down all of these questionable moves into the top 5 biggest "what ifs" from the 20th century.


5. "What if" the Timber Wolves don't pass on Stephen Curry


In the 2009 NBA draft the Minnesota Timber Wolves had two chances to select Steph Curry with the 5th and 6th overall pick. Instead Minnesota selected Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. What if the T-Wolves picked Curry over Rubio or Flynn? I think its safe to say that the Warriors never would have won an NBA Championship. Even with the Additions of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in prior years, without the team leader in Curry it wouldn't have been enough to get the job done. Also, Kevin Durant wanted to play for a winning franchise, and without Curry, the Warriors wouldn't be the winning franchise they are today. Ultimately, we would have never seen Durant in a Warriors uniform, and the Dubs wouldn't have won their three NBA Championships.


4. "What if" the Chris Paul, Lakers trade wasn't vetoed


In 2011, A three team trade deal was set between the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets. The trade would have sent all-star point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and Kevin Martin to the Hornets. This trade was eventually vetoed by Commissioner David Stern so the trade never actually happened. But what if it did? It would have paired up all-star Chris Paul in the back court with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. This duo would've been electric to watch with Chris Paul's playmaking and Kobe's scoring abilities. Not only would this trade make the Lakers title contenders, but with two all-stars, another player could've jumped on board to make a big three. We may have missed out on seeing the Lakers win their 18th or even 19th NBA Championship.


3. "What if" the Oklahoma City Thunder never traded James Harden


In 2012, The OKC Thunder sent James Harden to the Houston Rockets in an exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and two first round picks. Harden wanted a max deal, but OKC offered him 4.5 million dollars less, so the Thunder was forced to trade him. The trade broke up the young core of the Western Conference Champions. But what if Harden stayed? Throughout the next few years Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden all improved their game, and became some of the top tier players in the NBA. If they were all together in their prime they could've been the best big three of all time. Their offensive abilities to create shots for themselves and others would've completed each other very well. If Harden wasn't traded there is no doubt in my mind that the Thunder would've won an NBA Championship.


2. "What if" Derrick Rose never got injured


In game one of the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL. Leading up to his knee injury, Derrick Rose was a three time all-star in his first four seasons as an NBA player. Throughout his first four seasons he was averaging 21.1 points per game, 6.9 assists per game, and 3.8 rebounds per game. Rose was also the youngest player to ever win a MVP Award. Doing the things he was doing at such an early stage in his career is incredible. What if Derrick Rose never got injured? Rose was on the rise and consistently got better every season. If he never tore his ACL, Derrick Rose would've done so much more with his career. His accolades would be astonishing based on what he was doing so early in his career, and I personally believe that with his abilities he could have won multiple NBA Championships. The link below is a highlight real of Rose before the injury.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzfaLHm2bW0


1. "What if" the Philadelphia 76ers select Dirk Nowitzki


Although this took place in the 1998 NBA draft, I'm still including it because it would have completely changed the 2000s. In the 1998 NBA the Philadelphia 76ers selected Larry Hughes with the 7th overall pick, passing on the German giant, Dirk Nowitzki. Although Hughes added solid talent, Dirk Nowitzki turned out to be future Hall of Famer. So what if the Sixers selected Dirk? The duo of Allen Iverson and Nowitzki would have been amazing to watch. Both of them are outstanding offensive players with the ability to score anywhere on the floor. Watching these guys work together on offence especially in the pick and roll would be a real treat. Not only would this 76ers team get to the NBA finals just once in 2001, but for many years to come. This would have created a dynasty for the Sixers, eliminated the need for the process, and with out a doubt an NBA Championship along with it.


What other "What if" moments did I forget or would you add to this list?

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