If you had a time machine...

reggiecleveland

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OKC not making the Harden trade, either by just paying the tax or cutting bait and using the amnesty clause on Perkins. Would be fascinating to see their big three trying to play together as Harden really entered his prime. Do they each give up enough touches to keep the others happy? Can they win a title? Do they become a dynasty? Is Golden State still the dominant team in the conference, regardless? Does Durant still bolt to Golden State? What does Morey do to remain competitive without Harden in the fold? Changes the complexion of the West for the past half decade and into the future.
Westbrook has shown how important individual stats are to him. I doubt it works.
 

nighthob

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Portland has an absurdly long sad history when it comes to drafting big men:
  • 1972: draft Larue Martin #1 overall, and he is so bad he can barely get on the court
  • 1974: draft Bill Walton, one of the best ever to play center, but injuries ruin his career
  • 1976: draft Moses Malone in the ABA dispersal draft, trade him for a first round pick that became Larry Bird drinking buddy Rick Robey
  • 1978: draft Mychal Thompson #1 overall the year the Celtics draft Bird; following his rookie season, Thompson breaks his leg and misses year 2
  • 1984: draft Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan
  • 2007: draft Greg Oden over Kevin Durant
Somewhere either here or in the archives I had a long post about the Portland Big Man Curse, and the way it seems to seek out the big men they draft. Like Sabonis, the Blazers drafted him and he thought that he'd beat the curse by not defecting, only his knee blew out anyway.
 

BigSoxFan

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How about the Kevin McHale special?

After drafting Kevin Garnett it was all downhill

1996 swapping Ray Allen for Marbury
1999 Wally world over Rip Hamilton, Dre Miller, Marion, and Terry (with Mercer hanging around for good measure)
1999 illegal Joe Smith signing costing them a billion draft picks

I feel like if you reversed any one of those decisions (particularly the last one) the Wolves build a credible, lasting team around Garnett and he remains a Wolves lifer.
Along those lines, how about the David Kahn Era for Minny?

2009
Passes on Steph Curry for Rubio at 5 and Johnny Flynn at 6. Rubio stays in Spain for 2 years and Flynn busts out of the league. Could have had Curry/DeRozan. He then takes Ty Lawson at 18 and then trades him to Denver. Just a horrendous draft.

2010
Takes Wesley Johnson at #4 over DeMarcus Cousins. Yuck.

2011
Takes Derrick Williams at #2 who was big bust. In Kahn’s defense, this draft was weak and Williams was the consensus pick after Kyrie.

Kahn could have easily stopped the NBA’s current dynasty.
 

Sam Ray Not

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In Kahn’s defense, this draft was weak and Williams was the consensus pick after Kyrie.
If he had just limited himself to other K names, he could also have grabbed Klay, Kawhi, Kemba or Kenneth Faried.
 
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bankshot1

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Non-Celtic division: Hank Iba having a clue he was about to get reamed in '72 and deny Belov the ball.

Things just haven't been good with the Ruskies since.
 
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Fun thread! Just for fun...

The Philadelphia 76ers win the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery and draft Tim Duncan #1 overall.

Larry Brown is still named coach that offseason.

They don’t trade #2 pick Keith Van Horn with Michael Cage and Lucious Harris to the Nets for Tim Thomas, Anthony Parker, Eric Montross, and Jimmy Jackson. Tom Chambers still plays one game, then retires. Dino Radja still fails his physical, nullifying trade with Boston.

A roster including…
Tim Duncan (21)
Allen Iverson (22)
Jerry Stackhouse (23)
Derrick Coleman (30)
Clarence Weatherspoon (27)
Lucious Harris (27)
Terry Cummings (older, bench guy)
and others.

In reality, the 97-98 76ers finish 31-51 and are 14th in the Eastern Conference. The 7th and 8th seed won 43 games that year… does Duncan as a rookie win them 12 more games and into the playoffs? I think so.

The Chicago Bulls swept NJ in round one and beat Charlotte 4-1 in round two, before playing seven tough games against Indiana. If a 76ers team with Duncan faces Chicago in the first or second round (#7 NY beat #2 Miami), does that take enough out of Chicago to give Indiana the edge in the ECF? If Jordan fails to achieve his second three-peat, does he decide to continue playing? That's a stretch.


Also… Sabonis comes over to Portland after the 1986 draft. Trading Larry Bird and Kevin McHale for Sam Perkins, Detlef Schrempf, etc.
 

Royal Reader

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The LeBron lottery is a good one. That cut to commerical where Memphis is either going to get LeBron or lose its pick. Ouch. What does LeBron's career look like without Dan Gilbert? Does Cleveland get Melo, Wade or Bosh or do they Cleveland it up further? If so is there even a franchise in Cleveland in 2018 any more? Where does Darko go in the counterfactual that the #2 doesn't convey to Detroit?
 

NoXInNixon

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A lot of these ideas are good but are beyond the ability of a time traveler to change. How would you rig the Lebron lottery so Cleveland doesn't win it? Or any other lottery?
 

lars10

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I remember talking to a big ACC hoops fan (maybe Maryland fan?) on a plane in '86, soon after the death of Bias, and asking him if he was close as good as Jordan, sort of hoping he would say, "nah, not that good." He said emphatically: "BETTER than Jordan."
I don’t think there’s any question at that point.. Bias seemed muscularly bigger in college I believe and had developed more. Jordan hadn’t completely come into his own yet at UNC.. If you watch the highlights at least..Bias was the man at Maryland.
 

charlieoscar

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How about the franchise swap? For a brief time rights to Bird, Cowens, and Maxwell were owned by the Clippers. Maybe it is good there is no time machine.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I don’t think there’s any question at that point.. Bias seemed muscularly bigger in college I believe and had developed more. Jordan hadn’t completely come into his own yet at UNC.. If you watch the highlights at least..Bias was the man at Maryland.
At that point Jordan had already put up 28.2 pts on 52% fg / 6.5 reb / 5.9 ast / 2.4 stl as an NBA rookie in '84-85, and — after the broken foot deprived him of most of his second season — famously dropped 63 on the Celtics in the '86 playoffs. Not everyone might have predicted GOAT in summer of '86, but I think most people had an inkling.

I mean, I doubt Bias actually would have been better than Jordan, since "better than the GOAT" is a pretty high bar. But that one comment always stuck in my craw. (At that point I think I was roughly a 50-50 Celtics/Warriors fan and "transitioning," lol).
 
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nighthob

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Bias was a better college player than Jordan. Of course we don't know how he would have developed as a pro, but in his favour he had the combination of size and athleticism to lock down either F spot (which would have been a huge help for Bird & McHale) as well as a better range game than Jordan. So there was definitely a chance for him to have been in the GOAT conversation had he not been a coke user.
 

fairlee76

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Bias would be mine for sure.

Would have been nice for Pau Gasol to not be gifted to a Lakers team that was not winning two more titles for Kobe without Pau there. Yes, I’m still bitter about 2010.
 

TripleOT

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The Lakers don't trade for Charlie Scott, keep the first round pick the acquired from Kansas City, and draft Larry Bird as a junior eligible in 1978 with the eighth pick, after the Celtics passed on him with the sixth pick. Magic and Bird come into the league together on the same team, and the Lakers win every championship in the 1980s.
 

jaytftwofive

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For a non-Celtics version, in no particular order but definitely a pattern.

1) Kareem Abdul Jabbar trade - yes I know the Bucks hands were totally forced.

2) New Orleans signing Gail Goodrich and the convoluted compensation that led to the Jazz first round pick in 1979 (#1 overall) going to LA.

3) Cleveland trading Butch Lee and a pick to LA for a pick for Don Ford and a first round pick. Of course the Cleveland pick turned into the #1 overall pick in 1982. Thanks Ted Stepien.

4) Vlade Divac for a certain first round pick coming out of high school.
Blame Dave Cowens also for not convincing Kobe to stay.
 

jaytftwofive

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I think the 1997 Draft is completely overblown. For starters, we likely don’t get Pierce in 1998 draft, which would have hurt. I also don’t think that Duncan plays a second contract in Boston. He hated the cold and almost left SA in 2000 to go to Orlando. Robinson had to fly back from a vacation in Europe to convince him to stay. Pitino would have f’d things up. No doubt in my mind.
Agree. The Celtics tanked and it didn't work out. I often felt our fans thought that we were entitled to Duncan because we are Celtics fans. There was no guarantee the Celtics would win the lottery.
 

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I think Bias is my answer as well. For the question of him being better than Jordan - he wouldn't have needed to be to have had a big impact on the playoff fortunes of that Celtics team. I also belive that every star needs a foil in the Bird/Magic style. If Bias had become even 75 percent of Jordan the impact would have been huge. If he had been consumed with competing with Jordan the way Bird was with Magic who knows what heights he could have reached. And that might have pushed Jordan higher as well. Maybe he wouldn't have gotten bored.

The biggest indicator of Bias potential (to me) was the fact that Bird wanted to be at rookie camp/reporting date to be on the floor with him.
 

BigSoxFan

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This was a good thread but all this Bias stuff is making me sad again. Bird’s passing ability with Bias’ finishing would have been insane. Ugh.
 

lars10

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At that point Jordan had already put up 28.2 pts on 52% fg / 6.5 reb / 5.9 ast / 2.4 stl as an NBA rookie in '84-85, and — after the broken foot deprived him of most of his second season — famously dropped 63 on the Celtics in the '86 playoffs. Not everyone might have predicted GOAT in summer of '86, but I think most people had an inkling.

I mean, I doubt Bias actually would have been better than Jordan, since "better than the GOAT" is a pretty high bar. But that one comment always stuck in my craw. (At that point I think I was roughly a 50-50 Celtics/Warriors fan and "transitioning," lol).
I meant at that point in their respective careers... meaning Bias compared to Jordan at the end of college. In the footage I've seen of Bias he seemed to have been bigger (he was 3" taller) and stronger (6'9", 210)..and had developed more. Bias played all four years and Jordan only 3.. so there's that difference. My comment was only intended to say that Bias seemed like the more dominant college player..or at least in his junior and senior years.
 

lars10

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Bias would be mine for sure.

Would have been nice for Pau Gasol to not be gifted to a Lakers team that was not winning two more titles for Kobe without Pau there. Yes, I’m still bitter about 2010.
Or how the NBA gifted game 7 to the Lakers.. look at the play by play.. mid way through the third quarter even with Gasol and Bynum the Lakers are behind by 13. After that they shoot 25 free throws to Boston's 8. It wasn't like the Lakers were killing it.. or that Gasol and Bynum were destroying the Celts (other than the boards).. the Celts just couldn't buy a call.
The Lakers scored 28 points on shots and 19 points on free throws. Celts scored 24 points on shots and 6 on free throws.. and lost by 4 points.

I remember watching that game and being impressed with how the Celts were gutting it out and dominating and then seeing the game just turn into something else where they couldn't buy a foul call...but I know I'm biased.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Or how the NBA gifted game 7 to the Lakers.. look at the play by play.. mid way through the third quarter even with Gasol and Bynum the Lakers are behind by 13. After that they shoot 25 free throws to Boston's 8. It wasn't like the Lakers were killing it.. or that Gasol and Bynum were destroying the Celts (other than the boards).. the Celts just couldn't buy a call.
The Lakers scored 28 points on shots and 19 points on free throws. Celts scored 24 points on shots and 6 on free throws.. and lost by 4 points.

I remember watching that game and being impressed with how the Celts were gutting it out and dominating and then seeing the game just turn into something else where they couldn't buy a foul call...but I know I'm biased.
How can you honestly separate "other than the boards?" The Lakers destroyed us with their size and length. They had 23 offensive rebounds in that game!! Gasol has 9 himself and got to the line 13 times because Big Baby and Sheed couldn't handle him. Bynum had 4 off boards in the short time he played too. In short, yes they DID dominate us and not having Perkins changed the entire series. The refs had nothing to do with these matchups.
 

PedroKsBambino

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How can you honestly separate "other than the boards?" The Lakers destroyed us with their size and length. They had 23 offensive rebounds in that game!! Gasol has 9 himself and got to the line 13 times because Big Baby and Sheed couldn't handle him. Bynum had 4 off boards in the short time he played too. In short, yes they DID dominate us and not having Perkins changed the entire series. The refs had nothing to do with these matchups.
Perkins being knocked out was huge, no question there. But I am also confident that if you rewatch game 7 you’ll see the foul calls were indefensibly one-sided in the 4th quarter, too. Note on that rewatch that part (not all) of the rebounding issue is the Lakers manhandling Cs without any whistles—even by the standards of “let them play” 4th quarters it was egregious and one-way

This game is the stealth version of Sacto-Lakers game 6, and it’s puzzling more don’t acknowledge as much.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Perkins being knocked out was huge, no question there. But I am also confident that if you rewatch game 7 you’ll see the foul calls were indefensibly one-sided in the 4th quarter, too. Note on that rewatch that part (not all) of the rebounding issue is the Lakers manhandling Cs without any whistles—even by the standards of “let them play” 4th quarters it was egregious and one-way

This game is the stealth version of Sacto-Lakers game 6, and it’s puzzling more don’t acknowledge as much.
I've watched it 3 times, live and 2 replays. There were no whistles due to the physical matchups being so one-sided. The refs aren't going to bail out a cripple Sheed for not being able to hold his position or bail out Baby for not having the length to contest rebounds. The calls that "could" have been made the other way would have been bailouts when watching from a Laker perspective.

This sounds like the same thing people erroneously say about LeBron getting all the calls when in truth his defenders get away with more no calls that should be fouls due to his physical dominance.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I've watched it 3 times, live and 2 replays. There were no whistles due to the physical matchups being so one-sided. The refs aren't going to bail out a cripple Sheed for not being able to hold his position or bail out Baby for not having the length to contest rebounds. The calls that "could" have been made the other way would have been bailouts when watching from a Laker perspective.

This sounds like the same thing people erroneously say about LeBron getting all the calls when in truth his defenders get away with more no calls that should be fouls due to his physical dominance.
So, if there were no whistles why did Lakers have 21 free throws?

C'mon, you are too smart a fan to actually not see that quarter was egregiously officiated. Though, your comments above highlight one of the core points I made (and problems with the officiating that game): the Lakers were very physical at one end and got a lot of touch fouls at the other.
 

HomeRunBaker

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So, if there were no whistles why did Lakers have 21 free throws?

C'mon, you are too smart a fan to actually not see that quarter was egregiously officiated. Though, your comments above highlight one of the core points I made (and problems with the officiating that game): the Lakers were very physical at one end and got a lot of touch fouls at the other.
Hey, I feel you're too smart a fan to not recognize that the physically superior player/team gets the most calls due to the advantage that they gain from their skill/gift. When your physical/athletic advantage allows you better positioning and ability to achieve advantageous angles you are going to earn more whistles. This was the point of my LeBron analogy.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Hey, I feel you're too smart a fan to not recognize that the physically superior player/team gets the most calls due to the advantage that they gain from their skill/gift. When your physical/athletic advantage allows you better positioning and ability to achieve advantageous angles you are going to earn more whistles. This was the point of my LeBron analogy.
I am, and that's why I know the difference between a team being physically dominant and what happened in that game!

The idea that the Lakers were suddenly more physically dominant in the second half of game 7---but not before--just doesn't make sense. Half the Lakers FT advantage for the entire 7 game series was in one quarter! That just ain't even distribution based on different talent. And while Perkins matters on the rebounding side, he only played 23 minutes per game in the first six so the story is mostly not about his absence, either. Him being out helps on the FT side, frankly.

The numbers just don't tell the story you want them to in this case.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I am, and that's why I know the difference between a team being physically dominant and what happened in that game!

The idea that the Lakers were suddenly more physically dominant in the second half of game 7---but not before--just doesn't make sense. Half the Lakers FT advantage for the entire 7 game series was in one quarter! That just ain't even distribution based on different talent. And while Perkins matters on the rebounding side, he only played 23 minutes per game in the first six so the story is mostly not about his absence, either. Him being out helps on the FT side, frankly.

The numbers just don't tell the story you want them to in this case.
The numbers alone without context are faulty. Perkins 23-25 mpg in that series was the difference in Sheed and Baby playing 12-15 mph vs optimal 2nd unit matchups and what actually occurred in the second half of Game 7.......when Sheed was on the backend of his 35 min while Baby was forced into bad matchups in many of his 20 min when Gasol, Odom, and Bynum were taking turns practicing The Mikan Drill against Baby and Sheed's toasted corpse. Our shorthanded bigs were running on fumes against the longer Lakers who wore us down in the 2nd half when we were consistently out of position.
 

TripleOT

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IIRC, they called two questionable fouls on Baby to start the 4th quarter, fouls that IMO weren't called in the first three quarters. The Cs were quickly in the penalty, and the FT procession commenced.
 

HomeRunBaker

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IIRC, they called two questionable fouls on Baby to start the 4th quarter, fouls that IMO weren't called in the first three quarters. The Cs were quickly in the penalty, and the FT procession commenced.
The first of those two were the type I was referring to where Baby doesn't have the length to contest Gasol's shot in the paint and may or may not have made contact with Gasol's shooting elbow. His second foul on the ensuing trip he first clobbered Vujacic sending him flying into the cameramen then recovered enough to hammer Gasol knocking him off balance on his shot attempt at the rim....he was only called for the second one. This sequence was the type of plays which caused the foul disparity.....the aggressive team with the physical advantage caused the defense to create contact while attempting to defend them.

Edit: Had the link for game but lost it now can't find it.
 

lars10

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How can you honestly separate "other than the boards?" The Lakers destroyed us with their size and length. They had 23 offensive rebounds in that game!! Gasol has 9 himself and got to the line 13 times because Big Baby and Sheed couldn't handle him. Bynum had 4 off boards in the short time he played too. In short, yes they DID dominate us and not having Perkins changed the entire series. The refs had nothing to do with these matchups.
But that's not true.. as I wrote the Celtics were winning by 13 midway through the 3rd when the refs simply swallowed their whistles on one end.. Boston got killed in the lane in those last two quarters and there were a ton of touch fouls.. including on Sheed who fouled out. Like I said I'm biased, but were the Celts getting dominated when they were up 13? And nothing about how huge that free throw disparity was after that point?

Gasol had 11 free throws in the end of the third and fourth alone. He had two in the first, second and early third combined.
 

lars10

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Hey, I feel you're too smart a fan to not recognize that the physically superior player/team gets the most calls due to the advantage that they gain from their skill/gift. When your physical/athletic advantage allows you better positioning and ability to achieve advantageous angles you are going to earn more whistles. This was the point of my LeBron analogy.
So why didn't they get those calls the first two and a half quarters before the Celts were up big?
 

HomeRunBaker

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So why didn't they get those calls the first two and a half quarters before the Celts were up big?
The Lakers made adjustments and took advantage of Sheed/Baby in the 2nd half when they continually penetrated and focused on getting the ball in the paint. They had 11 of their offensive rebounds in the 2nd half when Sheed couldn't move and Baby's lack of size against Gasol/Odom was exposed.

The game is out there to see. The 4th quarter the Lakers either scored at the rim or got fouled at the rim with an occasional open 3 resulting. If you can't see the physical domination over an exhausted frontline, which resulted in the late game domination, I don't know what else to say.
 

bankshot1

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IIRC, they called two questionable fouls on Baby to start the 4th quarter, fouls that IMO weren't called in the first three quarters. The Cs were quickly in the penalty, and the FT procession commenced.
Thats the way I remember the officiating too. They went from let 'em play for 3 qtrs to calling BS ticky-tack shit. And at the time I got pissed, as I had a bad feeling how it was going to turn out.
 

BigSoxFan

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Thats the way I remember the officiating too. They went from let 'em play for 3 qtrs to calling BS ticky-tack shit. And at the time I got pissed, as I had a bad feeling how it was going to turn out.
Same here. I think both sides are the argument are correct on this one. The Lakers were more physical but they also got basically every 50/50 call. It was an incredibly frustrating game to watch.