Wob: The Best “What if…?” Moments in NBA History

Wob: The Best “What if…?” Moments in NBA History article feature image

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant

  • What if Matt Barnes had hit Kobe in the face with the ball? You'd be shocked just how much would've changed in the course of NBA history.
  • Rob Perez (aka @WorldWideWob) presents the most monumental "What ifs...?" in NBA history.

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. It’s the ideology that makes living life in the rearview mirror so dangerous.

But let’s be honest, in this case, dangerous is fun.

Resurrecting feelings and playing out monumental moments as different scenarios is the Achilles' heel to any sports fan’s peace of mind, so for this exercise, I encourage you to sin with me and taste the forbidden fruit of the most outside-the-box NBA “what ifs …”

For example:

What if Allan Houston's floater doesn't go in against the Heat?

  • First of all we never get the fist pump.

  • The Knicks don’t become the second 8-seed in NBA history to knock off a No. 1.
  • The four-point play never happens a couple weeks later.

  • And most importantly: The Knicks don’t give Allan Houston one of the most regrettable contracts in league history, and the NBA never adds the “Allan Houston Rule” to the next collective bargaining agreement — now known as the "amnesty clause."

What if LeBron finishes that dunk on Draymond?

  • Considering what was at stake, it surpasses Jordan’s pull-up as the biggest moment in NBA history.
  • It becomes a statue outside Quicken Loans Arena before the 2017 season starts, and that statue keeps LeBron in Cleveland for the remainder of his career.
  • Hell, it likely becomes the next NBA logo.
  • Draymond is probably too embarrassed to call Durant from the parking lot and KD never signs with the Warriors.
  • And there is absolutely no way Draymond is sitting in that barbershop sipping wine with Bron and telling him he’s the best player in the league.

What if Matt Barnes hits Kobe Bryant in the face with the ball?

  • They throw hands on the spot.
  • A brawl likely ensues and the two are enemies for life
  • But most importantly: Kobe doesn’t make the phone call that following Summer asking Matt if he wants to be a Laker.
  • If you remember: Barnes verbally agreed to sign with the Raptors , but then Toronto gave most of the mid-level exception to Linas Kleiza first and there was hardly any money left for Matt.
  • So Kobe calls.
  • The Lakers get swept by both the Mavs AND the Thunder in the playoffs as Barnes records two of the worst playoff efficiency ratings of his career.
  • If Barnes hits Kobe with that ball and the call is never made …
  • Barnes and Derek Fisher aren’t teammates. You know who Barnes was dating and shared kids with at the time? YUP.

  • Even juicier … if Barnes never signs, there’s nobody on the roster to replace Lamar Odom in a … oh let’s just say … hypothetical trade for Chris Paul. Maybe the Lakers offer something different and maybe a certain trade doesn’t get vetoed.

What if Ray Allen doesn't make that Game 6 corner 3?

  • Bron would've been not one … not two … but 1-3 in Finals series.
  • Nobody cares that he just scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and hit an absolutely ludicrous 3 to even put them in a position to force overtime
  • Tim Duncan wins his fifth ring and likely finishes his career 6-0 in the Finals.
  • Jordan/LeBron GOAT debates are Duncan vs. MJ instead
  • Pop, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili all retire after the 2014 championship — Steve Kerr takes over for his mentor and former team instead of signing with Golden State.
  • Oh and by the way, Tracy McGrady is an NBA champion

What if this moment never happens?

Honestly I don’t know, but that’s the most disrespectful shit I have ever seen.

What if Durant’s burner accounts never get exposed?

Then searching the Internet for high-profile NBA burners is probably never a thing and Bryan Colangelo is still out there spewing venom as president of the 76ers.

What if Reggie Miller never shows Spike Lee the choke sign?

Does Spike still show up in Indianapolis for Game 6, subsequently igniting John Starks to his best playoff performances ever?

What if we never found out JR Smith's beloved air guitar celebration was a rip off of a half-court shooting competition from 2009?

What if the Pistons fan misses this throw? Does the 'Malice at the Palace' happen?

What if Melo signed a four-year deal with the Nuggets instead of a five and was available the same summer as LeBron and Wade?

What if LeBron actually passed Dion the ball?

What if this goes in? 

What if Isiah Thomas shakes Michael Jordan’s hand here?

Does he get invited to play on The Dream Team?

What if Tim Duncan never laughed?

What if Jordan never cried?

We’ll never get the real answers to any of these questions. But as hoop heads we are going to speculate about this stuff on the Internet for the rest of our days, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop us.

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