We all looked forward to the start of this season with old faces in new places and a lot of expectations about what could be one of the most exciting years for NBA fans, and so far, we haven’t been disappointed at all.
Nonetheless, some things haven’t gone the way we all expected them to go, with a lot of surprisingly good and bad things happening since the very start of the regular season, things that have definitely had a great impact on how this campaign has unveiled so far.
Today, however, we’re just going to pretend none of those surprising things happened, imagining and discussing the top 5 biggest “what ifs” of this year’s regular season
5. What If Lonzo Ball Didn’t Get Hurt
Lonzo Ball is one of the most overhyped rookies in the history of the league, but following a very tough start of his first NBA campaign, he’s proven to be extremely valuable in both ends of the court and a lock to be the team’s starting point guard for the next decade or so.
Los Angeles wasn’t meant to compete this season and they would focus in developing their young core, but up to this date, the team sits at the 11th spot in the West with a surprising 31-39 record through 70 games.
What if Lonzo didn’t have to miss 22 games this campaign? considering his impact in both ends of the hardwood, perhaps the Lakers would’ve been on the position to make a push for a playoff spot, although it’s pretty unlikely they would’ve gotten in anyways, but the future seems bright for LA…
4. What If No Team Wanted Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose raised yet another ton of doubts regarding his true commitment with professional basketball after reportedly considering retirement following more injuries during his failed Cleveland Cavaliers tenure before being dealt away of the team and eventually waived by the Utah Jazz.
So, after a horrendous season with mediocre play in both ends of the court and a huge injury history, Rose wandered around for over a week without a team willing to hand him an offer sheet until his former coach Tom Thibodeau decided to bring him on board at Minnesota.
But, what if no team would’ve been willing to actually give him a shot? We could’ve been witnesses of the end of his career, with just 29 years under his belt and the memory of an MVP that was never able to live up to the hype.
3. What If Gordon Hayward Didn’t Get Hurt
This season got off to a very bad start with Gordon Hayward suffering a season-ending injury just 5 minutes into his Boston Celtics debut, raising a lot of doubts regarding the C’s ability to overcome this major loss.
Nevertheless, Brad Stevens proved once again he’s a master of adjustments and both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepped up big time in Hayward’s absence, helping Kyrie carry the load en route to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.
So, what if Hayward never got hurt? This one could go two different ways. Either the team would be as good as it’s been with Kyrie and Hayward sharing the wealth, or Brown and Tatum’s development would’ve stalled and the team’s future stars perhaps would have never had the chance to prove their worth and raise hopes for Celtics’ fans.
However, with Gordon Hayward, the Celtics will be the strongest team in the Eastern Conference.
2. What If Kawhi Leonard Played All Year
The San Antonio Spurs are in true danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in the last 20 decades, the longest active streak in the league and something no single NBA fan would’ve thought before the start of the season.
Most of the Spurs’ struggles have come due to Kawhi Leonard’s quad injury, as he’s by far the best defender in the league while also being the team’s focal offensive point, leaving them in a very tough spot in the fierce Western Conference all season long.
So, what if Kawhi had played all season long? He’s proven to be the Golden State Warriors’ kryptonite and has also played lockdown defense against James Harden, and with all of that Spurs’ depth, they would be a lock to have a top 3 seed in the Western Conference right now.
1. What If Isaiah Thomas Would’ve Been Good For The Cavs
Isaiah Thomas landing in the Q following the Kyrie Irving trade was supposed to be one of the moves that was going to have a bigger impact in the league this season, but truth to be told, he was horrible for the Cavs ever since coming back from his back injury.
Thomas averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 dimes and 2.7 turnovers on 36% shooting and 25% from beyond the arc for Cleveland over 15 games, not to mention the bad blood between him and.. Well, pretty much every other one of his teammates, even openly calling them out with the media.
But, what if he had come back just like his old self? Perhaps he would’ve never been traded by the Cavs, and even though is unlikely their defensive woes would’ve been fixed with his presence, they would’ve been the most offensively stacked team in the East and perhaps even the 1st seed in the Conference.