"What if's" of sports history

sfaJack

Integral Poster
What if Alex Gonzalez fields Miggy Cabrera's grounder and the Cubs turn the double play in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS?
 

BruiserBrody

Integral Poster
Harley Quinn said:
Here are some interesting ones out of boredom...

#1: What if Peyton Manning came out in the 1997 NFL Draft and the Jets took him in their first year under Parcells? Does Parcells challenge for Super Bowls and not end up in Dallas? Does Belichick eventually still land with the Patriots as HC or does he stay and end up getting a job elsewhere? Does Peyton become Peyton with Parcells seeing him as his new Drew Bledsoe?
#2: What if Bill Walsh doesn't retire after the 1988 NFL Season?. He'd later coach at Stanford from 1992-1994 as well going 10-3 in his first year but struggling to 4-7 and 3-7-1 records after. Does San Fran remain a dynasty? What happens with Montana/Young? How do the Cowboys and their dynasty get impacted?
1. Parcells did fairly well even with Vinny's injury blowing one season to some degree. He probably remains the vagabond coach and leaves roughly around the same time. Would Manning be a viable pick with O'Donnell's contract?

2. Given how Montana's injury sort of forced the issue, I'm not sure how much Walsh as coach would change things.
 

CanadianGuitarist

Integral Poster
History will undoubtedly remember Tiger Woods' downfall as being caught cheating, but I think it's misguided. He won the 2008 U.S Open on one leg (major win #14), but didn't close the '09 PGA, which was some sixteen months later; the only time in 12 opportunities he didn't convert a 54-hole major lead into a victory, but a drought which he'd only endured longer twice ('97 Masters to '99 PGA and '02 U.S. to '05 Masters).

Tiger won a handul of tourneys and contended at a number of majors following Torrey Pines in '08. Was Tiger ever going to concievably catch Jack Nicklaus in a perfect world? If he hadn't cheated on Elin, or (more likely), not been caught, would he have taken over Jack's major record? Or was the knee the dagger to his major chase?
 

Big Beard Booty Daddy

Canadian Destroyer213
I've heard it many times, and I think there is something to it, but his dad dying was a huge part of his downfall. His dad helped keep his head on straight. His downfall started right after his dad died.
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
Brodypedia said:
1. Parcells did fairly well even with Vinny's injury blowing one season to some degree. He probably remains the vagabond coach and leaves roughly around the same time. Would Manning be a viable pick with O'Donnell's contract?

2. Given how Montana's injury sort of forced the issue, I'm not sure how much Walsh as coach would change things.

1: Neil only started 6 games in 1996 for a team that ended up 1-15 and wasn't guaranteed a starting position with Parcells taking over. Jets held the first pick in the NFL Draft and likely would have chosen Peyton, despite Parcell's hemming/hawing IMO. Too elite a prospect to pass up.

2: Montana was old but started through 1990 and was out due to injuries by 1992. He still played 2 years at 37/38 years old for Kansas City so I could see Walsh sticking with Joe through 1991 or 1992. Steve Young himself was 31 by 1992 as well. It wouldn't have surprised me if Walsh tried to move Montana earlier, say 1990 and paved the way for Steve Young. Would be interesting to see where Montana may have landed and if Walsh's draft ability could have staved off the Cowboys dominance or if Walsh's 49ers would have imploded with the introduction of FA by 1994.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
https://www.theringer.com/nba/2020/3/31/21200237/nba-redraft-1997-tim-duncan-tracy-mcgrady
Brought up on The Ringer today.

Rick Pitino and Jerry Krause apparently proposed a trade that would send Boston's #3 and #6 pick in the '97 Draft and some combination of veterans to Chicago Bulls for Scottie Pippen and Luc Longley.

Let's say veteran is Rick Fox and Chicago picks Ron Mercer (since I'm assuming Philly still picks Keith Van Horn at #2) and Tracy McGrady with the #3 and #6 pick.

Do the Utah Jazz win the '98 NBA Finals? Does Jordan stay on a few more years in a mentor role?

Would the late '90s Celtics actually be good? Hypothetical '97-98 Celtics (and this is just assuming everything else stays as is) would be Dana Barros, Dee Brown, Scottie Pippen, Pervis Ellison, and Luc Longley....yeah, probably not much better than what actually happened.

It's probably a good thing that things went the way they did cause Pippen was already on downward slope of his career. Does he draft the Celtics to some fair to middling first round playoff exit teams and they miss out on drafting Paul Pierce and are crappy for even longer? But Pippen might (probably would?) have hated Rick Pitino's guts, still gone to Western Conference, and they still might have drafted Pierce.

Bulls are probably ones that missed out more on that trade maybe but it just brings up question, is it more important to have one last championship or a long term future? And I feel like a lineup of Ron Harper, MJ, Toni Kukoc/Rick Fox, Dennis Rodman, and whatever white guy Bulls stick at center with Baby T-Mac, Ron Mercer, and Steve Kerr coming off the bench still might be good enough to be a championship contender for another year or two
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Oof. I thought Antoine Walker was '96 draft not '97.

So '97-'98 Celtics in my fantasy scenario would be Dana Barros, Dee Brown, Scottie Pippen, THE BIG WIGGLE, and Luc Longley. Tbh, that probably bumps them to a mid tier Eastern Conference playoff team if Pippen doesn't strangle Antoine
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Random side note: The '97-'98 Boston Celtics were 36-46. That's 21 game win improvement over previous year despite just adding Ron Mercer and an underused Chauncey Billups (that got traded halfway through the season IIRC).

Maybe Pitino wasn't that horrible of an NBA coach or this self isolation is driving me crazy!?

That brings to mind; what if Rick Pitino isn't a fucking numbskull and keeps Chauncey Billups. Like I don't know if a core of prime Paul Pierce, prime Antoine Walker, and prime Chauncey is good enough to win a 'ship but they might've been able to win a few Eastern Conference 'ships.
 
can't blame jordan, but i kinda wish he gave it a shot. I understand how in his last years he knew he wouldn't have won a title with the young lads but mentoring McGrady into a GOAT would have been a much bigger boon for his legacy than a couple extra championships.

and maybe this belongs in the hot take thread but I always think McGrady got a raw deal when it came to assessments of his abilities. His teams were mostly shit. Under different circumstances, if he had some help, he might have won a chip or two. Some of his peak years were all time great, but his supporting cast was all time bad. too bad about Grant Hill.
 

Alfdogg

Alfdogg
In the 1992 offseason, the Rockets offered Hakeem Olajuwon to the Sonics for Benoit Benjamin, Derrick McKey, and Nate McMillan. Not mentioned: Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp. The teams couldn't agree to a deal.

So, yeah. What if?
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
If the Sonics have Olajuowon at the end of his prime and GP & Reign Man as their primes start, I think the second Bulls threepeat doesn't happen.

And I'd argue that if The Rockets don't have those back to back championships, maybe they suffer the same fate that Seattle did and the Rockets leave Houston?


The Art of Rasslin' said:
and maybe this belongs in the hot take thread but I always think McGrady got a raw deal when it came to assessments of his abilities.
I think he got unfairly lumped in with his cousin Vince Carter. Him and Doc Rivers carried some truly lousy Orlando Magic teams to playoff runs, including singlehandedly nearly beating the Ben Wallace/Rip Hamilton era Pistons.

Didn't Kobe say T-Mac was one of the best players he played again?

Probably been discussed ITT but what if Tim Duncan signed with Orlando instead of San Antonio during the '00 offseason? Pops is probably a curmudgeonly color commentator today, for one.
 

Alfdogg

Alfdogg
Duncan is likely in pretty much the same situation as McGrady if that happens. The Magic only signed McGrady after missing out on Duncan, IIRC
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
A couple interesting scenarios related to Nick Saban. In 1996 he was in deep discussions with the New York Giants for their HC job but wanted complete player & personnel control (sound familiar). Instead the Giants went with some guy named Jim Fassel who led them to a Super Bowl in 2000. Some quick offshoot thoughts...

#1: Maybe Belichick joins up with Saban in New York instead of Parcells in New England. New England maybe doesn't make the Super Bowl and the Giants become a force in a few years. Given that the Patriots really liked Belichick but didn't want any Parcells association staff wise, maybe Belichick gets hired in New England around 1997-1998 instead but the Patriots don't become The Patriots.

#2: Considering the Browns were also an expansion team in 1999, maybe they attempt to re-hire Belichick as HC there after he's proven himself with the Giants. Maybe Saban stays in the NFL for a while, wins a Super Bowl, and never leads LSU to a National Championship nor sees the dominance of Alabama.

Then in 1998, Saban and the Colts had serious discussions but ended up landing Jim Mora Sr. who drafted Peyton Manning which led to Tony Dungy, etc. Imagine how dominant Saban and the Colts could've been with Peyton at QB? More interesting is how Saban would approach the 1998 NFL Draft.

Indianapolis had Jim Harbaugh but he was traded to Baltimore for 3rd and 4th Round picks. Maybe they keep Harbaugh for another year and go Charles Woodson at #1 given Saban's defense first attitude then take Flozell Adams (whom he coached at Michigan State) in Round 2. Brian Griese out of Michigan and Matt Hasselbeck out of BC would be potential later round options and 1999 was expected to have a deeper class with Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, and Daunte Culpepper at the top of the class to choose from.
 

strummer

Integral Poster
Not well known but Parcells almost returned to coach the .Giants after the 96 season. Mara rejected it at the last minute and Parcells of course went to the Jets. Yeah that could have changed a bunch of things in the NFL
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Probably discussed ITT but it's a few years old and we're bored now.

What if Kobe Bryant signs with the Clippers in 2004? Does he make the Clippers relevant a half decade early? Do The Clippers become instant title contenders in the mid '00s? Lineup of Shaun Livingston, Kobe, Corey "Are You Ready For" Maggette, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman is a pretty damn good.

Or does the bad juju of the Donald Sterling era Clippers ruin Kobe and he ends up winning no rings without Shaq?
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I don’t remember Kobe to Clippers getting as close to this



And there was some hype at the time that DAN TONY was Kobe’s favorite player. I know they did this same pitch book for Nash, not sure if they would’ve gotten both.
 

Big Beard Booty Daddy

Canadian Destroyer213
With nothing else going on in the sports world, I saw the First Take Twitter bring up, would Melo have multiple championships if he was drafted by the Pistons instead of Darko.

I think it's safe to believe that they still win the title the year of Melo's rookie year, and they were right back in the hun the next couple of years. I think they win at least one more with Melo.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I guess the argument I’ve always had with the Pistons taking Melo is would he have gotten the playing time. Even though he was clearly pro ready, Brown didn’t like playing young guys. There are arguments Darko may have been better starting somewhere where the coach didn’t break his confidence out the gates too.

I would guess Melo would’ve forced more playing time by making most of any limited minutes he would’ve gotten but I don’t know if his presence would’ve been enough to swing more championships as I can’t see Larry Brown letting him play in that team the way in which he became a star.
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
Baby Shoes said:
I guess the argument I’ve always had with the Pistons taking Melo is would he have gotten the playing time. Even though he was clearly pro ready, Brown didn’t like playing young guys. There are arguments Darko may have been better starting somewhere where the coach didn’t break his confidence out the gates too.

I would guess Melo would’ve forced more playing time by making most of any limited minutes he would’ve gotten but I don’t know if his presence would’ve been enough to swing more championships as I can’t see Larry Brown letting him play in that team the way in which he became a star.

Yeah. Carmelo would've been forced into a "team first" role and I don't think he would've gotten near the freedom he did in Denver nor the minutes (Carmelo was getting 30+ a game right out of the gate).

The other hindrance is that Carmelo's path would have been completely blocked. They acquired Rasheed at PF and at best, Brown would've had to split time between Wallace/Rasheed just to give Carmelo a chance at the PF spot. He'd still be battling Mehmet Okur for minutes even then. If you decide to throw Carmelo at the SF spot, he had Tayshaun Prince ahead of him who would eventually get nearly 33 minutes a game.

If Detroit does draft Carmelo, do they acquire Wallace later on? Corliss Williamson was a Brown favorite off the bench (now that's a throwback name) and I just don't know that Carmelo doesn't find himself in a rotational time share at the PF position maybe getting 10-18 minutes a game at best.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I'm guessing Melo struggles for playing time but shows promise if he's drafted by Detroit and leaves or gets traded before his rookie contract ends but finds success with his 2nd team and maybe is a stronger player mentally for starting his career with a title contender.

If the Phoenix Suns sign Kobe instead of Nash, I think they're a strong contender for the '05 title and potential dynasty. If they sign, Kobe and Nash in their primes then they're a probable dynasty barring any weird personality clashes.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
They seemed to get along during Nash’s forgotten Laker stint - the problem was Nash couldn’t stay healthy leaving the Phoenix doctors, much like Amar’e. Though Nash and Kobe May have bonded over Shaw doing them dirty so...
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I'm assuming personality clashes would be more with Kobe and Amare or maybe Kobe and ISO Joe than Kobe and Nash. Kobe and Nash got along in their super washed days and seemed to respect each other a lot as competitors.

How fucked would Lakers be if they lost Kobe & Shaq in the same offseason? Or what if they assume Kobe is leaving, and Lakers start rebuild in '04 with Shaq instead of Kobe? I still think they'd probably be bad for a few years but maybe they go with Chris Paul (or Deron Williams) in the '05 NBA Draft instead of Andrew Bynum.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I don't know if Philly ever wins a 'ship with TMac but AI definitely gets to more than one NBA Finals and gets more than one win. Maybe they steal one during waning years of Shaq/Kobe or early years of Duncan/TP/Manu.


Read a mundane What If yesterday. Apparently, Scottie Pippen was close to coming back for the Miami Heat for the '07 NBA Playoffs. Imagine the Bulls still sweeping Miami in the first round of the '07 Playoffs but with an old Scottie Pippen sitting glumly next to Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning on the bench.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2020/5/16/21259250/what-if-dwight-howard-had-stayed-with-lakers-2013-free-agency-agent-houston-rockets-nba-kobe-bryant
Sports writers are starting to run out of "What If?" scenarios to talk about.
 

Master Thrasher

Seven Time Tetris 99 Champ!
Since the Jordan doc is ending on Sunday, what if Jerry Krause and Phil Jackson got along in the end? Jordan might have played on the Bulls till 2000 and then retired for good.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
What if Shaq was traded to the Dallas Mavericks instead of the Miami Heat in '04 like he originally wanted?

Not sure whether or not the Mavs would have become a dynasty in the '00s but there's a 100% chance of Kobe screaming at Erick Dampier and calling him a fat fuck.
 

OG

Integral Poster
Thrasher said:
Since the Jordan doc is ending on Sunday, what if Jerry Krause and Phil Jackson got along in the end? Jordan might have played on the Bulls till 2000 and then retired for good.
With the lockout coming, I think he still would've taken a year or two off. Even in the doc you see how done he is with all of it by that point.

Only difference is, he might have come back to the Bulls.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Jordan seemed more cooked than one of the President's steaks in '98. Plus let's assume the lockout still happens in '99, I still think Jordan takes another hiatus.

Plus I don't see anyway the bad blood between Krause and Pippen gets settled.

There's a more woke timeline where NBA forces George Shinn to sell the Hornets FOR BEING ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT (no way if Adam Silver was Commish that wouldn't happen IMO) and Michael Jordan becomes a part owner in the early '00s instead of mid '00s and comes back for them as player/owner instead of the Wizards (and New Orleans never gets an NBA team).

Thinking about it, let's say Jordan comes back to Charlotte Hornets instead of Wizards in '01-'02...Hornets were already a decentish team that got to the second round of playoffs. Eastern Conference was hot garbage that year. Maybe washed MJ gets them into the Finals and saves pro basketball's relevancy in Charlotte?
 
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