2008: Derrick Rose. Actual worst team: Miami
Can you imagine Dwyane Wade and Rose together? With Rose running point his numbers wouldn’t have approached his MVP season of two years ago because of deferring to Wade, but the productivity and the excitement these two would have created would have been unreal. Something along the lines of a KD-Russell Westbrook tandem that break traditional guard roles. This addition would not have precluded the Heat from needing Chris Bosh or LeBron James in free agency, and you have to think a team with that makeup wouldn’t have created any need for “The Decision” — because it would have been a no-brainer. Play with D-Rose and D-Wade? Play with D-Rose and D-Wade. Even Clevelanders would have shrugged. Prediction: Two NBA titles for Miami, fewer burned jerseys in Cleveland.
2009: Blake Griffin. Actual worst team: Sacramento
This one seems pretty easy. Tyreke Evans is a hell of a player and for the love of revisionist history, he won NBA rookie of the year! But Griffin would bring the “new money” mystique to Sacramento as he has in Clipperland, a franchise with a perception that was much, much worse than the Kings. He’d sit out the year with his microfracture surgery, which would give Sacramento an even better chance at the 2010 lottery than they had (fifth pick for DeMarcus Cousins). Suddenly, everyone swarms to Arco Arena like Mike Bibby is still dropping dimes to Vlade Divac as the Kings become the new “it” team in the league. The co-owning Maloof brothers drum of support for a new arena because, hey, there’s demand of 50,000 people wanting to see Blake dunk, let alone the 23,000 the new place can hold. Prediction: The Kings wouldn’t be moving.
2010: John Wall . Actual worst team: New Jersey.
Sorry Nets, this is not a story of being a Ping-Pong ball bounce away from you becoming the next Spurs Post-Duncan. Wall would be interesting to have playing in Brooklyn and is the no-doubt face of the franchise. There is no way the Nets don’t pick Wall (he was as much a lock as his Kentucky brethren Anthony Davis is this year), but I don’t see him bringing in a flood of talent around him, nor improving the team by 20-plus wins. An incredible player can only do so much with the parts around him, and New Jersey is like the cast of “Xanadu” being built around Brad Pitt. It’s not going to work, much like the Deron Williams experiment has yielded low returns. Prediction: More of the same for the Nets.
2011: Kyrie Irving. Actual worst team: Minnesota
GM David Kahn loves point guards, and with Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio already on the roster, would Minny have even taken Irving? Neither Flynn nor Rubio had the buzz at the time to warrant much in return in a trade, so it seems like a backlog of guards would have filled Minny’s roster. Seeing the guard situation as untenable, we think Kahn goes with Derrick Williams, again. His up-and-down rookie year has people forgetting how loud the buzz around the Arizona stud was post-NCAA Tournament. Kahn would have gone with the logical complementary piece to Kevin Love. With only a year to see how this draft class has performed, it’s much harder to see how a do-over with this class would have changed the inner workings of the league. The Spurs likely would still have taken Kawhi Leonard, for example, and we’d still be cleaning up after our slobber (as we are now) talking about how well he’s fit into that system. For the Wolves, though, they’d still be at home for the playoffs. Prediction: Nothing different.
What is the most likely scenario?
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