NBA: Exploring the 5 biggest ‘what if’ questions in recent history

NBA Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NBA Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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NBA LeBron James Kobe Bryant (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Looking back at the five biggest “what if” questions in the recent NBA history

One of the best part of being a sports fan is the ability to look back on the history of your sport, and start asking questions about what could have happened differently.

Even though we may never have an answer to these questions, they will persistently plague us, probably until there’s no more NBA to ask questions about. Here are a few of the biggest “what if” questions about the Association over the last couple of decades.

What if Kobe and LeBron had faced off in the NBA Finals?

This is probably one of the biggest “what-if” questions NBA fans ask. And when you think about the caliber that these two players played at during certain seasons, it’s easy to understand why. There is, admittedly, a fairly small amount of time where these two meeting would have been interesting.

This time would probably span from the ’07-’08 season through the ’12-’13. What makes this all the more interesting is that during that span of time, either a Kobe team or a LeBron team was one in the NBA Finals (’08-’10 was the Lakers, ’11-’13 was the Heat).

Another interesting aspect of this is the teams that were the reason Kobe and LeBron never met. In 2008 Cleveland lost to future champion Boston Celtics, in ’09 they lost to the Magic who went on to lose to the Lakers in the Finals, in 2010 Cleveland lost to Boston again, though this time the Lakers would beat the Celtics for the championship, in 2011 the Lakers lost to the future champions Dallas Mavericks, in 2012 the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder who would later lose to the Heat, and in 2013 the Lakers lost to the Spurs, who went on to face the Heat in the Finals.

That means, in every year, either the Lakers or the Cavs lost to a team that went to the Finals, and in two of those six years they lost to the team that won the Finals.

A comparison of their stats makes this matchup even more exciting. In those six years, Kobe averaged 26 points a game on 45 percent shooting with almost five assists per game. LeBron averaged 27 points on 51 percent shooting with seven assists per game. Keeping in mind the quality of their respective teams at this time, and you can just see how a matchup between these two would’ve been one of the more memorable ones in NBA history. Even if LeBron hadn’t guarded Kobe (he probably wouldn’t have), it still leaves a lot of special moments on the table.