Analytics Pickup #2: Biggest What-Ifs in NBA History



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Video Show

We play our regular game: Analytics Pickup where we each provide a set of answers to a question and then draft the top six.

Today's question: "What are the biggest almost events in NBA history that would have had huge ramifications."

We always start out with an example, which, this week, also won the game. Spoilers below on the winning entries, so don't scroll down if you don't want them ruined.



  1. Steve Ballmer buys the Sonics and keeps the in Seattle.
  2. The NBA copies the ABA and allows underclassmen and high schoolers straight into the NBA in the 60s.
  3. Michael Jordan doesn't retire in 1993.
  4. The Orlando Magic roll "lucky 7s" in the Summer of 2000 and get a healthy Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Tim Duncan, and maybe even Ben Wallace on their squad.
  5. The ABA successfully signs Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the New York Nets.
  6. The Philadelphia 76ers keep Sam Hinkie after the Ben Simmons draft.

The four entries that didn't make the cut?

  • The Detroit Pistons draft Carmelo Anthony instead of Darko in 2003.
  • The Cincinnati Royals draft Bill Russell.
  • The Lakers trade for the rights to Ralph Sampson -- shameless plug for my article on that!
  • The Suns keep the draft rights to Luol Deng.

We also have even more scenarios that didn't even make our picks that we talk on the show. Tune in to hear them! Leave any we forgot in the comments below!