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EST. 2011

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What if Tim Duncan was a Celtic?

Posted by shawn cassidy on July 3, 2011 at 12:44 PM



Will have a lot to talk about despite the NBA in lockout mode. I wanted to jump into a few new topics.I'm starting the What if? Series,and will talk about possible things that could have happened.

What if it was a simple twist of fate. A couple of of ping pong balls sealed the fate for the most storied franchise in NBA history. The Celtics lost out on a once, and a lifetime player. The Celtics only won 15 games in the 96-97 campaign. The feeling was the Celtics should win the top lottery pick in the draft lottery selection. The Celtics seemed to fall into hard times. They tragically lost two young players(Len Bias,Reggie Lewis) that could have shaped the franchise after the Larry Bird era. Once the Celtics lost the lottery it felt like you could hear a pin drop. It was a cold hard slap across the face. Tim Duncan is a player that stayed the course in college,and he was a unique player,and he was able to play a style that we haven't seen by many players,or by any players at all. The Celtics would have two lottery picks in the 97 draft. The Celtics would pick number 3, and number 6.  Chauncey Billups was the selection for the Boston Celtics,and Ron Mercer followed at number 6.

The duo from the 97 draft wouldn't stick around. Billups gone in his first season with the Celtics. Ron Mercer was apart of the Kentucky connection in Boston at the time.Ron Spent only two seasons in Boston. The first twist in the what if debate. What if the Celtics got the first pick,and the third pick? The Celtics would have Tim Duncan at power forward,and Antoine Walker at small forward,and Billups at point guard.

If you tell me that team doesn't win the East every season after the the lockout season of 1999 your lying to your core. Timmy won the NBA championship in his second season in the NBA,but what's wrong with that picture? Would the Celtics have won in 1999? No the Celtics wouldn't have won the title that season. The Spurs had a veteran team that was a playoff team before Tim Duncan. The Spurs lost David Robinson for the season,and they fell into lottery team status in 97.

It's fair to say the Spurs got a lucky bounce,and they seized the chance.The second what if will be Paul Pierce. Would the Celtics still be in the lottery in 1998? I will say yes on that one. Lucky for us in 98 Paul Pierce slipped in the draft. Let's say the Celtics still had the 10th pick. Paul came into the NBA as a shooting guard,and the Celtics had a need for a two guard. The Celtics picked Paul at ten,and the Celtics would have  Billups,Walker,Pierce,and Duncan in the starting line up.

The Celtics and Laker battles would have started in 2000 with out a doubt in my mind if the Celtics had a stacked young line up. The Celtics could be sitting on banner 19 or 20 right now.

If that Big 4 was put together could they actually stay together? Would the money be around? The Celtics would still have a wild card. They could trade Walker or Billups,and get solid role players in return. If you could look in a crystal ball of course the Celtics should trade Walker. Paul could take his spot at small forward,and we could also avoid Walkers downfall on the court, and off the court.

The East was real weak in the early part of the decade,and really until 2008. The East won a couple of  titles in 2004(Pistons)and in 2006(Heat). Still the East was a weak conference.

What about the Spurs? David Robinson would be ring less,and coach Pop wouldn't be a great coach right? The Spurs wouldn't have a mini dynasty,and the Spurs wouldn't be a playoff force for the entire decade. The Spurs could still be a lottery team as we speak if they don't get the first pick in 1997.

The entire league would look different. Kevin Garnett could be a Laker? Ray Allen could be in OKC? It's just like back to the future,or any SI-FI movie out there dealing with time,and changing what happened in the past. Would the Cavs even be the top lottery team in 2003? The Spurs won the title that season,but if Tim Duncan was on the Celtics who knows if the Cavs get the top pick. The trigger effect of a franchise could all be about the lottery,or who you pick in the draft. Look at the Blazers in 83 ,and  how they passed up on Jordan,and they made Sam Bowie the top pick. I'm not sure if that franchise has ever gotten over that pick.

As for the Celtics and Tim Duncan. The Celtics would have won NBA championships,but you can't live like that knowing what could have been. The Celtics moved on,and they had some success before the Big 3 formed in 2007. You live and die by what if's as a fan. What if Rondo doesn't get hurt in the Miami series,and what if Perk stay's healthy,and he plays in game 7. What if KG plays in the 2009 playoffs. Just like in life. You must move on,and cope with the loses,and the bad choices of your team.

Only championships can take away past failure,and that's the only way I can cut it. It doesn't hill the cut  completely,but it gives you some closure. I did say the Celtics would have won many titles if they drafted Duncan,but who knows if that would have happened for sure. I'm going by Duncans past,and what talent would be in Boston with Duncan. The dreamed died in 97,and that's really that.


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1 Comment

Reply Ron Leyba
10:32 PM on July 3, 2011 
What a drastic change that could have been for both teams. Nice read