One Missed Trade: An NBA TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by OriiGiins, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. OriiGiins Leader of the Van Buren boys.

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    Chapter Twelve: Offseason, Struggles, and Luck
    The first matter of business during the offseason was to determine how to deal with Ron Artest. His indefinite suspension was reduced to season long, and it wasn’t to anyone’s surprise that the Celtics placed him upon the trading block. Eventually, the Celtics settled for a 2003 second round pick in exchange for Artest, as the Los Angeles Clippers wanted any attempt to make their franchise relevant again.

    In the 2002 Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers would end up with the first overall pick and they’d take Yao Ming with the pick, while the Celtics would draft Small Forward Qyntel Woods with the 20th overall pick, a man who would be out of the league in a handful of years, and Power Forward Lonny Baxter with the 43rd overall pick.

    The team was ready to put the 2001-2002 season behind them, the Union Brawl behind them, and ready to make the league and country remember them for their on court play.

    However, injuries would once again rear its ugly head. Tim Duncan would suffer a knee contusion in November that would bother him all year, Tyronn Lue would break his ankle, Jermaine O’Neal would also injure his arm in January. All in all, the changing roster and injured key pieces would see the Celtics only win 31 games, far from the playoffs.

    Kobe tried his best to drag the roster into the playoffs, aiming for even the eighth seed, having numbers of 24.5 PPG and 6.3 APG, but it wasn’t close enough. The Philadelphia 76ers would repeat as champions, finishing off the Tracey McGrady led Spurs in 6 games, as Dirk Nowitzki would surprisingly be named Finals MVP.

    The Boston Celtics would be one of the teams in the league’s lottery, even with slim odds, they were still odds.

    Enter the Blackball lottery.

    The nickname given to the 2003 draft lottery by fans. The Miami Heat would fall into the first overall pick, a lock for high school sensation Lebron James. The Los Angeles Lakers also suffered from injuries, including Shaq’s torn acl, saw them only win 35 games but still get the second overall pick. Then the third overall pick came into the laps of the Boston Celtics.

    “I remember talk around the team was Melo, Darko and Chris. But Tim and Marko couldn’t gel at all in workouts, but Chris and Tim was a dream, so if Melo went to the Lakers, Bosh was our guy.” Kobe remembers the 2003 draft time.

    The Miami Heat surprised no one taking Lebron James. The Los Angeles Lakers would pick Carmelo Anthony, their ideal replacement for Grant Hill who was getting up in age and number of injuries. The Boston Celtics would end up with Chris Bosh, making their frontcourt a terrifying duo of Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh. The Detroit Pistons unfortunately select Darko Milicic and Dwyane Wade would round out the top five to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Willie Green would be picked up with the Clippers pick in the second round and James Jones was picked with their own second round pick.

    Kobe and the Celtics were ready to get themselves back into the elite teams of the league after the previous three years of heartbreak and troublesome.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 10:00 AM
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  2. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

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    How did Boston end up with a lottery pick? They made the playoffs, so their lottery pick had to be acquired via trade.
     
  3. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    Great job flipping James and Wade's teams, love the irony.

    I wonder if James will feel bad for Cleveland, since he's from near there,and go there in 2010.
     
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  4. OriiGiins Leader of the Van Buren boys.

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    They only win 31 games with their injuries, and the 8th seed was the Magic at 42 wins.
     
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  5. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

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    Thanks. I misread the post.

    So no uber Timmy and Kobe in 03 unlike in OTL. Hope 2004's far better for them.

    Also, who's coaching? Still Doc?
     
  6. OriiGiins Leader of the Van Buren boys.

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    I realized it did read a little weird so edited to make more sense and Doc still remains through the troubling seasons as the NBA Finals appearance buys him leeway.
     
  7. OriiGiins Leader of the Van Buren boys.

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    Chapter Thirteen: The Rematch
    The 2003-2004 Season was a chance for the Boston Celtics to become an elite team once again. The play started with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, and they would lead by example.

    Kobe would open the season with a four game span of 43, 32, 40, and 31. It was too early for MVP talks, but it didn’t stop the idea of Kobe snagging his first from happening. However, as time went on, Kobe began to play team ball, as Duncan and rookie Chris Bosh would boost his assist numbers, as they’d feed on points in the paint.

    The emergence of a possible MVP Kobe Bryant finishing with 26.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 6.5 APG, but he’d finish second behind Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh was a nightmare in the paint, as Bosh would finish fourth in Rookie of the year voting, and the Celtics roleplayers and bench would do their jobs and the Celtics would finish with the first seed with a 60-22 record.

    Round one saw the Celtics sweep the young Cleveland Cavaliers in four games, Yao Ming providing trouble on the defensive end, but the Celtics would manage to use everyone to win every game. Next up was the Miami Heat. The first ever showdown in the postseason between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. The Heat would take Game one, as the Celtics respond with a Game Two performance of 40 points from Kobe. Games Three and Four went to the Celtics as Lebron James would make the Heat survive another day in Game Five with a 27, 10 and 5 game. However, game six was a blowout and the Celtics would win the series 4-2 to meet the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Detroit was arguably the best defensive team in the league would provide a tough task for the Celtics to get back to the NBA Finals. The first two games went to the Pistons, as their defense would confuse Kobe who shot 6-13 and 5-16 in both games. With the Pistons effectively taking Kobe out of the equation, the Celtics would look to Duncan to lead the team. Lead he’d do. Games Three and Four would see him post 32 and 11 rebounds and Game Four would see two blocks on Ben Wallace to preserve a one point victory. Game Five saw the Celtics use their three point shooting to win with 12 points, shooting 17-34 from behind the arc. Game Six would be a Pistons win, as Ben Wallace would record seven blocks.

    One game would determine who would go onto meet the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Enter a very risky maneuver by Coach Doc Rivers. Starting Chris Anderson in the Center position, moving Bosh to Small Forward, his task would get Ben Wallace to the free throw line. The famous Hack-A-Shaq tactic, but instead on Wallace who was shooting only 39% from the line in the series. Kobe Bryant would also emerge as his best game of the series, finishing with 28 points. The Celtics would win by only eight and they’d move onto the NBA Finals, for a rematch against the Lakers.

    This time around, they had to go up against Shaquille O’Neal, Manu Ginobili, rookie sensation Carmelo Anthony, and veterans looking to win their first ring in Karl Marlone and Gary Payton. However, Marlone would be dealing with leg injuries all year long and Payton looked way past his prime. Not to mention Grant Hill would be out of the series after injuring his knee against the Timberwolves.

    Game One would go to the Lakers, as Carmelo Anthony would introduce himself to the world by hitting two dagger jump shots to win the game. Game Two would go to the Celtics, thanks to Tim Duncan’s play, 24 points and 11 rebounds. The series would be tied 1-1 going back to Los Angeles.

    Game Three would go to the Celtics again, this time as Kobe Bryant would be the hero, hitting five threes, four of them being in the second half. Game Four would see the series be tied back up 2-2, this time around Karl Marlone would hit two free throws in crunch time to get the win, only finishing with eight points, but seeming to redeem himself from the famous “Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays” incident against the Bulls in the 90s.

    Game Five would go back to Boston, and the Celtics would preserve their home court advantage, nothing as dramatic as the other games, but with a 17 point victory. A 3-2 series lead going back to Los Angeles. The Celtics were one game away from winning yet another NBA Championship, while Kobe was one away from winning his first.

    “Either we were winning Game Six or I’d die.” Kobe on what inspired his famous game.

    “Always the dramatic.” Duncan would laugh at the statement.

    Game Six saw Kobe Bryant post 33 points, on 13-17 shooting. However, it was still a game with 26.7 seconds left, one defensive stop and the Celtics would win the title. The ball would go to Shaq, but a double team from Duncan and Bosh would make him kick it out to Carmelo. Instead of looking for another open player, or getting a better shot, he’d put the shot up as soon as he got the ball and it’d go off the backboard and into the hands of Tim Duncan.

    The Boston Celtics win the series 4-2, capturing their first title in the new century, and allowing Kobe and Duncan to capture their first titles as well. Kobe would be named Finals MVP, most part due to his Game Six performance.

    “I think that title saved our relationship. We weren’t in a huge feud something like you saw with Shaq and Melo. But I was just tired of being Kobe’s second fiddle. On the court, I was fine with being option number two. But being number two to Kobe everywhere, especially with his personality was just tiring. My contract was up in 2006, and I was heavily considering leaving. But that title showed me that even if I have to deal with his shenanigans more often than I’d like too, we could get it done.”

    Notes:

    Quick update as this was a fun one to write, Always was going to have Kobe/Celtics’ first ring to be over Shaq and the Lakers, so the rematch worked. Enjoyed as always.
     
  8. volantredx Well-Known Member

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    The Celtics wining a ring makes this the darkest timeline on this site.
     
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  9. eldandythedoubter Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to disagree with this. The TrailBlazers on the other hand.
     
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  10. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

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    I could see how even the unflappable Tim Duncan would get tired of Kobe.
     
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  11. OriiGiins Leader of the Van Buren boys.

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    Chapter Fourteen: League MVP and Repeat
    The off-season didn’t see much change for the newly crowned NBA Champions. They resigned Chris Anderson, Jermaine O’Neal and picked up Derek Fisher from the Los Angeles Lakers to replace Tyronn Lue who signed with the Miami Heat.

    The draft didn’t see any splashes for the Celtics, picking Jackson Vroman with the thirty overall pick and Luis Flores with the fifty third. The rest of the draft saw the Los Angeles Clippers take Dwight Howard with the first overall pick, and Andre Iguodala go to the Phoenix Suns with the seventh overall pick.

    The regular season was Kobe Bryant’s. His shooting turned even deadlier and his overall rounded team gave him amazing assist numbers. In the month of December, he’d have a stretch of 42, 37, 44, 50 and 32. The end of the regular season saw the Celtics finish with a 65-17 record, easily enough for the first seed while Kobe would capture his first League MVP award with 29.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 5.6 APG.

    The New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards stood no chance in the first two rounds, as Boston would sweep both of them. This set up a match with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, another showdown between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.

    The first two games would go to the Celtics, as another sweep looked on hand for them, but Lebron James would post 34 and 31 to match Kobe’s 30 and 27 in Games Three and Four to tie the series back up at 2-2.

    Game Five saw a cold shooting night from Kobe at 5-17, however Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh would pick up the scraps, abusing Lamar Odom in the paint to both finish with 26 points each, and lead the Celtics to one game away from a second straight NBA Finals appearance.

    Game Six would be a blowout in favor of the Celtics. Kobe Bryant would make up for his poor game five with a shooting performance of 11-17, finishing with 28 points. Chris Bosh would finish with a double double at 22 and 11 and Chris Anderson would play his best game yet in the league with 18 points and 6 blocks. The Boston Celtics would once again take care of Lebron James and the Heat in six games, and once again make it to the NBA Finals.

    There awaited a surprise in the Minnesota Timberwolves. The fifth seeded team would beat the Dallas Mavericks in six, upset the Phoenix Suns in seven, and survive a battle against the San Antonio Spurs in seven to reach their first ever Finals.

    However, as much as Kevin Garnett tried, they stood no chance against Boston. The team was tired from playing twenty games, and they were simply just outmatched. Games One and Two would be 20+ blowouts, Game Three would be closer, but a miss from Garnett that rolled off the rim and into Kobe’s hands sealed the deal, and Game Four would be only an 11 point victory, but it still wasn’t close for Minnesota as the Celtics would finish with a 16-2 postseason, and Kobe would capture his second straight Finals MVP award.