In the last six years, we can think of numerous instances our franchise would have likely gone a completely different route had, what if, come to fruition. What if the Hornets had beaten the Spurs in the 2007-08 Conference Semifinals? What if Tyson Chandler wasn't beset by injuries the following year? What if David Stern hadn't nixed the Chris Paul to the Lakers deal? What if Tom Benson hadn't purchased the franchise?
There are definitely some good ones to choose from. However, my favorite has to be the one that landed us the youngest franchise player in the league. Yep, a what if scenario that played out perfectly. Just over a year ago, the Hornets found themselves the winners of the upcoming NBA draft. We were extremely fortunate to cash in on the meager 13.7% chance to seize the rights to draft Anthony Davis.
Now imagine, for a moment, what if those NBA lottery balls had bounced differently? What if New Orleans had ended up drafting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal or, gulp, Thomas Robinson?
We'd probably currently be discussing how Victor Oladipo, or perhaps Otto Porter, are another important building block in a painstakingly long rebuild. Two early draft picks the past few seasons, offering a glimmer of hope, but most of the attention would be focused on the upcoming 2014 draft. Undoubtedly, the majority of us would be advocating more mileage for the freshly-driven tank, so that we could increase the odds on landing a future savior -- say Andrew Wiggins.
Think that's the bad case scenario? Nah, it could be infinitely worse. For instance, let's fathom Tom Benson is 100% against a long rebuild, as he isn't remotely interested in postponing maximum profits for several years. Consequently, this past off-season, we still end up signing a Tyreke Evans, or worse, trading future assets for a Jrue Holiday. What then?
Our beloved franchise starts down the path of eternal mediocrity. Good enough to fill some seats, create some buzz, but bad enough to never, ever, construct real championship aspirations. With the passing of each disappointing season, New Orleans would fall further into the abyss. Despite good coaching and intelligent front office decisions, the franchise's fortunes fail to dramatically change. Notable free agents aren't interested in signing, while players on rookie contracts, sit ready by the door with their luggage.
Thankfully, we don't have to give more than a fleeting thought about any of these ghastly alternatives. New Orleans, and fans all over, were fortunate to have the right what if scenario play out to a tee. On May 30, 2012, New Orleans had the correct four number combination drawn from the drum: 6-4-9-7. I'll always remember this sequence. It opened the pearly gates to Anthony Davis.