The Los Angeles Lakers have won 16 championships in their illustrious history, trailing only the Boston Celtics (17) when counting up NBA teams’ total titles. On one hand, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to change very much, if anything, about the steps that led to that much success.
On the other hand, though: What if things hadn’t gone exactly as they have? What if there were a few tweaks in the journey that led the Lakers to where they are today? Would there be any way to improve the franchise’s title count with a couple of moves going differently?
Those questions were essentially at the center of SB Nation’s “What If?” Week, where team blogs across our network took a look back throughout their franchise’s history to see what might have changed had certain things gone differently for their teams.
The Lakers have no shortage of such scenarios. From the Chris Paul trade veto, to Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury, to Dwight Howard leaving in free agency, or the time Magic Johnson nearly tried to force a trade to the New York Knicks, there are plenty of inflection points during the purple and gold’s path to this moment that could have altered the team’s trajectory for better or worse. For “What If?” Week, we took a look back at all of those moments and a whole lot more, and tried to figure out what they would have changed for the Lakers (if anything).
You can check out all of those stories below, and be sure to let us know in the comments of them whether you think they would have changed anything for the team, or if you wouldn’t want to, and are just happy with the way reality has progressed to this point.