The Portland Trail Blazers own some of the greatest what-if moments in NBA history. They have just missed out on drafting multiple legendary players, including the GOAT, and have been bitten by the injury bug one too many times. Yes, Portland has employed some all-time greats, but they only have one championship to show for it.
Things could have been extremely different if they nailed the draft. The issues date back to the franchise’s inception in the 1970s and should be a key lesson for the current Blazers. They are never going to be a free-agent destination, which makes the draft and trades that much more important.
Fans know some of the biggest what-ifs, but what has been forgotten about over the years? How would it have changed the Blazers’ history?
Ranking biggest what-ifs in Portland Trail Blazers history
14. What if Jusuf Nurkic stays healthy in 2019?
The Trail Blazers made a surprising run to the conference finals in 2019, and they did it without their starting center. Jusuf Nurkic suffered a season-ending leg injury in March, which left Portland with Enes Kanter and Myers Leonard as their center duo in the playoffs. Nurkic was in the middle of the best year of his career, and he could have been a difference-maker in the postseason.
Does Portland have a shot against the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals with a healthy Nurkic? They got swept, and the Dubs would have played him off the floor by downsizing. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both got hurt during that run, and the Warriors were upset by the Raptors in the NBA Finals. Could that have happened one round earlier with Nurkic? Fans will never know, but it is a fun what-if to kick off this list.