An NBA Conversation with my Future Self


Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles shoots against the Adelaide 36ers during the first half during an NBA exhibition basketball game Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Who are you and how did you get in my apartment?

I’m you from this upcoming June. The NBA Finals just ended and I’m here to tell you everything that happened this year so you can place sure-fire bets and make us rich.

I guess that explains why you have a key to this place. Wow, so how’s post grad-life? Where are you working?

Well-uh… I’m taking some serious time to find myself, you know?

Has mom kicked you out of the house yet?

Listen, I came back to help you get rich. I can leave if you want.

No, that sounds great. I’m very poor right now.

Oh, I remember.

This is insane. And right as I’m watching Back to the Future II! What a crazy coincidence.

Yeah, sure it’s crazy.

Hey, do you mind if a make this into my column for tomorrow? I’m running out of ideas and I need money to eat.

I guess that’s fine. I feel like Mike will question it but I don’t see why not.

Golden State definitely wins the title again, right?

Yeah, but it’s not as easy as you would think. Houston gives them a strong six games in the Western Conference Finals and our Celtics take them to seven games. Klay has a stretch of bad games but Durant and Curry are just too much to handle. DeMarcus Cousins never looks fully recovered from his Achilles injury. To be honest, we really shouldn’t be that surprised. Kobe’s Achilles injury was what really started his decline and Elton Brand was on his way to a potential hall-of-fame career before he ruptured his. Turns out it’s pretty important.

So, the Celtics are definitely keeping Kyrie Irving?

I keep forgetting that was ever a concern. Yeah, he’s definitely staying. He has another All-Star caliber season, drops 50 points on Christmas Day and ends up going blow-for-blow with Curry for most of the Finals. He loves it here and loves the young guys. Besides, the Celtics can always offer the most money. You shouldn’t be worried.

Who wins MVP?

Anthony Davis does. He said he was the best player in the NBA and he sure acts like it this season. I still think the Pelicans would have been right to try to keep Cousins, but this roster is much more suited for Davis’ strengths without him in the fold. In this day and age of the NBA, having two big men with overlapping skillsets is overkill. Davis is perfectly capable of dominating the frontcourt by himself like did during their first round series against Portland last year. He basically does it for an 82-game season now.

The roster around him just makes more sense this year as well. Cousins and Rajon Rondo both went west and with Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic there’s no lack of shooters, basically turning the 2019 Pelicans into a Cajun-style version of the 2009 Orlando Magic. Davis wreaks havoc down low, and when doubled, usually has an open shooter to kick the rock to.

Giannis comes in a close second though. After a stretch of truly horrendous coaches, Mike Budenholzer is the first one to truly unlock his full potential. Budenholzer uses what he learned as an assistant under Popovich and puts Giannis at the power forward and center positions a lot. Like Boris Diaw, Paul Millsap and Al Horford before him, Giannis becomes a great passing big man and makes use of the great shooters around him like Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon.

Does Jimmy Butler end up getting traded?

No, in the ultimate case on an anticlimactic conclusion, he ends up staying the entire year in Minnesota. Miami is constantly brought up in trade talks but no one can ultimately agree and Thibs threatens violence if the deal goes though.

So Butler stays the entire year, puts up another season of MVP-like numbers, and Towns and Wiggins avoid eye contact with him for 82 games. Everyone in Minnesota knows he is leaving in July and ultimately agrees it was a lost season without a playoff appearance to show for all the drama.

How do the LeBron-led Lakers do?

Meh, they end up the fifth seed in the West. They’re fun to watch at times but by December everyone realizes their roster construction makes absolutely no sense. It’s a mix of veterans that can’t shoot and young guys still growing into their bodies that can’t defend.

If this team was moved several thousands mile east to Cleveland everyone would agree that there would need to be a national rescue operation to save LeBron. Brandon Ingram takes major steps and even garners some Most Improved Player consideration, but mostly it’s LeBron’s dominance alone that carries LA to the playoffs.

Do the Spurs end up making the playoffs for a 22nd consecutive year?

Why are you doubting Gregg Popovich? Of course they do. Even with injuries to Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker and Derrick White, the Spurs somehow find a way. Although, I did have my doubts when Pop signed Gilbert Arenas after their 18th point guard of the season went down with another knee injury.

They finished two games back of the West’s third seed last year despite Kawhi Leonard only playing nine games. They’re now pairing LaMarcus Aldridge with DeMar DeRozan, which gives them one more All-Star than they had for 73 games last year. They barely end up beating out Portland for one of the last spots in the West after they trade Damian Lillard.

Wait, what?

Oh yeah. Your friends are going to try to get you to go into Boston with them on January 2. Do not let them. It’s an all-time NBA Twitter night.

In an insanely stacked Western Conference, the Trailblazers realize they have no possible path to contention for the next several years and decide to trade former All-NBA first team selection Lillard to New York. In a very Knicksian move, the Knicks think Lillard’s acquisition will guarantee Kevin Durant signing there this summer. The Knicks end up shipping out Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and several future firsts. The Trailblazers accept it because they convince themselves it’s the start of core that can be ready to contend once Golden State disbands.

What else crazy things happen?

Five words: Joe Ingles. Seventy-point game.

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