The guys at Project Spurs are putting together a week-long tribute to David Robinson leading up to his Hall of Fame induction this weekend. After Robinson was drafted, he faced a choice: sign with the Spurs, or sit out the two years of his stint with the Navy without signing and become an unrestricted free agent at the end of it. One rumored possibility for Robinson was Boston. So I was asked to figure out what would have happened if he had chosen to spurn the Spurs, and join the Celtics. Here's part of what I came up with.
The 1989-90 Celtics without David Robinson finished a game behind
the Philadelphia 76'ers. With D-Rob, the C's would have easily passed
Philly. They would have beaten Cleveland in the first round to face
Chicago in the 2nd round. At that point, Scottie Pippen was only in
his 2nd year. Bill Cartright, Horace Grant, and Stacey King would have
been absolutely no match for Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and David
Robinson. Jordan would have done his damage, but Bird would have too.
The Celtics easily march past the Bulls to meet the "Bad Boy" Pistons.
Again, the C's with their front court would dominate the Pistons in
the paint. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars would inflict their damage, but
not enough to overpower the Celtics. They march on after a hard-fought
win to face Portland in the Finals. Portland would have been just as
overwhelmed and just as overmatched. The Celtics regain their
championship form, and start the 89-90 season with a title.
From there, I take things all the way to the 2006 season. Paul Pierce still manages to stay a Celtic, but Tim Duncan becomes a Nugget, and KG becomes a Spur (after they deal with Derrick Coleman)… but he also wins a title after being traded away to an Atlantic Division team (not Boston).
It's a wild ride that I hope you'll enjoy. One thing is for sure, Robinson in Boston would have changed just about everything we know about today's NBA.