Perhaps the biggest "what-if" in Wizards history is "What if John Wall never broke his hand in Game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semifinals?"
The Wizards were playing the 60-win Hawks led by Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, but Washington was expected to be a tough out thanks to the ascension of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Wall suffered five fractures in his left hand and wrist and it derailed the Wizards, who would eventually lose the series in six games.
Marcin Gortat was the starting center for that 2014-15 team and thinks that if Wall was healthy, Washington could have gone all the way to the NBA Finals.
"I truly believe if he stayed healthy then we could definitely go to the conference finals. And who knows? Maybe the NBA Finals," Gortat said to Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast.
The Wizards went 1-2 without Wall in the series, and their only win came on Paul Pierce's epic buzzer-beater in which he "called game." Wall was sorely missed, and when he came back he obviously wasn't the same player since, you know, he was playing with one hand.
"John's injury changed everything," he said. "He tried to play through that injury but you can't play with one hand. That's crazy, and he was still trying to do it."
Could the Wizards have beaten the Hawks with a healthy Wall? Absolutely. Washington won Game 1 on the road, and even when Wall played hurt in Games 5 and 6, the Wizards played the Hawks tight and could have come away with a win in either contest.
But an NBA Finals berth? That's a bit farfetched. Remember, that was the first year of LeBron James' second stint with the Cavaliers.
James and Kyrie Irving swept the Hawks in the conference finals playing without an injured Kevin Love, and James nearly beat the Warriors by himself in the Finals after Irving went down with a fractured kneecap in Game 1.
Still, the Wizards would've matched up better with the Cavs than Atlanta did -- with Gortat and Nene protecting the paint and Wall and Beal giving Irving and the Cleveland backcourt consistent two-way pressure.
It's all in the past now, and if 2015 ends up being the closest the Wizards get to an NBA Finals trip with Wall and Beal leading the way, it would be a real shame an injury kept those two players from showing out on the biggest stage.
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