Sorry, I realize there is little intrinsic value to reflecting back on missed opportunities, but damn, its so much fun.
So, the 1995-1996 Bullets went 39-43, with Howard averaging 22 and 8 (at age 22), Webber only playing 15 games, but averaging 23 and 7 (at age 22), Rasheed Wallace averaging 10 and 5 in 27 minutes (at age 21), Gheorge Muresan averaging 14 a game (at age 24), and Calbert Cheaney averaging 15 a game (at age 24).
The Bullets would have had the #12 overall pick in the draft that year, but the summer before they had traded their first round pick to Cleveland for Mark Price. Price would go on to play 7 total games for the Bullets. (In an unrelated note, according to bballreference Price was only 30 when he came to the Wizards. Didn't it seem like he was with the Cavaliers for at least 10 years? Strange that he was as washed up as he was seeing that he was only 30.)
So, imagine the Bullets don't trade the pick to Cleveland for Mark Price. They would be drafting 12th with a loaded roster. They could have done what the Cavs did with the pick, and drafted Vitaly Potapenko, or, they could have drafted the guy who wound up going #13...................Kobe Bryant.
The Bullets traded Wallace for Rod Strickland in the summer of 1996. Lets assume they don't. (As much as I loved Strickland his first two seasons, the trade was awful long-term.)
Can you imagine? A nucleus of Bryant, Webber and Wallace. All Kobe has ever wanted was to be THE MAN. Chris Webber always considered himself an elite player, except when the going got tough, in which case he needed Jalen Rose and Mike Bibby to make the big shots. Rasheed Wallace has always had elite talent, but never cared to carry a franchise,
In hindsight, a trio of Kobe, Webber and Wallace would have been in a perfect situation to complement each other. Kobe the alpha dog, Webber the talented yet selfless (passive) sidekick, and Wallace the ultra talented but complacent complementary player.
Would the Bullets became the new dynasty that follows the Bulls?
I know this sounds like a lot of "ifs", but its really not. Just don't trade for Mark Price. Since Price never played for us, it is safe to assume we would wind up with the same record, and pick in the same spot. And then have the same chance at Kobe. Oh well. It did not happen. Sad.