CAN’T WIN FOR LOSING

Sometimes after arguing with friends or the television (or internet) about matters that involve sports and their interesting transactions I’m convinced that I can run a professional team. I’m sure I’m not alone, in fact I’m almost sure I’m in the majority with most fans around the country.

Parker and Wiggins at the McDonalds All-American game

That said, there is a school of thought that seems to be widely promoted and supported that I can’t really seem to understand. What is that you may ask..? Tanking. Teams feeling like they should lose as many games as possible to get a better chance at a good draft pick. It’s become a trendy idea around the league again this year especially because the NBA draft this upcoming summer of 2014 will have “franchise players” Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins at the top . Both freshman, who look like they will be stars in the NBA and will probably dominate the conversation in college basketball for the majority of the year in some “can you top this” sort of weekly showcase. Awesome; can’t wait for that.

In the meantime there will probably be a bunch of NBA teams losing games on purpose in hopes to turn they’re struggling or middle of the road team into a title contender. Here’s where I have a problem. Why would you want to remove yourself from contention and alienate your fan base by losing games on purpose? The race for last place doesn’t really make sense when the NBA draft is decided by a lottery. Nor does it make sense to give a half-assed effort for an entire season and lose fans in the process.

Now I won’t go as far as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski did and pull the patriotic card, but I’m still very much against losing to get a better draft position. There is reportedly an NBA GM who believes that his team has a better chance of winning down the road by trading away players they don’t want, losing as many games as possible and drafting which ever player proves to be the next great NBA star for this generation.

But take a look at a team like Indiana. They were a middle of the pack team and no one could have predicted that they would make it to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Their 3 best players Paul George (10th pick in 2010), Roy Hibbert (17th pick in ’08) and Lance Stephenson (40th pick in 2010) weren’t world beaters or franchise changers when they were picked. Nobody would seriously think that Paul George was a superstar until he played up to LeBron’s level. And the trade for David West and George Hill is what really pushed the Pacers into the the elite category. For the record I’m not promoting the other school of thought: trade away all your young talented players for veterans and try to win a championship through the free agent market. Only two teams have actually made that work (Heat and Celtics) and teams like the Nets are failing miserably trying to duplicated. The Brooklyn Nets might have the most deep team based on roster, but brought in a coach who could’t even make an open layup last year in the playoffs to manage a coach killler and possibly the greatest trash talker on the planet. But I digress.

Indianapolis is definitely not a big market team or a dream destination, they’re just smart when it comes to building a team. The same goes for teams like the Spurs and Oklahoma City. The trait they all share is patience, which most teams don’t seem to exhibit when making decisions.

NBA Draft Lottery

So is tanking a good idea for an NBA team? Well ask teams like the Sacramento Kings or the Washington Wizards. Perrenial bottom feeders that drafted players (Demarcus Cousins for Sac-town and John Wall and Bradley Beal for the Generals Bullets Wizards) who were supposed to be saviors to their respective franchises. In theory you could end up with LeBron, Durant or Rose by tanking, but what happens if you plan for that and don’t get it?

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