To tank or not to tank?
That’s what teams are left trying to figure out at the end of disappointing seasons. For some organizations, the entire season is one big tank fest as they rebuild and try to bring some youth and cheap labor to their re-growing roster (see: Bobcats, Charlotte). For other teams, the season just hasn’t gone their way and they go with a “change in direction” for their organization so they start focusing on “the young talent” on the roster (see: Suns, Phoenix). Teams would never admit to tanking because it’s a nightmare in terms of selling your product.
Also, you can’t tell players not to try hard unless they’re Michael Olowokandi. In that situation, he’s WAY ahead of you. You have to finagle the roster and the lineups as an organization to put out a crappy product. But you can’t come out and tell the coaching staff that a guy isn’t allowed to play because you want a higher draft pick. Players get “held out with injuries” because it’s an easier sell than being “held out with hopes of landing a top-3 pick.”
I don’t have a problem with tanking either. I wish the system wasn’t constructed in a way that promotes tanking. I’d rather have an unweighted lottery because it wouldn’t give teams any incentive to put out a crappy product the last three weeks of the regular season. But the system is what the system is. You get more beer pong balls by losing more games and that means more chances at putting together the right combination to win the draft lottery. As long as the system is this way, you would be stupid not to tank in most cases. Continue Reading…