Tanking is a touchy subject around NBA circles. But, one would have to be extremely naive to think that teams who know that the odds of their franchise winning a title are 99-1 don’t see the benefit in the race to be last at times. The teams with the worst record in the NBA are entered into a lottery system for the number one pick. Obviously as seen with Derrick Rose to the Bulls, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving to the Cavs or Kevin Durant to the Thunder – sorry Blazers fans, I know it still hurts that you passed up on KD for Greg Oden – that in the right year, you can change your team’s whole trajectory.
Our team isn’t good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes — and get us in position to grab a great player. The best way for us to do that is to lose a lot of games. This draft is loaded. There are potential All-Stars at the top, maybe even franchise changers. Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing.
We’re not alone. Look at the 76ers. Since the draft in June, I don’t think they’ve signed a player or made a trade to add a legitimate player. A bunch of us realize that our teams aren’t good enough talentwise to do anything. You’re going to be bad. There’s no way around it. And even if you finish 0-82, there’s still a 75 percent chance you don’t get the No. 1 pick. We’re just going to take our lumps and hope our number gets called.
It’s not just the first pick, Look at Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook, both of those guys were top 5 picks. Maybe the NBA should open up the lottery to any team minus the two that competed for the NBA finals. That way the benefit of tanking is gone.
But nobody should be surprised that this thought process exists. It’s what rebuilding is.