Tanking the Off-Season?
Towards the end of every season, teams are accused of tanking for higher odds of winning the NBA Lottery or for a higher draft pick in the NFL. Analysts are always trying to come up with a better system that would prevent teams from losing on purpose, but the truth is that losing games on purpose to improve your draft status is part of the game. With that being said, NBA teams are taking it to another level this year by tanking the off-season. Teams have set themselves up for being absolutely terrible this upcoming season. The process works as follows: Step 1) trade your best players, step 2) trade for bad contracts and bad players, and step 3) do not sign any talented free agents. Here are the top five teams that have followed these steps to perfection.
1) Philadelphia 76ers – The 76ers are rebuilding, that much is obvious. They traded their best player, Jrue Holiday, on draft night to the New Orleans Pelicans and made no attempt to resign Andrew Bynum. Michael Carter Williams, the 11th pick in the draft, is not ready to lead an NBA team but has plenty of potential. Nerlens Noel will start the year on bench and will only contribute on the defensive side of the court. Add everything up and they are going to be terrible next season; but their odds of drafting Andrew Wiggins will be very good.
2) Boston Celtics – The Celtics lost their coach and traded two future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Rondo is going to start the year on the bench and might consider a “D-Rose” special and sit out the entire season. They have a young coach that will be coaching a younger team. It is going to be a rough first season. The Boston Celtics should be careful though, they tanked many years ago when a power forward was coming out of Wake Forest (Tim Duncan) and that did not work out as expected.
3) Utah Jazz – When the Jazz did not trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson last season, many thought it was a mistake. Now that both players signed with other teams this off-season, not trading them can be labeled a huge mistake. The Jazz used all of that cap space to trade for all of Golden State’s bad contracts which prevents them from going after any free agents. This team could be very exciting next year because of their youth, but their record is going to be bad.
4) Milwaukee Bucks – Gotta love the Bucks; they can’t even tank right. They have lost Reddick and Monta Ellis, but signed O.J. Mayo. Why? Mayo is a good player, but he is not a game changer. The Bucks should be signing their own young point guard in Jennings. The Bucks have been irrelevant for many years and should be tanking for a shot at Wiggins.
5) L.A. Lakers – The Lakers will start the season without 60% of their 2013 starting lineup. Kobe will miss the first 2-3 months of the season and Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are not getting any younger. All three of those are out of the Lakers control, but by amnestying Metta World Peace, the Lakers are waving the white flag. Sure they have signed some players to one year contracts, but it is obvious the Lakers are looking at this year as lost. The Lakers are tanking, but not for the Draft, but to have the salary cap to go after a big fish: Lebron, Melo, Bosh, or Wade.
Ruben Parga @RFParga82