The NBA season is coming to an end soon, about 20 games left, give or take for each team. This is the time of the year where you see teams start to tank their season.
Tanking is where a team that is at the bottom of the standings will purposely play poorly in order to try and get a better draft pick, or lottery pick, in the NBA Draft.
This season it seems to be worse than it has in many years.
Currently, there are eight teams with 21 or fewer wins. These teams are on pace to win fewer than 30 games. Possibly nine teams, with the New York Knicks sitting at 24-40 as of March 6. This has never happened in an 82-game season.
In the 2011-12 season, a season that saw 66 games due to the lockout, eight teams win less than 35.3 percent of their games, which would be equivalent to 29 games in an 82-game season.
In a letter to all 30 teams, according to the Washington Post, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that tanking “has no place in our game” and any team that shows proof of tanking will be “met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”
The NBA as already punished and finned Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for admitting that he told the team that “losing is our best option.”
As I stated earlier, teams tank in order to try and get the worst record as they try to get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The NBA will put a new anti-tank rule in places effective in 2019. Currently, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, with the next two teams getting a 19.9 percent chance and 15.6 percent chance, respectively. In 2019, the three teams with the worst record will all have a 14 percent chance to receive the No. 1 pick.
The problem I see is that this won’t stop teams tanking. Yes, the odds are lower for them if they finish in the top three for the lottery, but now teams only have to tank to make the top three. They still will tank, but just as much as the past years.
Determining the winner, 14 ping pong balls number 1-14 are placed in a lottery machine and four balls are randomly drawn. Just like most traditional lotteries, the order that numbers come out does not matter. There is a total of 1,001 combinations. One of those combinations is disregarded, 11-12-13-14 (again in any order), and the remaining 1,000 are distributed through the 14 non-playoff NBA teams.
If a team such as the Brooklyn Nets do not own a first-round pick, the team that owns that pick will pick instead. The Cleveland Cavaliers currently own that pick after a series of trades throughout the years. The first being a trade with the Boston Celtics that involved the Nets first round pick and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in 2013. Boston would then use that pick as part of the Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas trade this past year.
Overall, teams tank all the time. They know that they aren’t ready to make a playoff push so they try to build their team with young talent and develop them and try to be ready in a few years. The only thing I would like to see is that they don’t make it so obvious. At least give an effort during games.