I have the solution to NBA tanking (Sorry Mr. Silver, I know we aren’t suppose to call it that). Stop rewarding it. Simple. It’s interesting to me that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hates the word tanking and the idea of it yet the NBA, like other professional sports, only encourages it by rewarding the teams with the worst record. It’s nothing new. Sure, the NBA is trying to tweak the lottery by giving the bottom 3 teams an equal shot at that number 1 pick but you are still rewarding awful teams. I have a plan in place and it’s very simple. Reward the best teams that miss the playoffs.
This is not the first time I have proposed this and it won’t be the last. If the NBA or any sport for that matter truly want to eliminate tanking then they’ll give this a listen. So, this year for example, the Nuggets were the best team to miss the playoffs. They would get the 1st pick while the Suns would get the 14th. The playoff teams would stay the same so 15 through 30. Teams at the bottom suddenly have something to play for even when they are 13-40. Fans would get to see a team fighting for a better pick rather than rooting for losses in front of an empty stadium.
One counter to my simple plan is this “how will bad teams ever get better?” I get it; if the crappy teams are not given an opportunity to gain solid players in the draft they could suffer for quite some time. But take a look at this short rundown:
2009 NBA Draft- Stephen Curry drafted 7th in 1st round.
DeMar DeRozen drafted 9th in 1st round.
2010 NBA Draft – Gordon Hayward drafted 9th in 1st round.
Paul George drafted 10th in 1st round
2011 NBA Draft – Klay Thompson drafted 11th in 1st round
Kawhi Leonard drafted 15th in 1st round.
The point? Great players like these were not touted as franchise saving guys yet each of them can easily make a case as a top 10 player in the NBA. Even if a bad team like, say, Phoenix is among the leagues worst with a 13th or 14th pick they could still find a guy. Sure, the odds are not great that he’ll turn them around in one season but it’s possible. However instead of “trying” to lose a handful of games maybe Phoenix could have tried to win them and get to a top ten where perhaps the next Paul George, Hayward or DeRozen is hiding. This would likely make for a longer rebuilding process but we can finally put tanking to bed as there is no more incentive to lose. No more lottery balls, no more lucky rabbits feet and no more tanking!