SPANISH HARLEM – The other day I read an article that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to teams in the league warning that tanking will not be tolerated. Former General Manager Sam Hinke started this trend when he openly stated that the Philadelphia 76ers would look to rebuild through the draft. Hinke knew that the best way to add talent would be to improve his chances at the draft and in doing so made tanking a necessity for bad teams. We all knew the best chances for the #1 pick would go to the worst team in the league, so when organizations knew they had a bad team, they took their chances by losing the most games possible.
This is a problem the NBA created it when they designed their present NBA Draft Lottery. Before the hard salary cap was implemented, organizations could try to rebuild through free agency. That’s not the case anymore. Now the most efficient way to rebuild is through the draft, where you can get a kid with a lot of potential on a rookie contract. This allows teams to keep a good young player at a cost-effective price. It essentially left certain organizations with no other option.
The worst thing about this is that you can’t tell the media that you are tanking, yet do so behind closed doors. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, recently stated on a podcast that he told his players that the team would be looking to tank the rest of the season to secure their best chances at the #1 pick. Is he wrong? No. The best player in the history of the organization, Dirk Nowitzki is closer to retirement than winning a playoff game. Ownership knows this. The players know this. Even their fans know that while tanking is not fun to watch, it’s the best way to rebuild. So what’s wrong with saying it out loud?
Adam Silver will tell you it’s about integrity. That all teams should try to win all their games, yet the lottery is rigged to help the worst teams.
All good businesses know the best way to make money is by having a great product that people want -and in this case – what people want to see. Any team that receives the #1 pick will sell more tickets because the fans will be sold on the potential of that player. Making the right pick can turn a team around very quickly. Some of you may remember players that were picked later in the draft that became All-Stars and/or Hall of Famers but your chances increase at a quality player the higher you are in the draft.
I don’t know what the correct structure is for the draft but one thing that will stop teams from tanking is evening the odds for all that fail to make the playoffs. That way, teams can win games without having to worry what it will to do them in the long run. One thing is for sure, as long as this structure remains, teams will do their best to lose games.
Sorry Adam Silver, this is one of the hard parts of your job. Change it or say nothing.
That’s it. Leave a comment and come back tomorrow for something stellar again. Also, you can find us on Twitter @BuddyDiaz19, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook pages, Meet The Matts & Buddy Diaz.