Everyone is sick of seeing teams throw random D-League (now renamed G-League) players into the lineup towards the end of the season to help them tank. The same teams are the bad year in and year out. Teams like the Kings, Sixers and Magic continuously miss the playoffs in hopes of building through constant top five picks. Fixing the NBA’s tanking problem needs to be a priority.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban openly admitted to tanking last season.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything we could to lose games,” Cuban said in an interview with Dan Patrick.
He is one of the few who will admit it, but teams start their season off with this mindset which is where trust the process came from.
Adam Silver has talked about finding a solution to this major problem, but how do you fix NBA tanking? Last year, an article called Tank About It had an outside the box idea to fix tanking, but it wasn’t the most popular of ideas.
Since that wasn’t too popular of an idea here is another one: In life, we are rewarded when we do something well, not when we are the worst of the worst. Getting an “F” in a course doesn’t set oneself up for future success.
There should be an incentive for teams who try to succeed rather than just calling it quits by throwing in players that shouldn’t even be in the NBA. The way to fix the tanking problem in the NBA is by inverting the lottery and giving the teams who attempt to get a championship or make the playoffs an opportunity to take their team to the next level.
How It Works
The inverted lottery would work opposite of the current lottery system. The teams who are one or two great players away from contending for a playoff spot would have the best chance to win the lottery.
The Miami Heat finished the season 30-11 but missed the playoffs. They could have thrown in the towel when they started 11-30, but they didn’t. Their reward for continuing to fight was an end of the lottery pick. Miami only had a 0.5 percent chance of getting the first overall pick.
Phoenix made it totally obvious that they had given up on the season and had a 19.9 percent chance of winning the number one overall pick.
What this entire process says is that once you know you can’t compete, it is not only OK, but rewarding to throw away your season. The NBA will give you a top pick and that way you have a better chance at finding a franchise player and no longer stinking.
The problem with is that Philadelphia hasn’t made the playoffs in five years and some of the streaks are worse. Here are more teams who have long playoff droughts: New York (five seasons), Orlando (five seasons), Phoenix (seven seasons), Sacramento (11 seasons) and Minnesota (13 seasons).
How about rewarding a team who fought as hard as they could, like the Heat did, and inverting the lottery odds. An inversion of odds for the number one overall pick would have looked like this (without trades shown).
Miami Heat 25%
Denver Nuggets 19.9%
Detroit Pistons 15.6%
Charlotte Hornets 11.9%
New Orleans Pelicans 8.8%
Dallas Mavericks 5.3%
Sacramento Kings 5.3%
New York Knicks 2.8 %
Minnesota Timberwolves 1.7%
Orlando Magic 1.1%
Philadelphia 76ers 0.8%
Los Angeles Lakers 0.7%
Phoenix Suns 0.6%
Brooklyn Nets 0.5%
Change of Landscape
Fans of bad teams are going to hate this idea but it would make the league more competitive. The worst position to be in the NBA is in the middle of the pack. Franchises stuck in the middle have no chance at competing for a championship. They also can’t get a player that can take them to the next level at the end of the lottery in the same way a top five pick can.
Teams would no longer throw in the towel, but instead fight even harder because the only way to get the top players from college is by fighting for a playoff spot.
The Heat had a great finish to the season and imagine them adding Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. Denver and Detroit both have good young guards and a franchise big man and still missed the playoffs. Adding Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson to the wing could really make them a threat.
This would make the NBA more competitive, and thus, more exciting. There would be no reason to tank and teams would be forced to do everything they could to be a competitive team. This is an idea that most will probably hate, but would you hate it more than seeing teams tank?
There may never be a perfect answer on how to fix the tanking problem, but the inverted lottery creates incentive.
We all work better when there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“From Our Haus to Yours”
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