I hate the idea of a team deliberatly losing games to get better draft picks. Could you imagine being a coach and saying “Guys, don’t try too hard. Start missing some shots. We don’t want a winning record this season.”? Should the draft rules be rewritten to avoid teams making a mockery of the sport?
There are teams who, through their best earnest well-intentioned efforts, make a mockery of the sport. How are you going to prove anyone took a dive?
Team’s don’t deliberately lose games to get better draft picks. No player goes out there and under performs in order for the team to get his replacement while undermining his own value. Owners might put together sub par teams hoping for losses but no coach or player is going to go out there and suck on purpose.
And beyond that, if the obligation of the team and the team’s management is to win games, isn’t tanking after the season’s effectively over, in line with that obligation?
I mean if the wins are meaningless (i.e. won’t get them into the playoff), isn’t the obligation to set themselves up as well as possible for the following season?
I’m not necessarily advocating deliberately putting effort into losing games, but I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to begin starting your backups in that case, if only to avoid injuring your marquee players. Plus, it gives your backups more playing time, which only helps the following season.
The current methods using lottery draws work fine. Honest to God tanking is really quite rare, or is indistinguishable from a rational strategy of “get rid of the veteran who will never help us win a championship and play the kid who might suck now but will help us someday when it matters.”
The Philadelphia 76ers are truly abysmal beyond belief but they’ve been bad for so long, picking up draft picks, that it’s beginning to just look like they’re legitimately a terrible organization.
Looking at the last ten seasons, 8 of the last place NFL teams fired their head coach. The only two that didn’t had coaches on their first season. 5 of them fired their GM.
I think that gives enough incentive to not tank.
It’s been two and a quarter seasons, and they came right out and said this is what they were going to do.
One simple solution is to give every team in the lottery the same odds. While you could argue that there might be some teams in the 7th-8th playoff spot range that would be better served trying for a 1/14 chance at each of the top few picks, 1/14 is a hell of a lot less than 25% (currently the odds of the worst team in the NBA getting the #1 overall pick).
Another solution which would never be implemented in the American sports leagues is to use the relegation/promotion system.
Yeah, the 76ers are openly, purposefully tanking. And they are second to none at constructing a terrible roster. The problem is they don’t know what to do next. Should they draft good players? When they have, those players were immediately traded for crap.
What should be done about this? Nothing. Let them tank. Their attendance sucks. They are a joke in the league. Sucks to be their fans. But let me tell you, it sucks even worse being a Browns fan when your team tanks year after year *without *trying.
But who really cares if the teams at the bottom of the league tank - the spectacle of teams fighting to avoid qualifying for the playoffs would be pretty rank.
I’ve been a Sixers fan for 20 whatever years. It sucks a lot less to hope for Karl Towns or Ben Simmons than it did to watch this team.
I think people have a weird disconnect about whether the organization “knows what to do next” or not. People look at their roster and, somehow, even though they’ve usually just said that the Sixers have a bad roster by design, they see the names on the roster and decide that the organization doesn’t know what it’s doing. But you just said they were tanking on purpose! This is what that looks like! If their point guard was still Jrue Holiday or if Thad Young was still around, that wouldn’t be tanking. And it’s not like the players on the court are all of their assets. Many of the “good players” they’ve acquired and then gotten rid of (Michael Carter-Williams sucks, as it happens) have turned into more valuable assets – like a Lakers’ first round pick.
In the coming draft, they have their own pick (probably #1 odds), the Lakers’ unless it’s in the top 3 (in which case it’s unprotected the next year), the Heat’s unless it’s top 10, and the Thunder’s unless it’s top 15. They also have the right to swap their own with Sacramento if it’s a better pick, and to swap the Heat or Thunder pick with the Warriors’ if it’s somehow better (which it won’t be). The next year, they have the right to swap first rounders with the Kings, and the next year, they have their own pick and the Kings’ pick. In the midst of all that, they got their own first rounder back for basically nothing, which they had to do because the previous regime which was hell-bent on the 7th seed in the playoffs every year had traded it away.
They also have Embiid, who maybe never pans out but if he’s healthy is a very good player, and Dario Saric, who will come over next year and is probably at least a solid contributor.
I think the Okafor pick was a mistake, and thought so at the time. But it’s really obvious that what they’re doing is what they’ve been doing all along, and it’s working. Noel, Okafor and Jerami Grant are at least potentially legit NBA starters. Covington, Wroten, and some of the rookies, maybe. Add maybe the #1 overall pick (which they haven’t hit on yet, and which would have changed things appreciably had they done so) next year, maybe an additional high first rounder, Saric and Embiid, and not only would they not look like they don’t know what they’re doing, but they wouldn’t actually have done anything new between now and then to get there. It’s relatively trivial to add decent-to-good veterans to improve your roster when the time comes; I think it’s a bit silly to think that because they haven’t done that kind of thing up until now (because why would you) that they’re going to be incapable of doing it when, say, they’re starting Saric, Simmons and another lottery pick on top of what they have now and it’s time to try to win games.
All fans should, because it makes a mockery of the concept of a competitive sports league? Remember, some of those tanked games will be against in-contention teams, and potentially change playoff pictures.
The ideal structure incentivizes every win for every team.
Future wins are wins, though. Nobody thinks that in an ideal league, trading Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio or Randy Johnson for Mark Langston should be rewarded as a smart move if it garners more wins this season, I don’t think. There’s some kind of calculus that applies in terms of mortgaging the future vs. stocking up.
Kind of like the Oilers, but they have not done a full on tank job. At least not like the Sabres did last year.
I agree. My point is simpler than that: ideally, there should never be a situation where any team’s manager can look at any given game and say, we’re better off losing. All else being equal.
In other new, the 76ers GM has been all but fired.
But you don’t tank to just keep tanking. Eventually you’d like to accumulate some talent. The Sixers have traded away every decent player they’ve acquired the past couple years for the worst possible contract and then immediately cut that guy.
The coaches might – I believe that when the Penguins tanked the 1983-84 season in order to draft Mario Lemieux head coach Lou Angotti went along with it. He wasn’t crazy about the idea, but he did it.
The NBA tried this. At first, all seven teams had an equal chance of getting any of the seven spots; the complaints started when Golden State, with the worst record, ended up with the #7 pick. Later, only the first three picks were chosen by the lottery, but still, every team had an equal chance at each of the spots; the problem became that it was felt that it was too easy for a team that just missed the playoffs to get the #1 pick.
They later went to the ping-pong ball system, but when Orlabndo beat 65-to-1 odds and got the #1 pick despite having the best record among the non-playoff teams, people still complained, and the NBA switched to the current method where the best non-playoff team has only a 1 in 200 chance of getting the #1 pick.
As long as finishing worse improves your chances of getting a better player, there will always be talk of tanking - and as long as better teams get better players at the expense of worse players, an “even playing field” lottery will never happen again.
So flip the paradigm. Reward bad teams for finishing better. Give the worst teams something to play for every day.
Maybe they shouldn’t have to beat any odds at all, in that case. Maybe the high picks should just be the objective that keeps the better non-playoff-bound teams competing hard right through the last day of the season.