Tanking. Is it worth it?
The NBA is arguably one of the most predictable leagues in professional sports. You have teams such as the Warriors, Cavs, and Spurs who are likely going to earn the most wins this season. And you have the losers like the Sixers who just can’t seem to catch a break.
So that begs to answer the question: Tanking. Is it worth it?
Let’s start with the Sixers. Since 2012, the team has not had a win/loss record over 50%. Why? Because the way the lottery system is set up, by losing, they are in fact winning in their chances to draft the top players. Over the years, the Sixers have tanked to stack up on these draft picks to develop their own super team. How has that worked?
2012: Pick 15, Maurice Harkless
2013: Pick 11, Michael Carter-Williams
: Pick 3, Joel Embiid
2015: Pick 3, Jahlil Okafor
2016: Pick 1, Ben Simmons
Over five years, they only received one First Pick which is pretty sad for their abysmal play style and record in order to get to the top of the rankings.
Maurice Harkless has been moved to the Blazers. Michael Carter-Williams showed promise for winning Rookie of the Year but he is now on the Bucks. 2014 was a highly anticipated draft for having Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Picking Joel Emiid was a no brainer. However, they didn’t consider that he would get injured for 2 years and start his “rookie year” in 2016. Jahlil Okafor missed a good chunk of the 2015-2016 season with a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Finally, Ben Simmons was incredibly promising in the preseason… but as you probably guessed… he was injured.
It’s only been five games as of November 6, 2016 but the Sixers are currently 0-5.
While that was entirely depressing there is another team who has tanked and because of it recently won the 2015-2016 NBA Title. We’re talking about Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the 2009-2010 season, the Cavs were 61-21 and they lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Semi Conference Finals. The next year after that, they were 19-63. This is perhaps one of the biggest turnarounds in modern NBA history. A big asterisk comes in the absence of Lebron James.
But how did they rebound from this drought to finally get back to the top? A number of names stand out: 2011: Pick 1, Kyrie Irving. The man is nasty with his handles and he hit the clutch 3 in the finals to secure the win. 2014: Pick 1, Andrew Wiggins. He was chosen as a trading piece to ultimately trade for Kevin Love to for the Big 3 in Cleveland. Creating this team raised the interest of Lebron James rejoining his team. Now, Cleveland has a Championship Banner that raises high in their stands.
Oh and if you were wondering, Cavs are currently 6-0.
So does tanking work? For the most part no. Cavs had a special situation that revolved around the return of Lebron James. There is a long backstory that he has with the city. Unless Sixers can draw in a super star that is a once in a generation talent, then they will keep drawing in draft picks and hope that no one gets injured.