The 76ers’ “Process” Worked, But Here’s Why It’s A Problem For The NBA

The entire culture of tanking is a disgrace, but thanks to the success of the Philadelphia 76ers who blatantly lost games for three seasons so that they could acquire some bonafide talent through the draft, people are actually believing that this is an acceptable way to improve your team and this season we have noticed an outbreak of tanking. 

Jacques Vandescure on Twitter

@NBA FACTS: 1.Tanking is finally rewarded @sixers @Timberwolves 2.Triple doubles don’t win championship @russwest44 3.Kawhi Leonard is watching games from home with @NBA league pass! 4. NBA teams prayers have been answered, but @StephenCurry30 Will be back second round!

Floundering teams with no shot of making the playoffs began intentionally losing as many games as possible. It’s brutal for the fans and sullies the authenticity and integrity of the league’s product and the statistics posted in these games.  

We are finding that many owners are all in on their teams tanking to get better and it has gotten to the point where they are actually mad when their teams win. In this age where reality and TV and fantasy all seem to merge on the Internet, tanking — once thought to be a cardinal sin in competitive sports — has become acceptable. 

And we thought this kind of madness only happened in movies like Major League, but more and more instances of owners flipping on head coaches for winning games are being reported, which indicates that this tanking philosophy is spreading like rumors of Russian infiltration in the last election. 

Major League (6/10) Movie CLIP – The Thrill of Defeat (1989) HD

Major League movie clips: BUY THE MOVIE: Don’t miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: CLIP DESCRIPTION: Hayes (Wesley Snipes) leads off the season with a hit, but then gets picked off when trying to steal second.

In Major League, former Las Vegas showgirl Rachel Phelps inherits the Cleveland Indians from her deceased husband and is offered a major bag to move the team to Miami, but she must first trigger the escape clause in the team’s contract with the city of Cleveland. 

To do this, she must cause attendance at the games to plummet below a certain level. She decides to replace existing players with scrubby, aging veterans and novice rookies in the hopes that a losing season will cause attendance to decline. It was the first movie that gave you a comical spin on the financial complexities of tanking in sports. That movie was made back in 1989 and is supposed to be a comedy, but it’s all too real to today’s NBA. The NBA has a bunch of Cleveland Indians-type teams with owners who are privately and openly rooting for their teams to lose. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described the situation on the latest edition of his podcast The Woj Pod (beginning at the 30-minute mark):

The Woj Pod – ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks

ESPN Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Woj Pod to discuss the NBA Playoffs, breaking down the coaching searches, tanking, and the race for NBA Executive of the Year. – Like & Share if you like this video!

Wojnarowski said: “I know of an instance of an owner berating, really berating his coach here in the last several weeks of the season for going in and beating a pretty good team on the road, going, ‘What are you doing?'”

#TrustTheProcess has got to be one of the weakest hashtags ever made. Its a reflection of our society at large, where people love to fake it till they make it and if they cant win they just tank until the tide turns — if it ever turns. 

A team with a losing culture the past decade 5 years like the Knicks, Kings, Suns etc do NOT need to be exacerbating a losing culture with intentional losses. Philly got lucky. They sold the fans a bag of goods, but it was a miserable three-years marked by depression, bursts of anger and a feeling of inferiority that only a championship can cure. That’s what Philly was betting on when it used the high draft picks it gained to select young gunners like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz

The “Great Philly Tank Job” finally materialized in some success this season and the 76ers finished third in the Eastern Conference at 52-30 and won 16 consecutive games entering the playoffs. In February, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban acknowledged that he told his players “losing is our best option.” Cuban was fined $600,000 for his tanking comments. The Mavs finished 13th in the Western Conference at 24-58.

To offset this tanking epidemic, the NBA made changes to its lottery system that will take effect for the 2019 NBA draft. As part of the new system, the three worst teams in the NBA will each have a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick. With the odds evening out at the bottom, the NBA feels that teams will have less incentive to lose games on purpose.

I guess this helps, but it can also work against the league. The worst team currently has a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. Giving more teams an opportunity to get the first pick might just lead to more tanking as the third worst team will have the same odds as the team with the worst record in the NBA, to get the No. 1 pick. 

The NBA has some issues right now. Tanking, Super Teams and trusting a process that will have you hating basketball while your team runs through 82 games of garbage in order to stack draft picks that HOPEFULLY pan out is a major dilemma that will only hurt the game in the long run. 

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