Former Kings/Nuggets/Bucks/Sonics/Warriors/Cavaliers coach George Karl in “Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection:” “Don’t believe it when teams say they don’t lose on purpose to improve their draft position. It happens every year. I know of a Western Conference owner who called his coach during games to remind him to keep an end-of-season losing streak alive.” Bryan Colangelo admitted to tanking while Raptors general manager. The owner Karl mentions was clearly tanking.
“When six teams are racing to the bottom, you don’t want to race for the bottom,” Cuban said. “When teams aren’t racing to the bottom, which is more like this year, then you play your heart out and you win as many games as you can. Your young guys learn how to play to win, and you’re still going to have a chance at a good pick if things don’t work for you.”
The league has never hidden its distaste for tanking, and sources around the NBA say Silver grew more irritated after the Sixers lost their first 18 games last fall and Okafor was involved in multiple off-court incidents. Ultimately, those sources say, it is likely that a combination of all those factors led to Jerry Colangelo’s hiring.
Does the current NBA draft lottery system hand out consolation prizes for poor records? Or does the system simply help rebuilding teams to ensure league parity? Does an NBA team’s draft fortune rely on a pingpong ball bouncing its way? Or have those franchises set their respective teams up for failure to maximize their odds at a coveted draft pick? “We have to do something to stop the incentive for teams to tank,” said one NBA owner, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue. “You shouldn’t be rewarded for stripping your team down.”