Tanking Rumors

Draft lottery will stay the same for now

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the Globe on Thursday that the league’s owners have agreed to retain the NBA’s draft lottery system indefinitely. The current system gives the highest probability of landing the top overall pick to the team with the league’s worst record. There have been complaints over the past few seasons about teams, such as the Philadelphia 76ers, tanking games to improve their chances of a higher lottery pick.
As I reported from the summer league in July, the league introduced an odds-reform proposal that would have made Cleveland-style leaps more likely by cutting the chances for the worst teams. The proposal was an anti-tanking measure clearly aimed at the Sixers, and it didn’t get the required supermajority in an October vote. Kiki Vandeweghe, the league’s senior vice-president of basketball operations and last night’s drawing room MC, told me the discussion has been tabled for now. “I don’t see anything happening in the immediate future,” Vandeweghe said. “We will continue to study it.”
Stu Jackson is a former NBA head coach and the former executive vice president of the NBA. More recently, he has worked as an analyst on NBA TV. All those jobs make him uniquely qualified to answer a set of questions about the league from the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand: Q There is a lot of talk of “tanking” and teams intentionally losing in the NBA. How much of that do you think is perception and how much is reality? A My view has always been that the perception is greater than the reality with most teams. I think every franchise has reasons why they make certain decisions with their personnel, in terms of managing their salary cap situation to allow for certain trades or free agency, and it really depends on the stage of development respective franchises are in. Those decisions are not the same for everyone. For some it might take on the appearance that a team is tanking when they’re really just managing their own development.
The Nuggets have rested players for two straight games. On Monday night, those players just happened to be three of the team’s four leading scorers and the leading rebounder since the coaching change in a season that team brass — and many fans — hope ends with a high lottery pick. Not everyone is pleased, though. Forward Wilson Chandler was asked if he expected a full roster Thursday with the long rest between games. “I have no idea what they are going to do,” Chandler said. “Whoever is on the court just has to keep playing. It’s the nature of the business. I’m not a GM; I don’t know what’s going on. It’s tough when you’re fighting together but you’re getting set up for failure.”
Some New York Knicks fans want to see the team tank the season to land a top pick in the NBA draft. But to star forward Carmelo Anthony, that is a “bad mentality to have.” “I don’t know how to have that mindset,” Anthony said Wednesday night after the Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-91 to improve to 7-36. “Having that mindset as a basketball player, as a competitor, it’s just hard to do unless you don’t care about the game, what happens and your performance. To say that we’re going to go out there and we want to lose a basketball game, I think that’s a bad mentality to have.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says that the perception of tanking in the league is greater than the reality of it. “I absolutely don’t think any team is trying to lose,” Silver said in an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz for “Outside the Lines.” “No player is going out there to lose,” Silver continued. “In terms of management, I think there’s an absolute legitimate rebuilding process that goes on. It’s so hard to win in this league, and it’s so complex.