No Tanks: A Solution to NBA Teams Embracing Losing
In the wake of Mark Cuban's comments this week about losing being his team's best option the rest of this season, I am pushing my proposal to end all tanking in the NBA. The Mavericks owner is satisfied with chasing ping pong balls instead of wins and his candor cost him a $600,000 fine by the league.
Just to be clear, I have no problem with teams tanking. In fact, I support it. The system is set up to benefit teams that try like hell to lose. So, instead of telling teams they aren't allowed to tank or for punishing them for 'not trying to win,' we have to change the system.
Right now, the more games you lose, the better chance you have to get the number 1 pick in the NBA Draft. I say, the more games you win, without making the playoffs, the better chance you should have to get that top selection. Here is my solution:
Sixteen teams make the NBA playoffs. The team closest to reaching the postseason, so team number 17, would have the greatest percentage of getting the top pick. The best percentages from there would go to teams 18-32, in that order, not the other way around. Reward teams for winning games, not losing them.
Before you argue that this is unfair and it will only make the rich richer or it will make it impossible for certain teams in certain markets to climb out of a losing funk, I have this response: why should that be the NBA's problem. The playing field is already as level as it can get. There's a salary cap. There is the Bird Rule, which allows teams to offer a full year and more money than any other team when trying to retain their own players in free agency.
There you have it. A simple fix to the tanking problem and a return to teams playing competitive basketball on a nightly basis. What do you think?