Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 31, 2010

Why tanking don’t do shit except give writers a reason to be w(ri)(gh)t(e)

One of the beauties of anagrams is that they are designed for you to think in a different fashion. As opposed to think ABCDE, you think CEBDA. But one problem I think with NBA writers (and fans) is that I’m not sure how many of them really think in that order. Case in point? The tanking talk that gets dusted come February when crappy teams that managed to lose in February the same way they did in December.

I’ve already seen it mentioned once on SI. You’ll see it mentioned elsewhere. The Kings have lost 6 games in a row. They’re suddenly tanking even though Tyreke Evans has missed 5 of the last 7 games. He doesn’t matter to this team’s victory line or anything.

Bad teams lose. The Kings are still bad mainly because the team is very young and inexperienced. They’ve suffered some injuries on this recent 5 game swing. (It was not rough by any road trip standard. The only b2b was the last 2 nights with Tyreke Evans playing. And both teams were the Pacers and Wolves. Not the toughest of 2 opponents.) So some will point out that the Kings aren’t playing well given that they lost to both the Wolves & Nets in the same week span. They’ll argue it against Tyreke Evans winning the ROTY. (Nevermind that Evans didn’t play for 3 games on the trip or anything.)

The Kings have 6 games left. 4 of them at home against teams likely headed for the playoffs. Portland on Saturday, San Antonio next Tuesday, the LA Clippers the following Thursday, Dallas Saturday and Houston is the final home game of the year. That’s on Monday the 12th. The last game of the year is in LA against the Lakers on the 13th which is a Tuesday.

I can honestly see the Kings beating the Blazers because they haven’t yet in 3 tries. Also, they might get shots to go down and every dog has it’s day……(You also get the snide pleasure of watching Blazers Edge automatically self-destruct.)

But the Kings could lose or win against San Antonio simply based on how much they want to play Manu Ginobili that day. The Kings can always lose to the Clippers at home. Dallas is fighting for playoff position and will probably need to win that game to secure whatever seed they are playing. Houston will play for pride (also I hope Kevin Martin gets lots of cheers–I’m not convinced he will) and that’s never easy. The last game of the year is pretty much pointless since it’s likely everything in terms of record will be taken care of for the Lakers by that Tuesday the 12th game.

My point? Don’t be surprised if the Kings go 1-5 or 0-6. I’ll be thrilled if they win 3 games out of this stretch and get to 27 wins. That’s a good omen given the season the Kings had a year ago and the way this season unfolded. This team has many holes, the arguments about whom to draft is already being had by everyone, and the only reason that people even care is the 20 5 & 5 numbers that Tyreke Evans may end up with. (I think the organization will privately be willing to concede games to help Reke get those numbers. But, he may be more interested in winning games. He’ll have the ball anyway. Plus, he gets those numbers in losses or defeats.)

Either way, the point is don’t get caught up in lottery balls. The lottery doesn’t mean jack and history suggests such. Since 1994 when the current lottery system has been in place (it was slightly different from 1990-93 and was changed after Orlando won the lottery in 1993), the teams who win are simply, well, lucky. There isn’t anything more to it. Some of the worst teams have won it in back to back years (Cleveland & Orlando in 2003/04), and other teams who have own it despite having won 32 games and owning the 7th worst record (Portland in 2007). And for Portland, that came after having the worst record the year prior and ending up with the 4th pick (to start) the 2006 draft. The previous year Portland actually won the 3rd pick but traded down.

My point is that if the Kings are lucky enough to get in the lottery, they will be lucky enough to get in the lottery. No more or no less. More ping pong balls won’t necessarily hurt or help. So that being said, I offer this.

Draft Karma. It’s bad karma to tank. It’s very bad karma to tank. I want the Kings to win every game they can because that’s the point. (You play to win the games, nein?) I’d rather those fans who are paying to watch games get to see the Kings win games while at Arco. (I also hope the fans turn out well for these games.) Currently the Kings have the 6th worst record in the NBA. If they are lucky enough to get in the top 3, then great! That’s hardly a bad thing to have 2 top 4 picks in back to back years. It worked pretty good for OKC didn’t it? But if the Kings are at the 6th pick in this draft, I can be happy with that too knowing the Kings played to win down the stretch rather than hoping for a few ping pong balls that may or may not come.

I hope every Kings fan feels the same way. And maybe we can get the CEBDA order in ABCDE again.

UPDATE: If you’re into torture and self loathing, I went through the history of the NBA Draft dating back to 1950 to illustrate how talent was acquired and how the NBA draft evolved into what it is today. (I wrote this series to refute the claim that the NBA lottery is rigged.) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

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Responses

  1. To quote Meg Ryan in “When Harry met Sally…”

    “Yes,yes,yes……YES!”

    To tank works against:1)A team that should continue its upward trajectory as the season ends for the confidence of the players & the coaching staff, and;…2)Ditto, the same thing for the season-ticket holder fan base & the King’s organization.

    After all, even with the worst record in the NBA last year, the Kings did not secure the number 1 pick(that pick went to the Clippers). Luck is involved. The point you make about Portland is illustrative:the Kings could have say….the 4th worst record…and still end up with the number one pick(like the Clipps did).

    It’s a lottery people. & tanking does NO good for the confidence of a young team, it’s coaching staff and the season ticket holders. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    • Good point about the season ticket holders Rhondda. I hadn’t really thought about them.


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