Tanking, or purposefully losing, is not a new phenomenon in the NBA, nor is it a new strategy to improve a basketball roster.
It’s a logical strategy, and it’s easy to mask with bad rosters. If a team is bad enough to miss the playoffs, there’s an incentive to play and develop the younger players on the roster. This, in turn, makes the franchise more likely to lose games while improving their draft odds.
Like any opportunity to find a competitive advantage, tanking was quickly exploited and taken to such extremes that the NBA felt the need to change its lottery system. The new change begins this year.
But even under the new system, teams haven’t stopped tanking games. The New York Knicks have just 16 wins this season, while the Phoenix Suns have just 19. Last year, before the new rules were put in place, the Suns won a league-worst 22 games, while the Memphis Grizzlies won just 23 games.
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