NBA vicious circle: Losing is the new victory
Munich – For the first time in NBA history, eight teams could remain under 30 victories. Not only Dirk Nowitzki is critical of Tanking. The NBA threatens and tries to save the game.
The great advantage of the US sports system is currently putting the NBA to shame.
The fact that the worst teams in the draft can access the best talents first – in combination with the salary cap – has always ensured a certain balance and equal opportunities in the big leagues (the NBA LIVE on TV on SPORT1 US and in LIVESTREAM).
However, a worrying trend in the NBA reaches its climax in the spring of 2018: the so-called “Tanking”. Eight teams are trying to lose as many games as possible and then reload them in the summer with a supertalent like Luka Doncic (Real Madrid), Marvin Bagley (Duke) or Michael Porter (Missouri).
As clever as this strategy may be, players like Dirk Nowitzki, who took everything out of his career in order to win, are increasingly against the game.
“I’ll never stand for anything like that. Just give up and don’t play hard? You don’t want a culture like that. That is the wrong sign for the future,”Novitsky criticized.
Nevertheless, his Dallas Mavericks are still playing in the not very glamorous race far up front – or right at the back. Team owner Mark Cuban had recently even openly admitted that losing was the best option. For his honesty, the NBA had fined him a heavy fine of $600,000.
Lose the new victories? In the age of superteams, when the big stars are concentrated in big TV markets, this is almost the only chance to become relevant again at some point, if you don’t want to stay in seventh to twelveth place in the conference average.
As an art form, the Philadelphia 76ers had elevated failure in the past few years. Between 2013 and 2016, the once proud Sixers never won more than 19 games before the monumental leap to 28 successes last season.
The wonderful side effect of the conference ranks 14 or 15: gradually top talents such as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could be drafted and slowly built up.
For her mantra “Trust the Process”, Philly is now showered with praise from all sides – and copied.
Eight teams are currently loosing out on dubious decisions and are all between 18 and 21 victories, none of these troops have won more than three of their past ten games.
Never before in the history of the NBA were eight teams under 30 victories in one season – this could happen this year. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, there is even suspicion that teams would use analytical methods to calculate the scores that would give them the best chance of defeat.
The NBA is naturally not enthusiastic and asked the Chicago Bulls, for example, why Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday are currently not playing at all, although fit and over long stretches of the season starters.
“We talked to the League about it, it was a fruitful dialogue with the League. The players fall under the term’ sparing’, but we will follow all the League’s suggestions in the future,”said Chicago’s Vice President John Paxson.
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The integrity and competition on the court are a cornerstone of this league. That’s why we are such a successful organization, and that’s why we owe it to the fans,”said Commissioner Adam Silver.
The NBA is in this vicious circle. Of course, it is legitimate for weak teams to bet more on the young players towards the end of a season and to develop them.
However, if the product basketball is harmed and the fans wonder why these teams should go into the hall at all – not to mention the distortion of competition for teams in playoff races – there is a risk of massive damage to their image.
For example, the German market is currently suffering from the tanking. Nowitzki with the Mavs, Dennis Schröder with the Hawks, Paul Zipser with the Bulls – three Germans are stuck in the basement playing for the golden pineapple.
But what can Silver do in the first place? The draft principle itself is inviolable. His answer: the draft lottery is screwed around.
Starting next season, the three worst teams in the league will have the same chance to pick the first pick in the draft – until now, this team had the worst franchise.
But this can only be the first step – otherwise the NBA will suffer permanent damage.