The NBA’s Race to the Bottom Heats Up
The 2018 season is starting to see new innovations in tanking.
A new ESPN article inspects the Dallas Mavericks’ approach to tanking and the awful basketball ahead for the eight teams hovering around the NBA’s worst record. Stacked as the 2019 draft is forecasted to be, the Mavericks have incredible incentive to tank, especially given the fact that the lottery rules will change next season, evening the ping pong balls among the league’s three worst records. Instead of playing the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, and Wes Matthews during crunch time, coach Rick Carlisle has been opting to play rookies and unproven young guys in the final minutes. Under the guise of player development, many teams, like the Mavs, advantageously sit experienced players and allow them unnecessary extra time to recover from injury. As the tanking race heats up, an even more extreme form of non-competitive may emerge, in which coaches dive into analytics to dream up the least effective lineups possible.
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