Tanking Has Hit an All-time High – or Low – in the NBA
Take a look inside the historic tanking effort that's going on in The Association.
In order to get back to the top of the league, more NBA teams than ever before are trying to plunge to the bottom of the standings to increase their odds of securing a valuable draft pick.
Tanking, as the art of trying to lose a game while not making it altogether obvious you are trying to lose it is called, has become rampant this season and there are currently eight teams within four games of the worst record in The Association.
One of the reasons for this is that the 2018 draft class is projected to be one of the best in years. Another is the NBA is altering the way the first pick in the draft is awarded starting next year, giving teams less incentive to be the worst in the league after this season.
As a result, this is the last season teams have been fully incentivized to go into full-on tank mode, making the race to get to the bottom of the league just as competitive as the race to the top.
It’s so competitive that projections indicate the team that finishes with the worst record and the team that finishes with the seventh-worst will only be separated by four wins, the tightest margin in two decades.
“The historic tanking of 2018 plays out like a memorial,” according to The Ringer. “Losing will never mean as much in the future as it will this season. But it’s not time to mourn yet — there is still more than a month of regular-season basketball to be lost.”
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