Rock Bottom!!!!!!!!

Looking at this year’s draft, it boasts many talents going from Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle just to name a few. This draft is nearly  as deep as the 2003 draft, which highlighted LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, David West, Kirk Hinrich and T.J. Ford. The NBA is in midseason form, rounding out your contenders whom are Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs are the teams who are operating at peak efficiency. If you are a fan of one of these teams, then yes, championship aspirations should be on your mind. What about the Teams who are at the bottom, whose season has been over well, since it started back in November? That’s a little harsh, sorry about that. So, the question remains, while this is a race for the best, is there a race for the worst? I’ll take a look at teams who are at Rock Bottom, and also I went browsing different forums and see what would they do to resolve tanking.

Looking at all the teams who are at the bottom Milwaukee, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and Utah. Of all these teams, the highest win total stands under 20 going into the All-Star Break. All these teams have some young talent, Milwaukee with Antetokounmpo (Try pronouncing that…) and Henson, Orlando with Oladipo and Vucevic, Philadelphia rising rookie star in Carter-Williams, Utah with Burke and Favors, and Sacramento with Cousins and Thomas are still looking for pieces to be added via draft or trade deadline transactions. Sacramento already traded for Rudy Gay earlier in the season, surely some would expect them to be a lot better than they are. The Kings brass were and still hope pairing him with Cousins would open up his game and be the player he was in Memphis, now there has been rumblings about an extension, but Gay must prove to them that he could provide them some additional help because this draft could provide them some wing assistance for a fraction of the cost. with the Gay transaction, some would speculate they are trying to speed up their rebuilding process and so far, the Kings are stuck in neutral. The Jazz is an interesting team, they extended Derrick Favors, and Gordon Hayward is up next. He’s a restricted free agent, and it makes me wonder if Utah is going to match it. This draft favors them since they could go with a wing player and this upcoming draft have plenty available. They are simply an young team with a rookie running the point, so nonetheless they are going thru some growing pains at the moment. Philadelphia started off blazing this year behind the talented rookie Michael Carter-Williams whom is leading all rookies in scoring, assists and steals. He’s been already labeled as their franchise player with another rookie who is supposed to be pretty good in Nerlens Noel. Many thought they would be the worst team and while they came back to planet earth, 76ers fans can be excited about building a foundation starting with this kid and build through the draft, go with player development and prep for June. Could you imagine this team with Wiggins, Noel and Carter-Williams? Scary thought.

Orlando is interesting as well, they start with Vucevic and Oladipo for young talent, Harris is interesting too. Somehow, Orlando still goes with a veteran heavy lineup and don’t play their young talent as much as they should, Afflalo being the only exception whom is a more consistent player this year and he has every right to feel like he was snubbed for the upcoming All Star Game. I’m sure it had more to do with Orlando’s record. The Magic could be busy at the deadline, players who could have different homes are Afflalo, Nelson or Davis if Orlando wants to go developing the younger talent. Orlando is also banking on New York and Denver not to make the postseason as they have the one of their picks meaning the team with the losing record keep their pick and Orlando gets the other teams draft pick, so potentially Orlando could have 2 lottery picks in this deep draft. If one of those three that were named earlier was traded, Orlando could have some cap relief to work with and decide if they also would like to attempt to speed up their rebuilding process through Free Agency. Milwaukee needs a favorable break, they saw both J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis left and Tobias Harris blowing up in Orlando and have nothing to show for it. Well, maybe trading Brandon Jennings for Brandon Knight is okay and Gianns A, their rookie player with the long last name has proven to be quite a pickup, actually Nate Wolters is playing very well too. maybe luck is heading their way sooner than they think, hopefully, this is the only team as of right now whom didn’t reach double digits in the win column, they are close. I like Larry Sanders on the defensive side of the ball, but they are pretty bad. I’m actually rooting for them to win the lottery and get some immediate help, they have to make some trades because their cap situation is in bad shape. If I would to draft for the Bucks, i’m looking for post scoring to complement Sanders in the interior and their wings, it would be a good start for them.

Every year the word “Tank” comes up, crazy how that used to be a nickname of mines, but proceeding to the topic, we always heard to move a step forward, we need to take a step back. applying to basketball, no one wants to stay in the middle. So, when things are not going as planned, changes need to be made. Such as trading disgruntled or redundant players, sit back in free agency for awhile and cue in on player development and rebuild through the draft. this evaluation period helps to see whom will be apart of the team’s core and who could be used as assets to keep the process systematic. How does a team tank? If anyone knows the game, you already know the answers, but a few in my opinion are prolonged rests for injuries, inconsistent rotations, and duration of minutes played within breaks just to name a few. How would one resolve this issue? I saw some good ideas such as play a sudden death tournament for the #1 pick and the rest of the teams go through lottery, it would have to be worked on, because for instance, what if Milwaukee has to play has to play someone like Memphis, doesn’t seem fair right? To the avid basketball watchers could cue in some suggestions. Another Idea that was proposed in forums were the wheel, but that would involve luck more than anything, and how does that exactly help the small market teams? How about it being incentive based, when a certain amount is made when the teams further advance in the playoffs, they are rewarded a bonus, how about a deduction when it comes to losing, not only players, but everyone involved with the franchise? It is really worth throwing games for the #1 pick when between 1990-2007 only one player had remained with their team being Tim Duncan, who almost left himself if it wasn’t for David Robinson talking him to stay. I’m going to exclude Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin for now. But tanking exist, and it may never be a way to stop it. Hopefully the team you root for has a solid foundation and vision. As fans we must be patient and give it time to fruition, this draft practically all the teams could be winners, but at the end of the day, the management has to step up to plate, Rome wasn’t built overnight.

Cortez Paul

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