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Tankmania: How can the NBA Prevent 12 Win Teams?

Look at the Eastern Conference. I’ll give you a few seconds.

Yeah, It’s just the Pacers and the Heat. Besides those two teams, the Raptors and the Bulls are the only two teams that have an above .500 record. Yeah, that means four out of the fifteen teams in the conference are even above .500. The NBA has been famous in the past few years for having great teams and terrible teams. No middle ground, but why?

The NBA has been under a trend of “Tanking” or getting rid of talented players to make their team worse off, to get more losses and to, in turn get a better draft pick come offseason. It’s a phenomena 2/3rds of the NBA are following, and although it makes sense from the front office standpoint, it isn’t really fun to watch the Kings take on the Bucks in an intense “who can suck less” contest.

In order to pull in new fans, there needs to be an improvement per capita of NBA teams. A potential fan in Utah might watch more of his team, and basketball in general if the Jazz weren’t lowly basketball bottom feeders. An improvement in teams nationwide would spark interest in the sport of Basketball. If teams that have a bad year did not resort to attempting to as many losses as possible, the entire NBA would benefit. Nationwide fans wouldn’t have to wait a week until the Thunder or the Spurs played one of the 6 teams that would result in a good match up.

But how can the NBA get around all of that? The obviously can’t tell the teams “Hey, win more games.” I have a proposal.

Stop drafting rookies.

Hear me out. This is just an idea, but if you set a 6 Mill/year cap and just told the NBA teams “You have 2 players you can sign, and the most you can sign them with is 6 million, have at it.” IT would totally defeat the “Lose to win” dogma that these teams carry with them. Teams that are doing well may not have the cap to sign those great players, where as those with the open cap room can sign the rookies. Not to mention, seeing where the rookies go would provide an interesting interlude to the NBA offseason.

Now there are a few problems with this, as great teams will try to get those great players, and not all good teams have a filled cap. But if a team is to clear space to get a good player, they have to trade or remove players that keep up some cap room. Those players they get rid of may go to a bad team. Nonetheless, there will be no tanking, and the bad teams still have some advantage, in cap room, to sign those big players.

Big teams will offer players of first pick caliber, 3mil or 2 mil, and a younger team willing to gamble will up the pay to see if they pan out. This upheaval is just an idea, and there still are some flaws to it but it would guarantee a more entertaining offseason, and the end of tanking. If my idea doesn’t work in the long run, there should be some way to limit tanking, to make the NBA more interesting among all teams.