Tanking has been quite the topical conversation starter in the NBA this season. Maybe it was because there was a shortened 66-game season that ESPN, TrueHoop and several websites hammered on the topic ad nauseaum over the past few months (even on this site, quite eloquently by Ben). But, realistically, in order to solve the issue of tanking, one thing should be fixed instead: the draft lottery.
Obviously, basketball is unique because it has a perfect schedule length and draft setup for tanking to be a possibly effective strategy for teams. With only 82 games (usually), as opposed to the NFL’s 16 and MLB’s 162, there’s a possibility that a 6-10 game stretch or more could significantly alter a team’s drafting position. The same is then true in the National Hockey League, but, for some odd reason, despite that league’s similar use of a draft lottery, not as big of a media deal is made of tanking. [Read more...]