Series Record – Gus 1 Marcus Antonio San Keota 1
After two weeks of debates, I’ve master debated myself to a tie. Sadly this happens a lot. This week I look to find a little satisfaction with the topic of tanking. Tanking is the hot buzzword in the NBA this season. It is the practice of purposefully losing in order to increase the chances of getting a top pick in the next year’s draft. A 2014 NBA draft littered with talented prospects has teams drooling and looking to lose as much as possible.
Let the debate begin.
MASK: Basketball is the one sport where one player can completely turn around the fortunes of a franchise. Baseball is filled with too many statistical anomalies for the best pitcher or hitter to improve a team to a championship level, on his own. It requires a full team effort and a lot of luck to win the World Series. Last Sunday’s big game proved that even the best QB, having a record breaking year that led to his fifth MVP, is enough to win the Lombardi trophy.
But in the NBA, the best player or a couple of the very best players, typically hold up the Dave O’Brien Trophy. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaq, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and now Lebron James all have won the title while being the best player on the planet. It takes more than just the best player on the planet to win, but in no other sport does it help more to have the best player on the court than basketball. This year’s NBA Draft has six or seven possible franchise players with the potential to be the best player on the court.
Feel free to root for your team to squeak into the playoffs and then get embarrassed on National TV in a dominating four game sweep at the hands of a team that can actually win the championship. Right now that includes Heat, Pacers, Thunder, Clippers, Spurs, and that’s it until any big trades happen to shake things up. I’m rooting for my team to lose as much as possible and get a chance to draft a player that can help them win a championship.
The worst place to be in the NBA is the middle. There is no winning a championship from the seeds 6-10, unless a team wins a 1.8% for the top pick. Break out those “Riggin’ for Wiggins” or “Be Sorry for Jabari” posters, it is time to tank baby tank.
Gus: Rooting for losing? That goes against everything it stands for to be a sports fan. I understand wanting to get the next Lebron or Durant, but purposefully losing does not guarantee it. All these prospects only bring the potential of being a franchise player and there is no guarantee in potential. Ask the Cavs how things are going with Anthony Bennett. If potential brought victories Manute Bol’s jersey would be hanging from the rafters in D.C. A more tragic precautionary tale of potential lost, the Celtics drafting Len Bias who died of a drug overdose before ever stepping on the parquet floor of the Garden.
Potential does not win championships, so I’m going to go ahead and root for my team to win. Besides, potential franchise players can be acquire in other ways. Kobe Bryant was the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft and he got traded by the Hornets to the Lakers. Tony Parker was drafted 28th overall and has been essential to keeping the Spurs relevant. Both Kareem and Wilt, the two best offensive centers of all-time got traded to the Lakers in the middle of their careers. Man, the Lakers sure trade for a lot of franchise players. Lebron James might be the best player on the planet, but he did not win any championships for the team that drafted him. Sorry Cleveland. The Celtics assembled a Championship team in one off-season because Kevin McHale lost a poker game to Danny Ainge.
There are many ways for a team to get a franchise player that do not involve openly rooting for them to lose games. There is a special place in hell for fans who are vile and disgusting enough to do something as despicable as rooting against their team. As the French soldier said to the English Kanigget:
MASK: A simple minded approach from a simple minded man. No wonder you’re such a terrible chess player. Yes, there are different ways to get a franchise player than a top pick in the draft, but why limit the amount of chances for your team. A first round exit via ass whooping does nothing for them and barely missing the playoffs to land outside the top 10 does even less.
The Spurs built a consistently talented team for the past 17 years because of one bad season that led to them drafting Tim Duncan number one overall. The Thunder has built a team on the cusp of a dynasty via multiple years of lottery picks. Yes, there are busts in the lottery, but it also has the most top talent and a fan must have faith in the front office that it can evaluate talent properly in order to avoid an Anthony Bennett situation. Again, Sorry Cleveland.
Gus: Faith in the front office? How am I suppose to have faith in a front office that allowed the team to get bad enough that losing became the best strategy? I get it, tanking increases the chance of winning a championship, but only one team gets to take home the hardware, leaving 29 other fan bases disappointed. If we hold the standard of success to winning a championship, then we’re going to be constantly disappointed. Just ask Cubs’ fans.
I read a great article yesterday about the importance of distractions.
MASK: Eh, could have used a proofreader.
Gus: Whatever, the point is that rooting for our team to win provides a great distraction. We invest time and emotion into them in order to provide a break from the struggles of life. It’s a nice moment when we get to see them win a game and even when they lose at least we supported them. Feel free to hop on the tanking bandwagon, but a true fan doesn’t believe in either tanking or bandwagons. We ride and die with our team to the bitter end and appreciate the distraction it provides.
I rest my case.
MASK: Take solace in the little victories all you want. I’ll distract myself with winning championships. Anyone who has been out on Clark Street after the Blackhawks won the Cup know that all the disappointment is worth the ultimate high of seeing your team win it all.
I rest my case.