NBA Champion and NBA TV's Brent Barry thinks tanking does occur, and would like to see the NBA make the necessary changes to fix it
Tanking has been one of the dominant storylines in an otherwise stellar NBA season.
While the NBA’s two best players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, are engaging in one of the all time great NBA MVP races -- it’s what some of the worst teams the NBA has to offer that are garnering headlines on the Internet and in print.
Do teams really deliberately try to lose games in efforts to better their draft position?
14-year NBA veteran and two-time NBA champion Brent Barry thinks so. Although he doesn’t think it’s something that the actual players or coaching staff engages in.
Rather, it likely comes from a team’s front office. Who may not exactly put the best of efforts to immediately assemble the best possible roster.
“The idea about better positioning yourself to lose games does happen, but to say ‘they’re trying to lose games’ -- there’s creative ways to use different terms by saying ‘we were playing younger players, we were trying to develop some guys” Barry told CLNS Radio.
“You know in the end, the competitive balance against the opponents that you’re playing has pretty much shifted towards your opponent, and the younger players are more or less going to find ways that they are not going to win games. As opposed to saying that ‘we were losing games, we were trying to lose games.’”
Barry, now an analyst for NBA TV, and a fixture on NBA TV’s pre-game show “NBA Gametime” cited what the Philadelphia 76ers, losers of 15 straight, have been doing since the trade deadline as an example. Barry was also a member of the infamous 1999 Chicago Bulls. As a member of that team, Barry felt the goal of that season in the eyes of management was to get the highest draft pick possible.
However, for all the agony of losing, and the seemingly rewarding aspect of the return of a high draft pick -- Barry doesn’t feel it’s entirely worth it. Rather, maintaining a winning culture should take on higher priority than securing the highest potential odds in the NBA’s Draft Lottery.
“When you win, it’s a special thing. And if you can keep that winning culture together and keep good character guys together -- there are seasons you can pile up one after the other that allow your team to continue to grow, and then you fit pieces around those guys as cornerstones.”
In an exclusive interview on CLNS Radio’s “Celtics Beat” Podcast, Barry mentioned 'The Wheel' as a possibility to fix the tanking issue. While Adam Silver didn’t seem too keen to the idea at the Sloan Sports Conference, Barry is at least pleased that the discussion is out there.
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