Former Boston Celtics guard David Wesley believes tanking is real and wants it addressed; hearkens back to infamous 1997 Celtics squad
Add another former NBA player who not only acknowledges that tanking exists in the NBA, but despises it, believes it is a major issue, and wants the NBA to address it in the near future.
David Wesley, a 14-year NBA veteran (New Jersey, Boston, Charlotte/New Orleans, Houston, Cleveland), and current color commentator for the New Orleans Pelicans on FOX Sports New Orleans made it a point to discuss the perceived tanking epidemic that seems to be running rampant amongst the league's bottom feeders.
Appearing on the Celtics Beat podcast on Saturday, March 15th, Wesley was ready to sign out before asking the hosts of the show, Rich Conte and Dr. Andre Snellings, if he could discuss tanking.
“I was listening to Brent Barry [on the 3/8 edition of the Celtics Beat podcast], and he was talking about Chicago, and the guys that didn’t play on the team the next year...the year they were tanking . My last year [in Boston], and I heard M.L. Carr come out and talk we were tanking back then.
We had...Frank Brickowski, Stacey King, Alton Lister...And then we had Michael Hawkins...Nate Driggers, Junior Burrough, Steve Hamer, Brett Szabo -- all their last years...And that’s who we were going to war with. And of course there were Eric Williams, Antoine Walker, Rick Fox, Pervis [Ellison], Todd [Day], Dee Brown" Wesley told CLNS Radio.
Wesley feels that tanking is not something that is apart of a grand scheme where the players are involved. Rather he feels that it comes from above, where the front office deliberately fields a team that is incapable of competing on a night-in-and-night-out basis, similar to what the Philadelphia 76ers have done during this season.
In the extreme case of the infamous 1996-97 Celtics, M.L. Carr was not only head of Celtics' personnel decisions, but he was the team's coach -- being able to execute his plan from above to the Celtics' bench.
“Each and every night I thought we were trying to go out there and win. I couldn’t understand why I’m having an awesome quarter why I’m sitting the whole next quarter. It never even occurred to me.
“If you’re a competitor you’re always trying to go out there and win, and if a coach is good -- he’ll make you feel like ‘we tried, we just came up short’ -- and I think that’s the way they’re all kind of selling it. Because...if a player ever thinks he’s actually tanking, how do you go to work?”
Not only does it seem like Wesley's last season in Boston bothered him, but the notion that this is still going on in the NBA now does as well.
Fortunately for Wesley, Barry and other other anti-tanking hawks, last week, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver sat down with Comcast Sports Net's Bob Neumeier and acknowledged the issue:
"There may be an issue with the way the lottery is structured. I mean, by definition, the fact that we have the lottery means that we were concerned about [tanking.] You do not want to have an improper incentive to lose games.
"The lottery was designed so that teams would not see any advantage to having a bad record because they wouldn't be assured a certain pick.
"So maybe we need to take a fresh look at the lottery. And we are....Once the season's over, we have a competition committee, and we'll take a look at it."
Will that be enough for Wesley?
“Somebody [Celtics Assistant GM Mike Zarren] mentioned taking away the lottery, giving everyone an equal chance. I bet you that would change tanking" Wesley said.
To hear the full interview with David Wesley, which also includes his thoughts on the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Davis, and his departure from Boston, listen to the latest edition of the Celtics Beat podcast here: