10 NBA Teams That Are Purposely Tanking the Remainder of the Season

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIApril 5, 2012

10 NBA Teams That Are Purposely Tanking the Remainder of the Season

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    Whether you like it or not, "tanking" is a part of professional sports. Sometimes tanking is intentional, and sometimes it isn't, but that doesn't change the fact that it happens.

    If you don't know what tanking is, here's the definition: Tanking is the art of professional sports teams deciding to stop giving their full effort, in hopes of increasing their positioning in a subsequent draft or for any other purpose.

    With less than 15 games left on most NBA team's schedules, it's time to start assessing which teams have started to tank the remainder of the season and which teams need to start the tanking process.

    Ahead is a list of 10 teams that are purposely tanking the remainder of their 2011-12 season.

Needs to Start Tanking: Phoenix Suns

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    If the Suns are unable to bring in legitimate talent this offseason, there is a high likelihood that Steve Nash could take his talents elsewhere next year.

    The best way for the Suns to add talent to their team is to increase their lottery chances in the 2012 NBA draft so that they can either draft franchise talent, in case Nash leaves, or try to use that high draft pick on the trade block to add veteran talent to their roster.

    The Suns aren't making the Western Conference playoffs, and in light of that they would be wise to intentionally tank the rest of their season so that they can focus on keeping Steve Nash when the season ends.

    Once the Suns realize that making the playoffs is the last thing they need, they will lose 80 percent of their remaining games, helping their draft positioning this summer.

     

    Final Record Prediction:  29-37

Need to Start Tanking: Portland Trailblazers

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    The Portland Trail Blazers have done a great job of playing themselves out of playoff contention in the Western Conference.

    With an appearance in the playoffs looking slim, the Trailblazers would be wise to start tanking the rest of their season, as the future in Portland isn't looking all that bright.

    The Trail Blazers certainly have talent on their roster moving forward, but without Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, the Trailblazers need to add some serious talent if they want to be more than just an average team in the West.

    The best way for them to do that is to increase their chances of getting a high lottery pick in the draft so that they can add a player like Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond or Thomas Robinson.

    It's time to give up the season, Trail Blazers. Tanking for the next few weeks is your best option. 

     

    Final Record Prediction:  28-38 

Well in Tank Mode: Sacramento Kings

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    The Sacramento Kings have a solid amount of young talent on their roster in DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas.

    While there's no doubt that the Kings have potential, they certainly aren't realizing it, and that's led them to start tanking the rest of their season.

    With nothing left to play for, the Kings are wise to start tanking their season, as they can increase their position in the NBA draft with hopes of getting more talent on their roster.

    The Kings have a tough stretch of games to end the season, with multiple meetings with the OKC Thunder, as well as one meeting apiece with the Spurs and Clippers. While they probably couldn't win those games even if they wanted, there's no doubt that losing those games will help them out.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 21-45

Well in Tank Mode: Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Heading into the All-Star break the Cleveland Cavaliers were in contention for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but since returning from the break, the Cavaliers have looked like a completely different team.

    While the Cavaliers are still a young team, there's no doubt that they are tanking their season in hopes of adding even more youth and talent to their already developmental roster.

    Just imagine if the Cavaliers were able to get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. They would either be able to trade it for serious veteran talent, or they could add a player like Anthony Davis to their already athletic depth chart.

    With 14 games left on their schedule, the Cavaliers won't be able to win more than four of them, as they try to increase the odds that they end up with a high lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 21-45

Well in Tank Mode: Detroit Pistons

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    The Detroit Pistons are a pretty bad team, and while they've been playing more consistent basketball as of late, there's no doubt that the Pistons are tanking the rest of their season in hopes of increasing their draft position.

    The Pistons need to seriously bolster their front court if they want to contend in the Eastern Conference, and the best way for them to do just that is to lose games in hopes of winning a high lottery pick so they can draft legitimate talent to put aside Greg Monroe.

    It will be hard for the Pistons to make free-agent acquisitions this summer, with so much money tied up in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, and because of that their best chance to get better as a team is through this year's draft.

    Detroit will lose all but one of their remaining games, which will help them get their name in the 2012 draft lottery drawing a few more times than other teams, increasing their odds of getting franchise talent in June.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 22-44

Well in Tank Mode: Toronto Raptors

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    While the Toronto Raptors are a pretty bad team, there's no reason that they are playing as bad as they are, especially now that we're closing in on the end of the 2011-12 regular season.

    The Raptors desperately need to inject some legitimate talent into their roster, and the way that they are going to do that is by drafting a player like Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    To draft a player of that caliber in this year's draft, the Raptors need to keep losing games, and the good news for them is that they are managing to do that with ease.

    With just over 10 games left on their schedule, I wouldn't be shocked if the Raptors dropped 90 percent of them, giving them a legitimate shot at getting a high-profile player in the 2012 NBA draft.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 21-45 

Well in Tank Mode: New Jersey Nets

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    The New Jersey Nets are tanking the rest of the 2011-12 season because there's a high likelihood that they are going to lose Deron Williams this offseason.

    Without Deron Williams, the Nets are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to talent left on the roster, and because of that the Nets need to increase their chances of getting a high-lottery pick during this year's draft.

    The best way to do that is to lose as many games as possible, and the Nets are doing just that.

    Expect the Nets to lose at at least eight of their remaining games of the season, ever increasing their chances of getting that elusive No. 1 overall draft pick in the draft.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 23-43

Tanking No Matter What: New Orleans Hornets

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    The New Orleans Hornets are doing a great job of tanking their season, losing a majority of their previous 10 games.

    WIth uncertainty surrounding whether or not they will have guys like Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman next season, it's time for the Hornets to enter into rebuilding mode, if the haven't already done so.

    If the season ended right now, the Hornets would have the third-highest chance at winning the number one overall pick, and they would be wise to increase those odds by losing the majority of their final games.

    The good news for the Hornets is that they've already started to tank the rest of the season, and they will continue to do that for the remaining games on their schedule.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 17-49 

Tanking No Matter What: Washington Wizards

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    Much like the Charlotte Bobcats, the Washington Wizards are in the, "even if they wanted to win they couldn't" group, and that means it's time to keep tanking the season.

    The Wizards are one of the most inconsistent and undisciplined teams in the NBA, and while the last thing they need is more young talent, that's what will most likely happen, as they continue to increase their chances of getting a high draft pick in this year's draft.

    The Wizards only have 13 games left, and it's a realistic possibility that they could lose 10 of those games, which would help their chances of getting a No. 1 or 2 pick in the draft.

    With that kind of placement in the draft, the Wizards could trade their pick to get veteran talent, or draft another athletic and young player.

     

    Final Record Prediction: 16-50

Tanking No Matter What: Charlotte Bobcats

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    Whether the Charlotte Bobcats want to or not, there's no doubt that they've started to tank the 2011-12 season.

    The Bobcats are the absolute worst team in the NBA, and even if they wanted to change that they couldn't, because they just don't have enough talent to do so.

    With a young roster, the Bobcats are in rebuilding mode, and they will carry that perspective well into the offseason, including into the draft.

    With just 14 games left on their schedule, it's not unreasonable to think that the Bobcats could lose 10 or 11 of them, which would give them the highest chances of winning the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Even if the Bobcats wanted to start winning, they couldn't, which means it's time to continue the tanking.

     

    Final Record Prediction:  9-57