It has become pretty apparent throughout the past few games that the Golden State Warriors have little interest in winning. They have dropped nine of their last 10 games. In essence, the Warriors are tanking, which means to intentionally lose as many games as possible for better draft positioning and to keep picks.
In their most recent loss against the New Orleans Hornets, the Warriors' starting lineup consisted of four rookies and Richard Jefferson. Stephen Curry, David Lee and Andris Biedrins, three of their regular starters, were sidelined with injuries. Nate Robinson and Dorell Wright, their other starters, did not play due to a "coach's decision." In that same game, head coach Mark Jackson benched Klay Thompson, their only respectable offensive threat, in favor of playing the other rookies.
"We were in control of the game, the whole fourth quarter," head coach Mark Jackson said when asked about sitting Klay Thompson. "I figured it was only right to let those guys finish it out, and it was an opportunity to see what those young guys are made of."
Yeah right. Not buying it. Golden State had a 64-61 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and lost 83-81 on a last-second goaltending call. Yeah, that's having real "control of the game in the fourth quarter."
For those of you who have not yet heard, the Warriors will get to keep their draft pick if it is seventh or lower. If it is higher than seventh, the pick then goes to the Utah Jazz. The Warriors are 23-42, good (bad?) enough for the eighth-worst record in the NBA.
Which explains their desire to tank.
In all honesty, there has to be a better system in place to discourage teams from doing this. Not only is tanking embarrassing for players, but it is also a big slap in the face for the fans, who pay a lot of money to see their team lose.
But it isn't like Warriors' fans care. After their loss to the Hornets at home, fans tossed confetti from the lower level and onto the court, celebrating the loss that still gives the Warriors' hope to retain their draft pick.
And it isn't just the Warriors. Do you really think that teams, such as New Orleans (21-44), Sacramento 21-44 or Washington (19-46), really want to win right now? Or would they rather tank to get better draft positioning?
Every single year, teams find themselves asking the same question: Win for pride or lose for a draft pick?
In the Warriors' scenario, where they might even lose their coveted draft pick, they almost have to tank.
All of this is horrible for the NBA. Fans lose interest and TV coverage disappears. TNT, which was scheduled to broadcast the Warriors vs. Hornets game on Tuesday night, showed the Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz game instead.
Why? Both the Hornets and Warriors are in the bottom half of the Western Conference, and neither of them really have a strong desire to win the game. Viewers would much rather watch the Suns and Jazz battle it out for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Attendance is down as well. The Warriors, who average close to 19,000 fans a game at Oracle Arena, drew just 17,700 against the Hornets. By looking at the crowd that showed up, that number might have been exaggerated quite a bit.
But that's not the main concern. What concerns me is the concept of tanking. Losing games on purpose should never happen. Never.
Even when the players actually try to win, the coach simply benches the good players, plays the benchwarmers and makes some lame excuse like, "We wanted to evaluate our other guys."
The NBA needs to somehow fix the system so that teams do not find themselves having to tank games at the end of the season. But as of right now, I don't see any other way that the NBA draft could be done fairly.
Perhaps one way to avoid tanking situations would be to randomize the draft order every year, so that every team has an equal chance at the No. 1 selection.
Tanking is one of the biggest lowlights of every NBA season. Unfortunately, all it does is embarrass the team and the coach and cause nightmares for the NBA.