The term "tanking" isn't something that's openly discussed in NBA circles. In a league where winning is paramount, the very thought of deliberately losing just feels wrong.
Despite all that philosophical garbage, let's be honest: There are already a few teams that should start thinking about throwing in the towel.
It's understandable that the league's franchises are reluctant to talk about tanking because it implies a surrender. Prideful athletes are loathe to so openly admit failure, and season-ticket holders don't want to shell out big bucks for a product that isn't committed to winning.
But there is an obviously positive side to giving in, and to see it, we have to look no further than the Golden State Warriors.
Thanks to the organization's shrewd decision last year to trade a healthy player (Monta Ellis) for an injured one (Andrew Bogut), the Dubs set the wheels in motion. "Operation: Tank Mode" really got rolling when the Warriors shut down Stephen Curry and David Lee, ultimately resulting in a starting five comprised entirely of rookies at season's end.
The lottery pick they saved by losing yielded Harrison Barnes, who has started every game for Golden State this year. Thanks to the contributions of Barnes, as well as returns to full health for Curry and Lee (both of whom underwent surgery during the time Golden State was tanking last year), the Dubs are enjoying their best season in decades.
The Warriors' deliberate effort to lose games actually paid off.
Realistically, any team that isn't capable of making noise in the playoffs should be trying to find a way to bottom out. The worst place to be in the NBA is the dreaded "middle," where lottery picks are in the teens and there's still no hope of a postseason seed.
But tanking isn't for everybody.
So, as much as we'd like to tell half of the league to call it quits, we'll limit our tanking mandates to the NBA's most hopeless teams. Let's go through the list of clubs that should already be waving white flags.
*All stats accurate as of Jan. 23, 2013.