The NBA draft lottery provides incentive for teams which are not competing for a championship to lose as many games as possible, in order to acquire the talent necessary to contend in the future. Yet this summer, several bad teams opted for mediocrity instead of increasing their odds of hitting the jackpot.
The incentive to tank this season is even greater than in years past because the 2014 draft is expected to be the strongest in over a decade. University of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins has been touted as the biggest prospect since LeBron James.
Duke University freshman Jabari Parker, University of Kentucky freshman Julius Randle, Oklahoma State University sophomore Marcus Smart and Australian guard Dante Exum are also considered potential franchise players.
Teams like the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers shed talent and salary in the hopes of acquiring one of those talented youngsters next summer.
Other teams, like the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns simply maintained the status quo, refusing to add marginal players to their rosters.
There are a variety of reasons why teams choose not to tank. Very often the mandate to remain competitive comes from the top. Some owners are too impatient or proud to go through a prolonged rebuilding process. Others are concerned about keeping people in the seats.