"Tanking" has become a dirty word in the NBA, which is why no team outwardly admits to engaging in the practice. But we all know what's really going on, don't we?
Nearly a third of the league's teams have accepted that they've got absolutely no shot at contention, so each of them will chase as many losses as possible during the 2013-14 season. Technically, the goal for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and a handful of others is the same: Let the defeats mount and the chances of lottery success with them.
But there's more than one way to subtly mail in a season.
You can give big minutes to the young guys, experiment with quirky lineups, or even play the caution card with key injuries. And if you can pull off more than one of the preceding suggestions simultaneously, congratulations! You've undertaken an advanced tanking effort.
This year, we'll see a fascinating study in calculated losing as teams try to tank in a variety of ways for the loaded 2014 draft class while still keeping devotees interested. To do that, they'll try as hard as possible to provide hope for the future, evidence of a real plan and, most of all, a reason for fans to continue to buy tickets.
All while losing games on purpose, of course.