Mike Krzyzewski Speaks out About Tanking in the NBA

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 13, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils looks on at his post game press conference after they lost 85-63 against the Louisville Cardinals  during the Midwest Regional Final round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 31, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Legendary Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski has a highly touted freshman in Jabari Parker, a player so talented that some NBA teams may even consider tanking an entire season in order to draft him.

However, Krzyzewski can't even begin to consider the notion that tanking is on any professional organization's agenda.

The 66-year-old spoke out on the matter after a 94-83 loss to Kansas on Tuesday evening, and his comments were documented by ESPN.com news services:

As an American, I wouldn't like to think that an American team would want to lose or create situations where you would want to lose...I can't even fathom -- I can't go there. I can't believe that that would happen. Maybe I'm naive and I'm going to go read a fairy tale after this.

If that is happening, shame on whoever is doing it.

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 08:  Jabari Parker #1 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates with teammate Quinn Cook #2 after a dunk against the Davidson Wildcats during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 8, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Str
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Jayhawks head coach Bill Self, who also has some serious first-year talent in Andrew Wiggins at his disposal, dismissed the concept of tanking, too.

"I don't think anybody's tanking...I know that guys like to play and compete, and I guess you can make sure that you don't play certain guys, which I don't think has happened," said Self.

Krzyzewski and Self are savvy, experienced veterans and have seen a lot of basketball, so adhering to their testimony is wise in most instances. If the beginning of this NBA season is to be used as a sample, there is merit to what they are saying.   

Check out these Week 1 power rankings by ESPN.com's Marc Stein, which aligned with many schools of thought before the 2013-14 campaign began.

In last place were the Philadelphia 76ers, who currently sit at 4-4 and tied for first in the Atlantic Division.

Just above them in 29th were the Phoenix Suns; they have jumped out to a 5-2 record and are atop the Pacific Division.

The Charlotte Bobcats were a slot above the Suns in these preseason rankings, but are yielding the eighth-fewest points in the Association to date in compiling a 3-4 record.

If tanking is a thing in the NBA, someone forgot to tell ex-Butler and current Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
If tanking is a thing in the NBA, someone forgot to tell ex-Butler and current Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

In 27th was Charlotte's Wednesday opponent, the Boston Celtics. Minus superstar point guard Rajon Rondo, the Celtics started off 0-4 under first-year head coach Brad Stevens, but have rallied to get back to .500 and sit atop the Atlantic Division alongside Philadelphia.

Even the descriptions Stein provides for the Sixers and Suns hint at tanking the season to jockey for higher draft position, yet the early results and signs of effort hardly coincide with that logic.

If the supposed worst teams in the league are expected to be tanking, many of them are doing a lousy job thus far.

In any case, there's no doubt any NBA team would love to get its hands on a prospect like Parker or Wiggins, and whichever team is fortunate enough to do so down the road will likely be very happy.