Ex-Raptors GM Colangelo Admits to Tanking Attempt During the 2011-2012 Season

Mohammad Arshad@@WahajArshadCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2014

Toronto Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo speaks to the media in Toronto on Monday, April 19, 2010. Colangelo addressed the media Monday, less than a week after his team was eliminated from post-season contention for the seventh time in nine seasons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
NATHAN DENETTE/Associated Press

Confirming what many had already suspected, Bryan Colangelo has admitted that the Toronto Raptors were attempting to tank during the 2011-2012 season in order to land a higher draft pick.

“Admittedly, I tried to tank a couple of years ago.” The former Raptors general manager told the audience at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, via Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated.

While he confessed to the tanking attempt, Colangelo was adamant that he didn’t tell Coach Dwane Casey to throw games on purpose.

“I didn’t come out and say, ‘Coach, you have to lose games.’ I wanted him to establish a winning tradition and culture, but I wanted him to do it in the framework of playing and developing young players.”

The Toronto Raptors finished the 66-game lockout-shortened season with the eighth-worst record in the league at 23-43.

The team ended up with the eighth overall draft pick and used it to select Terrence Ross.

The Golden State Warriors, who had the same record as Toronto but got the right to draft seventh after beating the Raptors in a coin flip, selected Harrison Barnes with their pick.

The Portland Trailblazers drafted All-Star point guard Damian Lillard with the sixth pick they had gotten from the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets).

According to Colangelo, the Raptors might have had a shot to draft Lillard if they had lost the last game of the season against the Nets. That would’ve given the team one fewer win than the Nets and a chance to draft sixth overall.

Colangelo was removed from his position after the 2012-2013 season and Masai Ujiri was hired as his replacement. The organization tried to keep Colangelo in the front office in an advisory role but he resigned a few weeks later.


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