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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Tonight's NBA Draft Lottery: Will The Tanking Matter?

At 8:30 p.m. tonight, (Eastern Standard Time, ESPN), the NBA will conduct its draft lottery. It will determine the draft order of the 14 NBA teams that did not make this season's playoffs, as those teams will be assigned a pick between 1 and 14 in the 2007 NBA Draft, which will be held on June 28. We have examined this topic in great detail over the last couple of months, particularly in relation to NBA teams tanking, or purposefully losing games for more lottery balls.

However, as the Boston Globe photo from 1997 on the left reveals, sometimes tanking doesn't work out as planned: the photo is of a Boston Celtics fan, taken in April 1997, when the team purposefully lost games (as admitted by its former GM and head coach, M.L. Carr) in order to secure the worst record and thus the best chance to obtain the presumptive first pick, Tim Duncan. (thanks to Celtics Blog, the most popular blog devoted to any NBA team, and C's fan Daniel Babbit, for the photo). Just for good measure, check out The Sporting News cover from earlier this month on the right.

Here are our writings:


One way guaranteed to end tanking once and for all would be a relegation system like in many European soccer leagues. If the "reward" for being the NBA team with the worst record is to be sent down to the CBA next year, you can rest assured that the bottom teams would be playing their hearts out late in the season no matter what draft prospects would be available.

Of course, the chances of this happening in the NBA are practically zero - on second thought, drop the "practically" - but hey, we can always hope.

Anonymous Peter -- 5/22/2007 10:36 AM  

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