So it's the off-season and the draft isn't here yet. I figured this is a time then to ask a random question and see the thoughts of the community. (Sorry if this question seems silly or what not.)
Let's imagine a basketball team has a mediocre roster. It has maybe one pretty good player, but overall it's just not able to compete with the flashy big name teams. It might compete for a playoff spot, but realistically it's probably a one-and-out if it does make the playoffs. It's not located in a premier city, so adding significant/impact names is more often out of the question.
Why shouldn't the team just tank a season outright and try for a high pick?
Some of the factors that came to mind included:
- Pissed off fan base
- No guarantee of a first pick
- Demoralized players
However, I don't think any of these reasons (in my opinion) really hold much significance.
- Getting bounced in the first round year after year isn't exactly inspiring anyways...if you bite the bullet and get another (potential) impact player, multiple better seasons that follow would erase the tanking from memory. Additionally, teams today already enter full tanking after trade deadlines...fans evidently haven't ditched them in droves; they hold out hope that the gambit works.
- While a first pick is always the "safe bet" for getting talent and never guaranteed, a team that tanks an entire season can pretty much rest assure of a top 5 pick because of their record. A top 5 pick is still as safe as it gets in finding talent in a weak draft (let alone strong).
- In today's system, a player is already frustrated with being stuck in "mediocrity" of not winning championships. It's the new "thing". Might as well try to compress it as much as you can and swing for a home run the next season. Additionally, again, teams tank for half seasons already...would a full one really make a difference?
In the end, I think it reverts to whether you believe tanking/building through drafts is really a solid plan. However, I look around and see lots of teams stuck in mediocrity purgatory and I wonder to myself if that's something you really want... why not swing for the fences? Worst case scenario you're still a mediocre team afterwards anyways...and you have another young player too.