Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday 12/21 A.M. Quickie:
In Defense of Tanking a Season

Now that I finally have a handle on what day it is...

Sixers lose 12th straight: There's no question the Sixers should intentionally tank the rest of the season to position themselves to have the best chance to win Greg Oden in the NBA Draft Lottery.

The only debate is how open they should be about it. I'm sure David Stern would freak out, but if I was the team owners and management, I'd tell the fans exactly that. Fans would respect the team a hell of a lot more for it if they knew the losing was in service of something bigger.

I have this terrific ongoing debate with fans and readers over "To tank or not to tank" for draft position. I contend that as long as fans understand the tanking is in the service of something better, they'll not only understand, but applaud.

The classic case study is Cleveland Cavs fans. I don't hear many complaining that the team essentially tanked their season to ensure they drafted LeBron James. How many fans would trade a single 0-82 season for LeBron? I would imagine somewhere between many, most and all.

In this case, aside from the perennial lottery risk that even with the worst record, the Sixers won't get the first overall pick, the case for tanking (and being open about it) is "Oden-and-shut."

So what has more integrity: Admitting you're tanking to draft the best post player in a generation or losing but putting up a false front that you're actually trying, when everyone REALLY knows you would rather have the best post player in a generation. Tank away, Sixers.

There's only one problem with the plan...

Is Larry Brown coming back to the Sixers? The only thing that could truly derail a rebuilding project, hubbed around three 2007 first-round draft picks is to let Larry "Wrong Way" Brown be a part of the team, as advisor, coach, whatever. As we saw a year ago, he simply ruins young teams. If Sixers fans should have any outrage, it's that Brown is in the picture.

Knicks are 2-0 since the MSG Brawl: As long as they're winning, it's a lot harder to criticize the tactics, doesn't it? (And good for David Lee for having the game-winning tip-in at the buzzer. Despite being one of the most productive second-year players in the NBA, Isiah has kind of jerked him around with Jared Jeffries' return from injury.)

AI's debut in Denver was delayed by a snowstorm, but so was the Nuggets' game versus the Suns, which everyone wanted to see AI play in anyway. He'll make his debut tomorrow against the Kings.

(Meanwhile, reading about the juiced ticket sales in Denver with AI's arrival, I repeat: Iverson's powder-blue Nuggets jersey will be the NBA's top seller, despite a late start.)

Can you think of anything less sexy than a three-way between T.O., Deion Sanders and DeAngelo Hall? But that's exactly what they had, as Deion got Hall on the phone with T.O. to let Owens apologize for spitting in Hall's face. Hall accepted, and the trio all moved on to lovingly gaze at each other's reflections in the mirror.

I think Washington super-freshman big man Spencer Hawes just played himself into the NBA Draft Top 10. It was one of "those" kind of games, the reputation-makers:

Hawes absolutely dominated LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis in a Washington win over LSU. Hawes finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds on 10/16 FG shooting. Davis was held to 8 points on 3/11 FG shooting.

Put Hawes in the mix at the top of the 2007 draft class, right below consensus 1-2 picks Oden and Durant. I think by the time we get to next June, we'll be talking about Hawes in the Top 5.

MLB Hot Stove: Zitopalooza Update. Are the Mets serious about signing Jeff Suppan as insurance in case the Zito deal falls through, or simply using him as leverage to get Barry Zito to sign?

College Football Recruiting: Wild news. QB John Brantley, who won the Gatorade award for H.S. Football Player of the Year and is arguably the No. 1 QB in the Class of 2007, has reversed on his commitment to attend Texas in favor of his home-state Florida, a huge coup for the Gators and a devastating hit for the Longhorns (particularly given that this is the second time in three years this has happened to them). I, uh, sort of follow Florida football, so I'm happy, but a little wary: Given that freshman sensation Tim Tebow has three years left, why would Brantley want to sit behind Tebow for that long?

Is it Thursday yet? Ah! I'll take the Packers over the Vikings tonight, because, despite how shitty the Packers and Brett Favre are this season, I'm not sure Vikings rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson is ready to win in Green Bay at night in December yet. But I love that the Vikings are playing him, and I stick by yesterday's twice-affirmed argument that if I was the Packers GM and I was offered Jackson for Favre, straight up, I'd be effing insane not to do the deal. (Assuming away all the ugly baggage that comes with trading Favre and simply measuring their talents and remaining career upside against each other.)

-- D.S.


amr said...

So, If yesterday was thursday, DS's pick is Vikes, but if today is Thursday, DS's pick is the Packers. What happened overnight?

I'm a Vikings fan, but my pick is Green Bay. Farve will throw a bunch of TDs against the Vikes' pass D. This win will pave the way for GB to make the playoffs at 8-8. (No, I don't know what the tiebreaker scenarios are.)

Jared said...

You've gotta tank. Even if you don't get first pick, this is a great draft to be picking high in. And you've got to factor in that the lottery was created for Stern to control the draft, and he's going to want to put Oden in Philly. Whatever happens, the only way to rebuild in the NBA is to bottom out then work back up. It's the only way. So let Philly hit rock bottom, then pick up their new franchise player and begin again.

I'm a Cavs fan, and we were all begging the team to tank for LeBron. And the team did it so blatantly, they didn't have to come out and tell us what was going on. Everybody knew, and everybody was happy about it. The only uproar was when the team actually won its last game, giving it a share for the worst record with Denver and thereby costing us some ping pong balls. The best part of that season was when we released Bimbo Coles, and then he complained that we were tanking the season... no shit buddy, why do you think you had a job?

CMFost said...

What if they tank and Oden decide not to come out for the draft?

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

The reason you don't tank the season is because you never know what way the ball bounces. Every year, it seems like the team with the worst record gets the #3 or #4 pick. That would suck.

PS...After seeing all the people who had 32 points on TCU's win...makes me think that they forgot to do the confidence pick. Who on earth seriously put 32 points down on THAT game and actually meant it?

Christian Thoma said...

Good night and good luck

Just wanted to bid a fond farewell to everybody, as I'm going to be abandoning my typical sports-related haunts on the Internet in favor of paper and eyes (yep, even Simmons and TMQ). Now's a good time to do so since I'll be hitting the road tomorrow anyway for several days, and it's easier to break with no Internet access.

Normally I don't say goodbye but I don't want any snide comments along the lines of 'haven't seen ChrTh since the Packers got eliminated from the playoffs' happening (in case the Pack lost tonight). That said, if the Pack do make the playoffs I will be back for one "Ha I Told You So!" post.

And of course if I win the Daily Quickie Readers group for the Bowls, I'll come by to collect my 'prize'.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.

Sheldiz said...

i'm strictly anti-tank. call me an idealist, or naive, or what have you.... but i am definitely anti-tank.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Jeff said...If he was staying at Texas, and wasn't going to flordia you would not have said he is even arguably the No. 1 QB in the Class of 2007.

Just thought I would point that out for ya.

Well he is arguably the #1 QB in the country per ESPN and

How BAD is tonight's NFL game? I'm kinda glad I'll miss it because I have to get up at 5am to drive to my parents in Florida.

What's the tagline for tonight's game? "One of these teams will finish BELOW .500"

Speaking of which any chance the 76ers hire Eddie to be their head coach? It worked when Sean Connery owned the Knicks.

Joe (Dayton)

Anonymous said...

Ok, Dan DOES have a Vendetta on Favre. I have a feeling this will all end up with a sissy slap and a straight out sprint to the exit.

Anonymous said...

If Oden doesn't come out, there's still Joakim and a lot of other quality guys. Oden is clearly this year's Duncan, but still, this is easily the safest year in the NBA to tank for a lottery pick.

A fact the entire Atlantic division seems to be taking to heart!

Anonymous said...

Brantley will redshirt next year and then spend a year as Tebow's backup. It's doubtfull Tebow will be there all 4 years, though he could pull a Lienat/Manning since it sems like he loves UF that much. DS bias aside, and no matter what happens Jan. 8, Gators will start next year #1, probably by a wide margin.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'll pick up on the Pens. I think you're underestimating B-ball a bit. OKSt. has really come on the last couple of years, and they'll be a contender more than hockey.

I really pray they move to Canada. They deserve Crosby. I can't watch another Southern US team hoist the STanley Cup, I don't care about the economics. That's just WRONG.

Mega said...

Consider me anti-tank all the way. You play to win, not to get a good draft spot.

Also, the NBA draft is a "lottery". What if Philly tanks but Stern decides another "frozen envelope" will be in order to get Oden to Boston?

Big D said...

Couple things.

First, jason nailed it on the top comment, but there certainly is the chance that the Sixers tank for the entire year, alienate their fan base, and then lose the lottery.

And, considering the low quality of the Atlantic division, there's a great chance that a different Atlantic team (please, God, let it be Boston - it's only fair after the Duncan "incident"...) ends up with that #1 pick and Sixers fans have to watch Oden dominate for the next six years.

Of course, there's cmfost's point too - what if Oden stays at tOSU for another year? He's nursing that wrist, and might not be able to showcase himself the way he or his handlers would want. Sure, everybody in the NBA knows what the kid could do, but he might want to prove himself even more.

The bigger factor with the second scenario is money - one more year in school = one more year for the NBA salary cap to rise = higher rookie salaries and signing bonuses.

If he stays healthy for a year, he's still the #1 overall pick. Why not stay in school and get himself another couple million, and maybe a shot at a national title?

Brian in Oxford said...

Stern hates the chance. I go all the way back to his first year, '84....Celts up 3-2, game 6 in LA. Stern says something like, "A game seven would be good for the league."

In other words, "Go Lakers!"

He would have rigged the Duncan lottery first. Maybe he anti-rigged it....pulled the cold envelopes out first! :)

Plus, Stern grew up a Knicks fan in the 60s....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, UT is really crying that Ryan Perilloux got away. That guy is just TEARING UP the SEC. He's unstoppable and a household name.

Seriously, it doesn't matter. Think about all of the big-time QBs that didn't do squat...Brock Berlin, Justin Zwick, etc

and last year's top 3. One is transferring (Snead), one is holding the entire athletic department hostage (Mustain), and one has worked out so far (Tebow).

Anonymous said...

I know the money is huge, but Oden keeps making little comments about how he is going to stay at tOSU. I can't imagine he would be doing it just to appease the fans, cause we all thought he would be one and done before he got here.

Unknown said...

Sit behind Tebow?
Sit behind McCoy? Either way stinks for him. But I bet Tebow has a better chance of being injured in the Gator system, so that means the new kid will have a shot. BTW, I'm pretty sure Troy Smith wasn't anywhere on those "#1 High School QB" malarkey awards. I think Zwick was...hmmm.

Again, Oden should stay in school. Especially if his pro option is to go to Philly. Yikes. He has seen how much help Philly gave its last superstar, why would he go there?

Unknown said...

Type slowly.

You always spell it "Flordia"

Makes me feel dyslexic.

Jen said...

rafael~ Good point about Zwick...our local paper just had an article about that recruiting class of '02, Zwick announcing his signing and what a big deal it was. Troy Smith was the last signee and was simply labeled "athlete".


Anonymous said...

The problem that I have with tanking the season is that you run the risk of absolutely killing your franchise. Look at what happened to the Celtics with the Tim Duncan debacle - it's been so many years I can barely remember and the Celtics still suck.

There are no guarantees in the NBA draft and tanking just to get one player is really risky. This year it isn't as bad because the draft is so deep but if you wind up with the 4th pick after losing every game from here on out your fanbase might never recover.

Big D said...

Another good point about anking - this year's NBA draft class looks as though it will be very deep. 1997 (The Duncan Year) wasn't all that good. There was TD, Kieth VanHorn, Chauncey Billups, Tracy McGrady... and not much else.

BTW - It was almost like Rick Pitino was shellshocked from the day of the lottery until draft day. Everyone remembers the C's getting hosed and ending up with the #3 overall pick (Chauncey Billups) behind San Antonio and Philly (Van Horn), but Boston also had the #6 overall pick. Pitino managed to waste that one on the legendary Ron Mercer. T-Mac fell to #9 overall.

Jared said...

The bigger factor with the second scenario is money - one more year in school = one more year for the NBA salary cap to rise = higher rookie salaries and signing bonuses.

Huh? The salary cap won't rise much... certainly not enough to cover a year of lost income, and he'll have to wait another year to be a free agent.

Anyway, it's not like tanking is a big deal. If the Sixers play their hearts out they still don't win 20 games this year.

Jared said...

generik, like I said before, not a single person in Cleveland complained about what was happening. Philly has been losing for so long, they'd be glad to endure another losing season for a top draft pick that can turn the franchise around.

Anonymous said...

The Texans didn't tank last year. They just aren't any good.

Being behind McCoy would be worse than being behind Tebow. UT fans take guys like McCoy and make them gods (see Applewhite, Major).

Shoebootie said...

Speaking of tanking for a draft pick. I was watching the Detroit - GB game last weekend (because fantasy football makes you do strange things). Down 10-6 with 11 minutes in the game Detroit intercepts Favre on the GB 12 yard line. The ensuing offensive series goes: Hand off to Arlen Harris for 4 yards, hand off to Harris for 0 yards, Kitna up the middle for 3 yards on a QB draw(definitely by design, not a broken play), field goal. I have never seen a team try not to score a TD in the red zone that hard.

Brian in Oxford said...

Nobody's made the obvious crack about the Bears no longer "TANK"ing the rest of the season.

Ugh....slow sports night.

Anonymous said...

If Reggie and VY were at the beach together, VY would be tossing shells back into the ocean and Reggie would be asking him how he could hit the water everytime.

Jared said...


making fun of a QB who can't throw, but can only run


Jon said...

I don't think it's a big deal if Oden goes back to OSU for another year. Actually that might work out better for Philly, who probably won't be any good next year either. Just think if they could draft Durant or Wright this year with the potential to get Oden next year. That's the start of one dominant front court.

CMFost said...

Here is a question in the depth of the NBA draft. Is the depth of the Draft because there are a lot of quality college senior that will be in the draft or is it projected to be a strong draft based on who everyone thinks will enter the draft early? And if it is based on who enters the draft early could it not be that this draft will not be as strong as everyone thinks?

Sean said...

@ Brian in Oxford

I actually thought the quicking this morning was about the Bears Tank and was surprised to find that it wasn't!!

Anonymous said...

Being a Pittsburgh native, and current resident of Central PA, I think Pittsburgh should secede from the state of PA for the screwjob they got from the PA Gaming Board. I wonder if Ed Rendell (governor, Philly native) would vote against a casino that would help build a new Flyers/Sixers arena and prevent those teams from moving. It can't even be good business. I can tell you right now I will NEVER step foot in the casino that did get approved, and a lot of fans probably feel the same way.

mattie said...

I'm for tanking, but not this early (in the case of the Sixers). But as someone else said, the Sixers could play their hearts out for 3/4 of the season and still stink to high heaven, so whatever. I do think that as the season's winding down and everyone's looking to next year anyway, you may as well tank then, because at least then you're doing something designed to give your fanbase a little hope and something to look forward to.

I was in Boston at school when they didn't get the Duncan pick. I don't think I've ever seen a team/city take a draft seeding harder, EVER. There's got to be some in between where your entire franchise won't crumble if you don't get the pick, but the fans can get a kick at the end of what will be a miserable season whether they tank or not.

Of course, I'm a Knicks fan who hates Isiah and can't help but hope to watch him hand over the #1 pick and Oden to the Bulls while he keeps yammering about the greatness of Eddy Curry. What an idiot...that's the least of what he deserves.

MoonHopper said...

My quickie comments:

Tanking never works because no drafted played is guaranteed to work out. Very few single guys can actually turn around a franchise, so skip the tank.

My guess: AI and Carmelo on the same team will be a disaster. There's only one ball.

Beware of "former" A's pitchers. Don't pay too much.

Brantley sitting for three years? Not so fast, maybe Tebow should be worried?

And since it IS Thursady, yeah, Packers, I agree.

Big D said...

Quick question:

Phily got 2 #1's in this year's draft drom Denver. Obviously, one is the Nuggets' own pick - where'd the other one come from?

I'm sure I could find it if I felt like looking, but I don't.

Also, @ generik: "But here they are this year, exceeding expectations so far, and still the city of Indianapolis doesn't give a shit about them"

Of course the city doesn't care about them. It's Indy, and it's NFL season. You guys are far more engaged in another Colts' season that will ultimately end in a bitter defeat.

Wait a month or two - the Pacers will certainly garner more interest after the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

jhawkjjm said...

Kansas City is trying hard to get a pro sports team to play in the new Sprint Arena opening in 2007. Supposedly we're getting the Charlotte WNBA team...what a waste of space that is.

Considering I work 3 blocks from the Sprint Arena and will basically have private parking, I'd love landing an NHL team. Hockey games are so great to watch in person.

CMFost said...

Maybe the Penguins can move to CT and play at Mohegan Suns arena. Would love to see them bring back the Whalers.

Anonymous said...

The draft picks that went to Philly are from Denver and Dallas. They'll trade higher on their own first round (sure to be lottery) pick.

But if you're blowing up the team because you built it around the guy you just traded, there are worse things than 3 darts thrown at a single draft. They were losing with AI, they might as well try something new.

They're really getting a reputation, though: wilt, Barkley and now AI traded away.

Anonymous said...

This is about tanking it in the NFL, always a bad idea, imo:

And the NBA:

Or this that it points to:

Kevin said...

Hey Dan, here's something to piss you off: ESPN.Com has a poll for the year's best chat - and your final MQ didn't even make the top ten. Are you sure there were no hard feelings in your departure from ESPN?

Kevin said...

Tanking wouldn't be as effective in the NBA as it would in football, as you still only have a 1-in-4 chance of landing Oden if you go 0-82.

CMFost said...

Allright Dan it is time to spill the beans, in the spirt of the holiday season let us all know the answer to the question we have been wondering for months.

Why did you leave ESPN?

Anonymous said...

People are acting like getting the #1 pick is the only reward possible for tanking. But, consider that losing more games makes you more likely to get any lower spot on the draft board, not just the #1. What if it gives them the #2 spot, while not tanking would give them the #3, or #4? Remember, we're not talking in hindsight--a higher pick is intrinsically better than a lower pick.

With that said, I don't think tanking is a bad thing, except that the team not only has to refuse to admit it to the press, they have refuse to admit it to themselves. Otherwise, you'll get this apathy that may be hard to shake next year.

Jon said...

Philly doesn't need to tank the season. This isn't a matter of them tanking, they are that bad.

Brian in Oxford said...

sonofabeeyotch...who would take a rookie QB on the road?

I think Bubba Franks singlehandedly wants to cost me my picks pool for the year. That was unwatchable seeing the Packers win and NOT cover.

Dan, Favre played okay, before you start proclaiming him awful again tomorrow. And, Bryant Gumbel wasn't bad either, in stunning HD no less.

I did take time out around halftime to watch Pitt-OkSt, of course....Pitt's scheduling themselves a MFer season, huh? First Wisconin and then this?!

Always fun to watch football while wrapping presents. A small solace since the Saturday network doubleheaders are apparently gone.