This is not exactly a meeting of two heavyweights for a Friday night fight. For the Los Angeles Lakers, a proud city used to winning has all but lost hope in the Lakers this season. Even if Kobe Bryant came back today they are 14 games away from 500. Granted, it’s still before the All-Star Break and crazier things have happened, but considering the dwindling health of the team, the stacked Western Conference and a good draft coming up, it may be in the best interest of the Lakers to keep sitting some of their star players and hope for a run at the playoffs next season.
As for the Charlotte Bobcats, we’re all used to seeing them play sub-.500, and they’re already seven games below. But wait, they’re in eighth place in the Eastern Conference! The Bobcats actually have a chance at the playoffs this season because of the awful conference! So, don’t tank now Bobcats, this might be your chance to make some noise!
On the flip side, isn’t it clear that the Bobcats have no chance at winning a title? Isn’t that the reason why any team gets into the playoffs, to eventually win, or at least get to the conference championship? The disparity in the Eastern Conference is so massive that the three teams at the bottom of the playoff bracket are below .500, and the two teams at the top combine for less losses than the Bobcats. So, maybe tanking is still an option.
For teams like the Bobcats, is it more advantageous for the franchise to get to the playoffs only to lose in the first-round or is it better to get yet another lottery pick? Is it important for them to create a “culture of winning”? Is creating a “culture of winning” really true if you’re below .500?
These are actually all questions that concern the creators and managers of the NBA Lottery. More and more these days people are talking about tanking to get a high draft choice. It’s time something is done about that concept, because that is not sports. It’s time for lottery draft pick reform to prevent teams from purposely losing at the end of seasons. It’s not helping to keep the NBA even as much as we think it is. The bad teams are still bad and the good teams are for the most part still good. What can be done? That’s for smarter minds to figure out.