“Tanking” for an improved draft position is a tactic that has a deep rooted history in the NBA. Many NBA fans have seen year after year where teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers reap the benefits of displaying an almost unwatchable product on the court in return for a top tier draft pick. So when Perennial All-Star John Wall opted for a heel surgery that would sideline him for 6 to 8 months it looked certain that Washington was due for a steep decline down the standings.
Emergence of young talent
One of the most overlooked aspects of “Tanking” is the simple fact that the individual rewards to players who ball out (even on losing teams) are just too great. The first person who comes to mind is Bradley Beal. Beal is signed through the 2021 season and he has stitched together several Herculean efforts over the past few weeks in order to help his 2019 All-Star bid. Just like the Emergence of Bradley Beal, young players like center Thomas Bryant are using this time to keep a roster spot in the NBA. These ulterior motives of players are some of the biggest obstacles for a franchise looking to tank its way to the top of the draft board.