Embrace the Tank: Late Season Update

This years tankathon is going to come down to the wire.

With a supposed “deep” draft class on the horizon, it’s been a race to get to the bottom. (Everytime a draft is declared “deep” most of the players end up sucking anyways.) 

There are 8 teams in play that are sitting in the swamps of the NBA standings and with less than a month left of the regular season, there is almost zero incentive for these teams to win.

Here are the current standings as of Monday, March 27th:

1. Brooklyn Nets

Current Record: 16-57 

Last 10: 5-5

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .450

Tank-Offs: Philadelphia (3/28, 4/4), Orlando (4/1, 4/6)

What the hell is going on in Brooklyn? They are 5-5 in their last 10 including wins over the Hawks, Pistons & Knicks.

The Nets’ remaining schedule is a cakewalk with 2 games each against Philadelphia, Orlando, and Chicago and could find themselves somewhere else than the bottom of the standings when the season closes out.

[Boston fans’ screaming intensifies]   

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Current Record: 21-52

Last 10: 2-8

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .547

Tank-Offs: Minnesota (3/30, 4/9), Sacramento (4/7)

Hey Luke, remember when you said this?

Since then the Lakers have traded Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams to the Rockets, benched Luol Deng & Timofey Mozgov, and have lost a lot of games in the process.

The Lakers are blatantly tanking. There’s no doubt about it. And yet there is no public outcry like there was in Philadelphia. 

Look, I understand why they’re tanking. There is massive incentive to lose with their 2017 and 2019 1st round picks on the line if they fall outside the top 3. But don’t pretend like you’re not tanking. That’s bullshit.

3. Phoenix Suns

Current Record: 22-52

Last 10: 1-9

Games Remaining: 8

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .558

Tank-Offs: Sacramento (4/11)

Aside from Devin Booker blacking out on Friday and scoring 70 points, the Suns have been abysmal. Like, shockingly bad. There is a very realistic chance they finish out the season on a 16-game losing streak with a brutal remaining schedule featuring games against the Warrior, Rockets and Clippers.

Not to mention Phoenix is rolling out the youngest starting lineup in NBA history that should belong in the final four and not the professional court. Hell, finish the season out in style and let Booker go for 80.

T4. New York Knicks

Current Record: 27-46 

Last 10: 2-8

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .521

Tank-Offs: Philadelphia (4/12)

The 2016-17 Knicks are the team that keeps on giving. Joakim Noah was dinged with a 20-game suspension for PEDs. Hornacek and Phil Jackson are still desperately committed to the triangle. And Carmelo might be on his way out of town. The Knicks have been a complete circus all season and I love it.

T4. Philadelphia 76ers

Current Record: 27-46

Last 10: 4-6

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .451

Tank-Offs: Brooklyn (3/28, 4/4), New York (4/12)

Is Philadelphia winning too much? This is new territory for the Process Era Sixers who could very well play themselves out of a top 5 pick. Dario Saric has been incredible since the Sixers dealt Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks and has almost assuredly locked down the Rookie of the Year award. (Malcolm Brogdon who?) Robert Covington is solidifying himself as a top defensive player in the NBA and ranks in the top 20 in overall RPM. Things are looking up even with should-be all-star Joel Embiid out for the season.

Philadelphia has the second easiest scheduling remaining of the tankers and is playing some of the best ball of the bunch. Interesting scenarios are going to arise with the Sixers facing off twice against Brooklyn as the season winds down. Do they win and hurt their own position? Or do they lose to make sure Brooklyn doesn’t pass Los Angeles in the standings?

T4. Orlando Magic

Current Record: 27-46 

Last 10: 4-6

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .484

Tank-Offs: Brooklyn (4/1, 4/6)

Orlando might be the most boring of all the bad teams. Aaron Gordon is finally playing at the 4 and Hezonja is getting minutes! Long live Mario! That’s all I got.

Let’s be honest, whoever the Magic draft is going to end up being painfully average. It’s almost tradition at this point.

7. Sacramento Kings

Current Record: 28-45

Last 10: 3-7

Games Remaining: 9

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .474

Tank-Offs: Minnesota (4/1) , Los Angeles (4/7), Phoenix (4/11)

Buddy “Steph Curry” Hield pulled some tricks during the Kings recent 18-point comeback victory over the Clippers draining three 3-pointers in the games closing minutes. Hield has been lights out from range since being traded, knocking down 45% of his shots beyond the arc.

The forgotten Skal Labissiere has been playing well in limited minutes and THE KINGS HAVE RECEIVED PERMISSION TO INTERVIEW SAM HINKIE.

Are we witnessing the birth of a new process??

8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Current Record: 28-44

Last 10: 3-7

Games Remaining: 10

Remaining Opponents Win Percentage: .489

Tank-Offs: Los Angeles (3/30, 4/9), Sacramento (4/1)

Karl-Anthony Towns has been superb since the all-star break averaging 27.3 points and 13.3 rebounds on 60/39/79 splits. But, it hasn’t translated into wins for the Timberwolves who are currently on a 7-game losing streak. And he still can’t play a lick of defense.

Minnesota is loaded with interesting young pieces but are struggling to put it together. Kris Dunn looks like a bust and questions are arising about the injured Zach LaVine’s role and future with the team. For the team championed as “rebuilding the right way” things are looking a bit murky.