Fix tanking: Jeff Van Gundy

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
1:09
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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It is universally acknowledged that there is something odd about teams being rewarded for playing badly, as we have discussed when HoopIdea first addressed tanking. But it's not a simple problem to solve. In that spirit, we will present a number of different proposals.

A few weeks ago, Jeff Van Gundy addressed tanking on TrueHoop TV, and as usual he didn't mince words, saying: "The whole idea of getting bad, as bad as you can, to get good, basically throwing away seasons, throwing games, not trying your best to win ... should have no place in the draft."

Van Gundy's preferred solution is as follows:
I would either have an inverse lottery, like the best record gets the most chances -- so trying becomes of paramount importance.

Or at the very least, everybody has an equal chance, so there is absolutely no benefit to trying to be bad.

Now, before you get all excited about how Van Gundy's solution would create a few super teams and leave everybody else in the cold, let me remind you:
  • In the real world, whether at school or work, the people who do the best get the most rewards, and that seems to generally work out OK.
  • Economists insist this would make not just a few teams but the whole league stronger.
  • Bad teams would still get good draft picks, not just all the good draft picks.
  • It would put a real premium on great long-term team management, which could be the best news ever for fans of bad teams.

You have a HoopIdea?

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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