Former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie didn’t shake up the NBA simply by tanking. Teams tank all the time.
What set Hinkie apart: He entered multiple seasons with the intention of losing and securing a better draft pick.
Most tankers, though certainly not all, begin the season intent on winning. But when that fails and playoff dreams fade, teams switch focus.
The 76ers certainly didn’t begin this season planning to tank. They signed veterans Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez in the offseason, just traded for another in Ersan Ilyasova and desperately wanted to change perception of the team.
would president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo now consider tanking this season in an effort to potentially make things better in future years?
“Not a chance,” Colangelo replied Monday via text message.
File this under: What else is he supposed to say?
But will Philadelphia actually tank if the season continues to go south? It probably depends how you define tanking.
How I define tanking: Any decision a team makes that is motivated – even if only partially – by a desire to lose more and improve draft position.
So, yes, I believe, if the 76ers continue to stink into 2017, they will tank. That could mean playing youngsters even more, experimenting with unconventional lineups or resting top players even more.
And that’s all fine.
Philadelphia was in too deep of a hole to dig itself out in year one. It’s admirable to enter the season with that hope, but circumstances can change. Better to position the team for greater future success than chase a couple hallow victories late in a lost year.
Two more things to keep in mind:
1. The season isn’t lost yet. The 76ers have played just two games, and they can turn it around. That’s unlikely, but they don’t need to start tank anytime soon.
2. Colangelo admitted to tanking with the Raptors. If the situation dictates tanking, he’s not above it.