tanking

Update (July 13): Cleveland is gone, and most of the teams updated. I’ve also added a (See new in bold)

Update (July 8): Milwaukee moves down.

Update (July 7): Detroit removed from list due to Josh Smith signing, Sacramento moves down, Milwaukee, Cleveland sign free agents.

And just to stir the pot a little, here’s a recent Hoopshype article that some might find interesting regarding how most stars ended up on their team. (Thanks to Kupooo)

Update (July 6): Utah Jazz added, Atlanta Hawks moves down, Milwaukee Bucks move down.

With the 2014 Draft having as many as eight possible All Stars, according to NBA scouts, as well as the ultimate prize of Andrew Wiggins, who is considered the best high school prospect since LeBron James, and several others who have the potential to be franchise players themselves, there has been a lot of talk about the number of teams that are tanking in order to take advantage of what most believe to be the most talented draft in a decade.

Without a scorecard, it’s difficult to tell who is and who isn’t, so we’ve compiled this information to help.

Interestingly, despite all the talk of tanking, there don’t seem to be nearly as many teams blowing things up as first believed. In fact, a lot of teams seem to be actively trying to improve their teams instead of tearing them down, including the Kings, Pelicans, Cavs and Pistons, the last two improved so much they were removed from tanking contention. Also, the Hawks and Bucks appear to be trying to stay where they were, playoff teams with little hope of getting past the first round.

And it’s hard to say what team a team like Boston or Toronto’s plans are. I think we’ll see a lot happen once the season starts.

Toronto Raptors

Raptors

Recent Moves:

Traded Andrea Bargnani for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first round pick and two second round picks

Signed Tyler Hansborough to a 2 year, $6 million contract

Signed Dwight Byucks to multi-year deal

Recent Rumours:

There have been very few rumours since the initial ones at the beginning of July.

Analysis:

Ujiri has preached patience and apart from some cryptic interviews that didn’t really say a whole lot, he hasn’t given really any indication of what his plans are. The Hansborough signing is simply an acquisition of of a low impact asset, and really not much more. He adds toughness, but won’t add many, if any wins.

Tanking Rating: 30

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Philadelphia 76ers

76ers

Recent Moves:

Traded All Star Jrue Holliday to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first round pick (top 5 protected)

Traded for Royce White for “future draft considerations”

Recent Rumours: None

Analysis:

Absolute textbook tanking. And if you’re going to tank, you can’t really do it any better than this. Not only do they trade away their best player, they get a very good center prospect who will probably miss half the season and a pick in draft you’re tanking for.

Acquiring White is an asset grab for a team that doesn’t care about winning. If he works out, great. If not, no big deal.

Tanking Rating: 100

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Utah Jazz

utahjazz

Recent Moves:

Lost Al Jefferson to Charlotte and Paul Milsap to Atlanta

Traded Kevin Murphy for Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush and Golden State’s 2014 and 2017 first round picks and possibly a second round pick or two

Sign and traded away Randy Foye

Recent Rumours:

Probably won’t re-sign Mo Williams

Analysis:

Welcome to the tank, Utah! For people who think that cap space is only used for signing free agents, I give you the Utah Jazz. They knew they wouldn’t be an attractive destination for free agents, so took on $23 million in expiring contracts and sent out less than half a million. And as thanks for taking these salaries, so they could sign Andre Iguodala, the Warriors also sent Utah two first round picks.

Believe it or not, losing Al Jefferson isn’t a big deal for the Jazz, as he is such a horrible defensive player and the Jazz played better with Derrick Favors, anyway.What hurts them is by losing three starters (including Williams) their front court depth, which was a strength, is suddenly gone. And now they have a rookie as their starting point guard.

Tanking Rating: 90

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Orlando Magic

magic

Recent Moves:

None

Recent Rumours:

Are in discussions to buyout Hedo Turkoglu’s contract

Analysis:

The Magic are going to rely on their pure lack of talent, rather than fancy trades, to tank. Still the Magic aren’t as bad as you may think. Jameer Nelson is only 30 and a decent point guard, and Arron Afflalo should bounce back after a poor season, Nikola Vucevic is on his way to becoming one of the better young centers in the league and Tobias Harris made everyone immediately forget about J.J.Redick.

In fact they may need a trade in order to really be bad next season.

Buying out Turkoglu won’t actually help them either way, since he is beyond making a positive impact on the court. Getting rid of him will clear playing time for younger players.

Tanking Rating: 90

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Charlotte Bobcats

charlotte-bobcats-primary-2013

Recent Moves:

Signed Al Jefferson to three year deal, $40 million contract
Amnestied Tyrus Thomas

Recent Rumours:

Are looking into sign and trades with Gerald Henderson

Analysis:

By signing Jefferson to that huge deal, the Bobcats have signalled they are not trying to tank. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, acquiring Jefferson isn’t actually going to prevent them from losing, so whether they want to be or not, Charlotte is still a threat to get a top pick next year. Jefferson is certainly a very good scorer and rebounder, but his defense is horrible and despite his scoring talents, his True Shooting Percentage is actually pretty poor.

If they truly want to win some games, they will need to make more moves than this.

Tanking Rating: 80

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Phoenix Suns

phoenix_suns-primary-2014

Recent Moves:

Traded Jared Dudley for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler

Recent Rumours:

None

Analysis:

The Suns aren’t necessarily trying to get worse, but as long as Michael Beasley is putting on a Suns uniform, they’ll certainly be in the hunt for last place in the league. Honestly though, it’s tough to figure out what exactly the Suns are doing and I’m not even sure they know. If they were smart, they’d be trading away guys like Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic who are in their prime, past their prime or simply redundant respectively. Those guys obviously aren’t helping them win, and holding onto them does nothing.

Tanking Rating: 70

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Boston Celtics

bostonceltics

Recent Moves:

Traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, Keith Bogans and first round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Hired Brad Stevens as head coach for 6 years and $22 million.

Recent Rumours:

There have been rumours of both Dallas and Detroit being interested in Rajon Rondo, but none that Boston has considered moving him.

Apparently Boston MAY be looking to move Humphries and Wallace. Good luck with that.

Analysis:

“We’re not tanking”, said Danny Ainge. “This is the Boston Celtics.”

The same Boston Celtics that tanked for Tim Duncan and failed, and tanked for Greg Oden and Kevin Durant and failed, the latter when Danny Ainge was actually in charge, so it’s kind of hard to take him at his word.

The way the team is currently constructed, Ainge might WANT to tank, because with Rondo still on the team and if Jeff Green plays anywhere close to how he did at the end of the season, then this is a team that is good enough to compete, but probably not make the playoffs, putting them in that dangerous no man’s land the Raptors usually find themselves.

Trading Rondo will put them clearly on the tank track, but as it is they could go either way.

Tanking Rating: 50

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Sacramento Kings

king

Recent Moves:

Offered, then rescinded 4 year, $56 million offer to Andre Iguodala

Signed and traded Tyreke Evans for Greivis Vasquez

Sign Carl Landry to 4 year, $26 million contract

Traded two second round picks for Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute

Recent Rumours:

Had been in talks with Jose Calderon but he rebuffed them because did not want to play for a still-rebuilding team.

Analysis:

The Kings aren’t trying to tank and with the trade they may actually be better than last season. That is unless DeMarcus Cousins has a complete meltdown and pulls a Latrell Sprewell on his entire team which, let’s be honest here, is probably a good bet.

Vasquez will help the team more than Evans probably would have. Evans was a bad fit in Sacramento, and clearly not the PG they were trying to turn him into. Vasquez, for all his flaws, is a starting calibre PG who should be able to get the ball to the players that can score better than anyone else on the Kings roster.

Adding Landry and Mbah a Moute probably won’t make much of an impact, but show the direction the team wants to go. There’s no way they make the playoffs with their current roster, especially in the deep Western Conference, but they look they’re at least trying.

Tanking Rating: 20

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Milwaukee Bucks

milwaukeebucks

Recent Moves:

Lost Mike Dunleavy to Chicago via free agency

Signed O.J. Mayo to 3 year, $24 million deal

Signed Zaza Pachulia to 3 year, $16 million contract

Signed Carlos Delfino to 2 year, $6.5 million deal

Traded Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute to Sacramento for two second round picks

Lost Monta Ellis to Dallas via free agency

Acquired Luke Ridnour by helping the T-Wolves sign Kevin Martin

Recent Rumours:

None

Analysis:

Losing Dunleavy hurts, because the Bucks were a better team with him on the floor, but replacing Ellis with Mayo might actually be a lateral move for the Bucks because, despite Ellis’ offensive talents, he never meshed with Jennings, very well, and his defense has always been beyond bad.

Signing Pachulia is more peculiar than anything. He’s a good defensive player and rebounder, but they’ve already got a fairly deep front court.

Atlanta matched the offer sheet that the Bucks had given Jeff Teague, so unless they want to go into the season with Ridnour as their starting PG, we might see some negotiations with Brandon Jennings. If they sign Jennings, the Bucks are pretty much in the same position they were last year. A team without an All Star and with a ceiling of a first round team continuing to fight for a playoff position. 

Tanking Rating: 20

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Atlanta Hawks

atlantahawks

Recent Moves:

Re-signed Kyle Korver to four year deal, $24 million contract

Signed Paul Milsap to 2 year, $19 million deal

Signed DeMarre Carroll to 2 year, $5 million contract

Lost Josh Smith as a free agent to Detroit

Matched Jeff Teague’s offer sheet of 4 years and $32 million

Recent Rumours:

None

Analysis:

They lost out on Dwight Howard, but signing Paul Milsap isn’t a recipe for tanking. He’s not a big difference maker, but he will basically replace Josh Smith’s production, should he leave as expected. Atlanta appears to be trying to remain competitive, instead of tanking. The Hawks won 44 games with Josh Smith, and if they replace him with Milsap, they should win a similar number of games, again.

By matching Teague’s offer sheet, they are obviously out of the running to sign Brandon Jennings, but may add another free agent.

Tanking Rating: 10

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Washington Wizards

wizards

Recent Moves:

Re-signed Martel Webster to four year, $22 million deal
Signed Eric Maynor

Recent Rumours:

Washington has been quiet on the rumour front, the only time their name has really come up was with the two signings.

Analysis:

The Wizards have had three top 5 picks in the last 4 years, and their only misstep was when they took Jan Vesely at 6. Their record last year when Wall was playing was impressive and there’s absolutely no reason to believe they aren’t going to go all out to make the playoffs in an Eastern Conference basically begging for playoff teams.

Tanking Rating: 0

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New Orleans Pelicans

neworleans

Recent Moves:

Traded Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first round pick (top 5 protected) for Jrue Holiday

Traded Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez for Tyreke Evans (sign and trade, 4 year $44 million)

Re-signed Al-Farouq Aminu to 1 year, $3.7 million deal

Recent Rumours:

Were interested in Corey Brewer, but that may have changed with the acquisition of Evans.

Are now interested in acquiring Omar Asik, made available with Dwight Howard signing with the Rockets, and Houston will most likely be after Ryan Anderson in return.

Analysis:

Like the Pistons, the Pelicans gave up their 2014 first round pick, so are also bound and determined to make a run for the playoffs next season. They have talent, in Holiday, Evans, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and the perpetually injured Eric Gordon. In the East, they’d probably be a lock, but in the West, it’s doubtful.

If the Pelicans get Asik, an Asik-Davis front line would grab every available rebound and stop more penetration than a case of genital herpes.

Still, the only way this team gets a top five pick is if they beat the odds and jump up from the teens.

Tanking Rating: 0

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