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    Default "How to cure tanking"

    I saw this referenced on Grantland today in an article about the NHL, but as the author states it could be applied equally well to basketball.



    If you don't have 15 minutes to spare, basically the idea is to determine draft order by the number of wins a team gets after it has been eliminated from playoff contention, thus creating a sort of mini-tournament for the top pick where the worst teams would have the advantage because they are the first to be eliminated and so would have a head start. At first glance, seems like a cool idea that would eliminate tanking (at least after a team has been eliminated from the playoffs) and greatly enhance competition at the end of the season. What do y'all think?
    Last edited by umop apisdn; Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 12:59 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar enlightenment's Avatar
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    I like. But then the strategy becomes be the first to be eliminated from standings. Which is still a mini-tank through the beginning and middle of the season.
    The Baltic Beast is unstoppable!

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    Lets say you've got two equally pitiful teams; team A has most of their road games in the first half of the season, as well as most of their games against playoff teams. They're eliminated early, then rack up wins late. Team B has a relatively easy first half, and then a really tough stretch to close out the season. Both finish with identical records, but one gets a first overall pick, the other's late lottery. Does that seem fair?

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    Quote octothorp wrote: View Post
    Lets say you've got two equally pitiful teams; team A has most of their road games in the first half of the season, as well as most of their games against playoff teams. They're eliminated early, then rack up wins late. Team B has a relatively easy first half, and then a really tough stretch to close out the season. Both finish with identical records, but one gets a first overall pick, the other's late lottery. Does that seem fair?
    Yeah this is another problem with it.

    Not only would Team A get eliminated from contention earlier, they would also have more time to rack up wins with an easier schedule.

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    Quote Xixak wrote: View Post
    Yeah this is another problem with it.

    Not only would Team A get eliminated from contention earlier, they would also have more time to rack up wins with an easier schedule.
    There's no surefire way to prevent tanking entirely so long as there is a tiering draft, because as long as there is a tiering draft there will be incentive for teams to find ways to maximize their ability to draft.

    That having been said, this proposal is better than most. Coaches and players want to win, not tank, because wins directly make them more employable and raise their price - this is why tank teams are generally forced to resort to "build an awful team" and a few shenanigans about keeping injured players on the bench longer than needed on occasion. But players won't always get injured, so the primary weapon is always having a bad team - but a bad team in this scenario is a mixed sword, because it will get eliminated from contention earlier, but will also get less wins because they're bad.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    I don't think tanking and/or the draft themselves are a problem.

    Teams tank in all sports. The draft is similar in all north american team sports.

    The problem is the economics of players within the game of basketball, compounded by the economics of the sport (ie. CBA and teams), makes the draft too valuable for some. Unlike other sports a single (or a few) players make all the difference to the productivity of the team as a whole. Maybe a goalie in hockey or a QB in football can be comparible, but thats one position vs any of the 5 in basketball.

    So every team wants or needs 1, 2 or 3 of those extremely productive players.

    Then on the macro level, there is a significant inequality in the access to resources. First from the actual ability spend, and secondly from the ability to attract labour (although these two are often related). Factor in how valuable the cost of production is from that small labour pool of elite labour (superstar contracts and superstars on rookie scale/rfa contracts), and we have the core reason for tanking (and going to the draft) being so valuable.

    I don't see anyway the economics of the game of basketball itself could be fixed. Its just the math behind the nature of the sport (only 5 players on the court at one time, all of which can play approx 75% of a game or the entire game if necessary). The structure of the economic system surrounding the NBA could be 'fixed' though.

    Until that day comes, the draft (and therefore tanking) is the single greatest opportunity and safety net for those teams at the bottom of the food chain. Any change to the structure of it, with out changing the CBA (revenue sharing, salaries caps etc) is just begging to make parity worse.

    'Fix' the CBA, and you fix tanking.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    ...

    The problem is the economics of players within the game of basketball, compounded by the economics of the sport (ie. CBA and teams), makes the draft too valuable for some. Unlike other sports a single (or a few) players make all the difference to the productivity of the team as a whole. Maybe a goalie in hockey or a QB in football can be comparible, but thats one position vs any of the 5 in basketball.

    So every team wants or needs 1, 2 or 3 of those extremely productive players.

    Then on the macro level, there is a significant inequality in the access to resources. First from the actual ability spend, and secondly from the ability to attract labour (although these two are often related). Factor in how valuable the cost of production is from that small labour pool of elite labour (superstar contracts and superstars on rookie scale/rfa contracts), and we have the core reason for tanking (and going to the draft) being so valuable.
    This is the entire problem, in my opinion. Every sport plays more players than basketball. In baseball, they literally take turns. In hockey, even the most durable players only play half the game and can't exactly just hold onto the puck. Football puts twice as many on the field and switches off offence and defence. (I think? I don't watch football at all, haha) Superstars cannot make their true worth on the field and amazing rookies are prevented even further with four-year rookie deals. The only way you get the most bang for your buck is with superstars (who are coincidentally top ten picks, for the most part).

    I completely agree with you. The only way to fix parity/tanking is not to create a better process for who gets the #1 picks, but to create a better system in which a great pick is not such a game-changing asset. Let superstars actually get paid like superstars (whatever that equilibrium is when the "market" settles).

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    Quote TRX wrote: View Post
    This is the entire problem, in my opinion. Every sport plays more players than basketball. In baseball, they literally take turns. In hockey, even the most durable players only play half the game and can't exactly just hold onto the puck. Football puts twice as many on the field and switches off offence and defence. (I think? I don't watch football at all, haha) Superstars cannot make their true worth on the field and amazing rookies are prevented even further with four-year rookie deals. The only way you get the most bang for your buck is with superstars (who are coincidentally top ten picks, for the most part).

    I completely agree with you. The only way to fix parity/tanking is not to create a better process for who gets the #1 picks, but to create a better system in which a great pick is not such a game-changing asset. Let superstars actually get paid like superstars (whatever that equilibrium is when the "market" settles).
    The only solution I can think of besides the tournament would be contracting teams. What you're suggesting with "superstars get paid like superstars" sounds to me like you want no cap? The NBA would turn into pro soccer except without the vast number of teams to balance things out. Prokhorov, the Knicks and Lakers would just buy everyone... There would be even less parity.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Letter N's Avatar
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    Quote Xixak wrote: View Post
    The only solution I can think of besides the tournament would be contracting teams. What you're suggesting with "superstars get paid like superstars" sounds to me like you want no cap? The NBA would turn into pro soccer except without the vast number of teams to balance things out. Prokhorov, the Knicks and Lakers would just buy everyone... There would be even less parity.
    Not necessarily. Keep the soft cap as is, but take away this ridiculous idea of player maximum salaries.

    LeBron James is worth $30 million, that's just a fact.
    If Lebron gets 30 that means a team can't go out and get two other $20M superstars without bleeding money through the tax.

    When you force a cap on how much players get you get situations like you have today in Miami, Lakers (last year), NJ, etc.

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    @ Xixak: Nope. Keep the cap. The way their salaries are capped below what they're worth makes the path to a championship accumulating as many as possible and fill out the roster. If you uncap superstar salaries but keep a salary cap in place, I see a few benefits. If you've ever played a salary cap fantasy league, you'll kind of know what I'm talking about (obviously things are a lot simpler in fantasy basketball, but I digress). The thing is, I don't think the union would ever allow it because it punishes teams hard for overpaying non-superstars and the salary disparity would be a lot greater between the have and have-nots talent-wise.

    I think it also makes it a lot more viable to try to win a championship with no superstars. If you have a superstar on your team, he may very well eat over half your cap. One, it'd be near impossible to have more than one superstar and two, you'd have a much harder time getting quality players to surround him with since the superstar would hypothetically no longer be underpaid.

    My thoughts are a bit scattered and I'm probably not expressing them well, but I hope some of it got across the way I intended, lol

    EDIT: Well, Letter N said a lot of the same things as I did already, haha

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    Quote Letter N wrote: View Post
    Not necessarily. Keep the soft cap as is, but take away this ridiculous idea of player maximum salaries.

    LeBron James is worth $30 million, that's just a fact.
    If Lebron gets 30 that means a team can't go out and get two other $20M superstars without bleeding money through the tax.

    When you force a cap on how much players get you get situations like you have today in Miami, Lakers (last year), NJ, etc.
    Quote TRX wrote: View Post
    @ Xixak: Nope. Keep the cap. The way their salaries are capped below what they're worth makes the path to a championship accumulating as many as possible and fill out the roster. If you uncap superstar salaries but keep a salary cap in place, I see a few benefits. If you've ever played a salary cap fantasy league, you'll kind of know what I'm talking about (obviously things are a lot simpler in fantasy basketball, but I digress). The thing is, I don't think the union would ever allow it because it punishes teams hard for overpaying non-superstars and the salary disparity would be a lot greater between the have and have-nots talent-wise.

    I think it also makes it a lot more viable to try to win a championship with no superstars. If you have a superstar on your team, he may very well eat over half your cap. One, it'd be near impossible to have more than one superstar and two, you'd have a much harder time getting quality players to surround him with since the superstar would hypothetically no longer be underpaid.

    My thoughts are a bit scattered and I'm probably not expressing them well, but I hope some of it got across the way I intended, lol

    EDIT: Well, Letter N said a lot of the same things as I did already, haha
    This is a really, really good idea... Why the hell didn't they do this during the CBA discussions? Although Letter N, I'd make an adjustment to what you said. They'd need a hard cap not a tax threshold.

    Say they set a 60M Hard Cap. A team like the Lakers would have to choose between signing LeBron for 40M and surrounding him with mostly garbage. Or maybe getting two lesser stars for 15M a pop and filling out the rest of the team quite nicely.

    I think you would need to keep the minimum salary though or some guys might be playing for like 40K a season lol.

    This would make building through the draft impossible though, because if you were a team like OKC there's no way you'd be able to afford to re-sign Westbrook AND Durant w/o having complete crap surrounding them.

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    I grew up in Canada, but I've lived in Europe for the past 5 years now, and I really, really like the way they do pro sports here, much more than the North American welfare system (getting the best players as a reward for being bad, getting cities to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for stadiums). Relegation/promotion, in conjunction with several different types of leagues/tournaments/competitions, means that almost all of the time you have something to cheer for.

    For example, Alba Berlin (who I currently support) is usually one of the better teams in the Bundesliga, and played in the Euroleague (european superleague with teams from all across the continent, think Champions League if you're into soccer), but had some injury problems and dropped in the Bundesliga table last year (5th overall), so didn't manage to qualify for this year. But they're still in Eurocup (2nd tier superleague, basically the next-best 48 teams in Europe after those who qualify for the Euroleague), as well as the Bundesliga, the highest tier league in Germany. There's also the EuroChallenge, which is the 3rd tier superleague. Between the 3 superleagues there are more than 100 teams, so chances are your favourite team is either in one of the superleagues, in contention to get there, or fighting relegation. There are rarely "meaningless" games, and there are definitely no stretches of 10 or 20 meaningless games at a time, or tanked seasons.

    Of course, North American pro sports will never move to this model, because the current model works incredibly well for the super-rich team owners, and they hold all the power. But a guy can dream, right?

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    Quote tkfu wrote: View Post
    I grew up in Canada, but I've lived in Europe for the past 5 years now, and I really, really like the way they do pro sports here, much more than the North American welfare system (getting the best players as a reward for being bad, getting cities to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for stadiums). Relegation/promotion, in conjunction with several different types of leagues/tournaments/competitions, means that almost all of the time you have something to cheer for.

    For example, Alba Berlin (who I currently support) is usually one of the better teams in the Bundesliga, and played in the Euroleague (european superleague with teams from all across the continent, think Champions League if you're into soccer), but had some injury problems and dropped in the Bundesliga table last year (5th overall), so didn't manage to qualify for this year. But they're still in Eurocup (2nd tier superleague, basically the next-best 48 teams in Europe after those who qualify for the Euroleague), as well as the Bundesliga, the highest tier league in Germany. There's also the EuroChallenge, which is the 3rd tier superleague. Between the 3 superleagues there are more than 100 teams, so chances are your favourite team is either in one of the superleagues, in contention to get there, or fighting relegation. There are rarely "meaningless" games, and there are definitely no stretches of 10 or 20 meaningless games at a time, or tanked seasons.

    Of course, North American pro sports will never move to this model, because the current model works incredibly well for the super-rich team owners, and they hold all the power. But a guy can dream, right?
    One only needs to look at Manchester United and ask - whats the difference?

    As of last year, 7 teams have been in the English premier league since it started in 1992 never dropping. 19 of 21 premier championships have been won by 3 teams (and most of those by Manchester United).

    It just gives the appearance of success because teams will win weaker divisions against weaker opponents. But at the top nothing changes.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    One only needs to look at Manchester United and ask - whats the difference?

    As of last year, 7 teams have been in the English premier league since it started in 1992 never dropping. 19 of 21 premier championships have been won by 3 teams (and most of those by Manchester United).

    It just gives the appearance of success because teams will win weaker divisions against weaker opponents. But at the top nothing changes.
    Having top clubs consistently win championships isn't a problem, in my opinion.

    (And, incidentally, the economics research shows that there's an inverse relationship between league popularity and competitive balance; that is, more fans watch when there's less balance, and just a few elite teams. That's across several different sports and over decades. Fans will still tell you they want more balance if you ask, but they vote the other way with their wallets.)

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    I still think getting rid of the draft and having the hard cap is the best way to cure tanking. Some prime prospects would gravitate to NY and LA but some would go to where they have a chance to play and develop.

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    Quote tkfu wrote: View Post
    Having top clubs consistently win championships isn't a problem, in my opinion.

    (And, incidentally, the economics research shows that there's an inverse relationship between league popularity and competitive balance; that is, more fans watch when there's less balance, and just a few elite teams. That's across several different sports and over decades. Fans will still tell you they want more balance if you ask, but they vote the other way with their wallets.)
    Sure I don't doubt that.

    But I'm not sure how that relates to improvement through creating a relegation system. We either have disparity without relegation or disparity with relegation. It seems rather irrelevant to go through the trouble and effort to change the system at that point.

    The only difference I can see is instead of teams intentionally losing to have an outside shot at winning the title later, you have teams who unintentionally lose with little to no shot at winning anything but the low bar title.

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    Quote tkfu wrote: View Post
    Alba Berlin (who I currently support)
    I've lived in Berlin for 10 years and I've never heard anybody say that.

    I'll go see an Albatross game eventually... My daughter is in their under 11 program. That's what I like about European sports, team are more like sports clubs, with youth programmes and stuff.

    I agree that relegation would be great for North American sports.


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    Last edited by Quirk; Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 02:47 PM.

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    Tanking is the scourge of NBA. I believe it could be solved by getting rid of the draft in combination with the installation of a hard cap. The Raptors would have a good shot at Wiggins under this scenario.

    Another way would be to have all 31 teams enter the draft lottery with one lotto ball each. The league has its bottom feeder franchises now that are in the lottery year after year and still unable to become more competitive through the lottery.

    Either way would solve the problem.

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    Quote stretch wrote: View Post
    Tanking is the scourge of NBA. I believe it could be solved by getting rid of the draft in combination with the installation of a hard cap. The Raptors would have a good shot at Wiggins under this scenario.

    Another way would be to have all 31 teams enter the draft lottery with one lotto ball each. The league has its bottom feeder franchises now that are in the lottery year after year and still unable to become more competitive through the lottery.

    Either way would solve the problem.
    I'm not sure how a hard cap would solve the tanking problem, can you explain it a bit more? I can see how it would help re-distribute talent around the league but I'm not sure how it would discourage a team from tanking.

    Getting rid of the draft and having rookies just sign with teams is not a good idea at all man... We'd see top prospect after top prospect signing with the Knicks or Lakers to build their brand. This might benefit Toronto for one year, but after that it would hurt the league, especially franchises from regions that aren't NBA pipelines.

    There are actually 30 teams. Not sure I like this idea either. Why should Miami have the same chance of getting Wiggins as a bottom feeder like Orlando? Makes minimal sense. Some teams would be buried year after year in the draft with no way of getting talent other than signing overpaid vets.

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    Bill Simmons had a great idea to fix tanking during the lockout, iirc it was something like this:

    Take all the non-playoff teams at the end of the season and put them in a Sweet 16 tournament. Single-elimination. The winner would get the #1 pick, 2nd place would get #2, etc. This basically gives a team 0 incentive to tank games. They're going to want to have a good roster available for the tournament so that they have a chance of winning. And the last place team would have just as good of a shot of getting the #1 pick as the 16th last team, because of the single-elimination, any team could get the better of another on any given night.

    This would also increase revenue for the league as well, and make for some very entertaining basketball so doesn't hurt in that respect either. The playoffs would just end later.

    Imagine a Toronto team finishing in 9th (I pray to God we're not actually 9th lol) during the regular season. Heading into the tournament as the top seed in the East and wasting Philly, Charlotte and Milwaukee on their path to playing the Lakers in the finals. A triple OT game, winner takes Wiggins. Raptors down 1, 5 seconds on the clock. Rudy Gay has the ball in his hands, dribbles past Kobe, pulls-up for the J...... BANG RAPTORS WIN RAPTORS WIN! Rudy Gay has just cost himself his starting spot!

    K got a bit carried away...
    Last edited by Xixak; Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 09:54 AM.

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