Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: coaches and players in any professional sport do not tank seasons.
Even in the NBA, where the Philadelphia 76ers just went through the most extensive tanking operation in professional sports history.
The Sixers’ overt attempts to add generational talent by manipulating the system in the form of losing in historical fashion was the work of now-deposed general manager Sam Hinkie, who essentially spent his entire tenure in the City of Brotherly Love jettisoning any credible basketball talent which would affect the organization’s efforts in the annual NBA Draft lottery.
By the time “the process” ended, a half-decade in one of the best basketball cities in the country was wiped away while the organization collected some great prospects in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, while also missing on some other hopefuls in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.
Through it all though, however, coach Brett Brown and a rag-tag bunch, better suited for the newly-dubbed G-League than the NBA, went out and gave it their all every night.
Tanking is always a front office thing, not a locker room thing.
Where the line gets a little gray, however, is what the impact of losing can do to the psyche of the players enduring a toxic culture contrary to the very fabric of sport.
Using the Sixers as an example, who knows what Noel may have turned into if his infant years in the NBA were spent with the gold standard in San Antonio, vs. an organization assuming the natural talent would kick in once the switch…
click here to read the rest of this story