The Philadelphia 76ers have made tanking priority one with the hopes of landing the first pick in the NBA draft. Last season, their efforts didn't work as hoped but they did end up with the third pick. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie spent the rest of the offseason making sure he would have the best shot at the top pick next June by gobbling up young talent and draft picks with no regard for the games on the schedule this season.
The overt tank job rubbed much of the NBA the wrong way, so the league put forth a proposal to level out the lottery odds and create a scenario where the worst team could fall as far as seventh in the draft (as opposed to fourth).
Naturally, the Indiana Pacers favored the proposed draft plan, since they have a history of playing to win even when the playoffs are just a worthy goal, yet not a realistic one.
After several teams decided the unintended consequences, especially for small-market teams, required further discussion, the proposal died, leaving the current draft lottery system in place for the June 2015 season. Woj breaks down all of the details here.
This is a great thing for the Pacers. Even with all things going well this season, the Pacers will struggle to get to 40 wins and the playoffs. Considering how the team's health became an issue in preseason, it isn't hard to imagine several key players, missing more than enough games to make losing far more frequent than expected.
Yep, it's a head-shaking situation but there is no way to avoid the issues facing the Pacers with the season opener set for next Wednesday night. If the season ends up going south thanks to a lack of consistency and health woes, at least the Pacers can take solace in knowing, they will have a favorable draft lottery system to utilize for their pain.
Hey, and if they want to make sure certain players rest long enough to make sure they are 100 percent healthy (wink, nudge), no one will ever be able to accuse them of tanking -- instead just a run of bad luck at an opportune time.