Tanking: The Fans Perspective!
*Photo via NBA.com
The word tanking is best defined as deliberately losing games in order to get a high pick in the NBA Draft. No team has ever been found guilty of doing that on purpose, but the fans usually know what's going on. Let's take the Philadelphia 76ers for example.
The 76ers were a decent playoff team as recently as the 2012 NBA playoffs. They were only the eighth seed, but they defeated the top-seeded Bulls 4–2, becoming only the fifth team in NBA history to do so. They also took the great Boston Celtics to 7 games, and that was just three years ago!
Ever since then, the 76ers have been at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Like I said, no team has been found guilty of tanking, but the Sixers have definitely raised some eyebrows.
Some of the recent Sixers transactions include trading away All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, and firing Doug Collins. The majority of that 2012 playoff team is gone, including the coach. If the 76ers were rebuilding it would make sense, but Holiday and Carter-Williams were both young players with potential. These signs of tanking have a negative impact on the fans.
With the Sixers constantly trading away players, the fans never really know who is going to stay on the team making it hard to follow their favorite players, such as Thaddeus Young or Holiday. The constant mix up of the roster leads into the reason the team is losing.
The 76ers have had some historic losing streaks, losing as many as 26 games in a row, and they started this season 0-17. They've also had a few seasons where they lost 60 games out of 82, including this season. Each year the crowd attendance decreases more and more as fans are confused about the direction of the team.
Tanking has a negative effect on the league. Even if the 76ers get it together, it's going to take a while for the fans to put their trust and money into the team again. Philadelphia is a great storied franchise, and the fans deserve better.