In the press conference after the game, Jabari's coach, "Coach K," addressed this by stating in no uncertain terms that any NBA GMs that even consider tanking this season to try and get a higher draft pick should be ashamed:
“As an American, I wouldn't like to think that an American team would [ever] want to lose or create situations where you would want to lose,” Krzyzewski said after Duke's 94-83 loss to Kansas. “I can’t even fathom. I can’t go there."
At least one GM has admitted to tanking in advance of one of the most anticipated drafts in recent memory, and there are others who have definitely been placed under suspicion.
Although, I disagree whenever anyone uses the term "un-American" because that is a statement that reeks of blind nationalism I do agree with Krzyzewski that it is unethical, not in the spirit of competition and definitely something that shouldn't be a part of The Celtic tradition.
Having made that point, I do not believe at any point The Celtics have been tanking this season or else Brad Stevens would have never accepted the job.
Then the question arises what is the definition of tanking? Were The Heat tanking when they saved up all that cap room in 2010 in order to sign LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh in 2010?
Is playing a younger player to develop him over a veteran who is better at this point in their career tanking?
Were The Celts tanking when they were starting Avery Bradley at point when Phil Pressey obviously would have been the better option early in the season?
In answer to the last question, I do not believe so because improving Avery's handle and basketball IQ would benefit The Celtics in the long run and Pressey was still receiving about the same amount of minutes as he will when Rondo comes back.
Also, no casual fan would have guessed that Crawford would run the position so well considering his reputation as primarily a scorer.
I am not a fan of tanking just because of the reasons mentioned above and I do not believe this is the best strategy for the organization anyway.
If you look at the most commonly cited examples of the draft class of 2003 consider that Carmelo has not taken any team to greatness, Lebron had to skip town and team up with another superstar to get his rings and D-Wade, who was the fifth overall pick that year is the only player out of the top five drafted still with his original team
From my perspective, the best strategy for the Celtics would be to develop the young talent and try to get a superstar in town who wants to play with the greatest passer in the game: Rajon Rondo.
Not to mention, the Celtics are, in my estimation three years away from having the potential to once again be an elite team and this is also how long they have Jeff Green under contract. Give Green this time to develop and if it's clear he will not become a superstar either release him or trade him before his contract expires.
Of course, the best case scenario for this team is they grow and get some signature wins but still are not good enough to fall out of the lottery.
The reason I say this is they already have a great young nucleus and if they were able to somehow get an Adrew Wiggins or Julius Randle this would allow the younger player to more grow into their role being part of an already talented team.
On that point, Wade won a championship in his third year but he had to team up with Shaq to get it done (see the Rondo example above). Lebron had to leave Cleveland and didn't win his first title until nine years into the league and it took Michael Jordan eight years before he ever hoisted The Larry O'Brien trophy and he's the greatest player to ever play the game (in fairness to Jordan though, The Eastern Conference was unreal when he came into the league).
In truth, I would more like The Celtics to model themselves after The Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. I know what you're thinking-that Tim Duncan was great from the moment he stepped into the league, but San Antonio also got lucky in the lottery because David Robinson had been injured the entire previous season.
I'm talking about this current incarnation of The Spurs where Duncan is still a key component but definitely not the player he once was. The Spurs have mostly developed the core within the organization (Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard) which is why, if it were not for Ray Allen, San Antonio would have been the 2013 NBA champs.
With regards to Indiana, Paul George is developing into a superstar but he was drafted number 10 in 2010 behind Wesley Johnson, Ekepe Udoh, Evan Turner and Al-Farouq Aminu.
Roy Hibbert wasn't selected until the eighteenth pick of the 2008 draft.
Which brings me to my next point which is the draft is a completely imperfect science.
Jabari Parker looks like he could be a great pro, Wiggins definitely has a big upside but calling him the next LeBron is completely unfounded and Randle to me is the most sure thing to be a big contributor in the league for a long time but that's also far from guaranteed.
Speaking of, I should apologize to Andrew Wiggins. He's an eighteen year old kid with a ton of upside and that face up jumper he hit in the clutch late in the victory over Duke was quite impressive (2:30 in video). I just get annoyed with the LeBron comparisons, because, as I've stated before, Lebron was so good at that age that if someone wrote a fiction novel about a player that talented publishing houses would be sure to reject it as being wildly unrealistic.
Remember that O.J. Mayo and Shabazz Muhammad were both hailed as "the next Lebron" at a similar point in their careers.
The good news for the people who are in the pro-tanking faction is that Boston is coming up on a very difficult road trip against the Timberwolves in Minnesota tomorrow and a back to back in Houston and San Antonio on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hence, even though I love Brad Stevens as a coach and do like the young talent on this team, I do not see them winning any of these contests.
As a result, The Celts still might be able to develop as a team and learn how to compete all the while still getting a high draft pick in next year's draft.
follow Clint on twitter @coolhandc Clint Corey 11/16/2013 03:14:00 AM Tweet Edit