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The Tank-O-Meter

The Art of Tanking

Definition of Tanking: Teams that aren’t in the playoff race often like to assure they miss the playoffs, and it’s a fairly well-known fact that they sometimes sacrifice winning for the sake of obtaining the best chance at a high lottery pick.

If the team you support is featured on this site, then I am afraid they are tanking… or just really bad at trying to win.

This is the TANK-O-METER, which ranks at what stage the rebuilding teams are in and  also  in order of where they rank compared to other teams in their stage

STAGE 1 – Currently Rebuilding

1) Orlando Magic – They top the pile of rebuilding teams due to the number of proven assets they have, Oladipo, Harris, Vucevic, Harkless… The Magic could have signed some free agents last summer but settled on keeping more CAP space, the tank is strong with the Magic. The Magic bought out Glen Davis who was actually having a respectable year, a tell tale sign this team is probably one of the only in the NBA who is actively trying to lose.

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2) Philadelphia 76ers – The Philly rebuild could be quick and painless, they are in a good position to be on the way up after the 2014 draft… They have been better than many thought with new coach Brett Brown getting the most out of this depleted roster. One thing is for sure, the D-League are happy about Philly’s struggles! Also keep an eye out for their 2014 summer league team, with all the second rounders over the next two years  they look set for a deep summer league playoff run!

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3) Utah Jazz – Kanter has not lived up to expectations, but Favors, Hayward, Burks and Burk are nice young pieces with a lot of upside. What happens with Hayward in the off season will dictate the future of the Jazz, the expiring contracts of Beidrins and Jefferson should give them some flexibility.

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Deals Not Done

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4) Phoenix Suns – The Suns are finally rebuilding after years of battling with mediocrity, having four picks in the 2014 draft will definitely help! The Suns and their backcourt of Dragon Blade (yes the coolest name ever) have been better than advertised, despite being a playoff team they are still technically rebuilding, an achievement no other teams has accomplished.

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5) Boston Celtics – The big three have finally gone and they didn’t get much for them. Ainge has been quietly clearing the books by moving Crawford, Brooks and Lee in smaller deals but elected to keep hold of Rondo. Could a big money offer  for Gordan Haywood this summer help the Celtics get back on track?

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STAGE 2 – On their way up after rebuilding

1) Minnesota Timberwolves – Everyone though if the Timberwolves managed to stay healthy they would be a playoff team, but they have been  struggling. Their severe lack of outside shooting and inability to win close games has lead to them currently sitting outside the playoffs.

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2) Charlotte Bobcats – The addition of Al Jefferson, Tolliver and Zeller has helped them stay competitive, but with the likes of Cleveland, Detroit and New York improving being loaded with talent, the Horncats will be pushed all they way to get a playoff spot. The fate of Detroit (top 8 protected) and Portland (top 12 protected) has Bobcats fans keeping a close eye on the rest of the NBA

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3) Sacramento Kings – The new big three of Cousins, Gay and Thomas can certainly score (all over 20ppg) but can it defend? The playoffs look out of reach this year, but if they are able to get rid some of the dead weight on their roster and create a more well rounded team then they could be playing until April next year.

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STAGE 3 – Teams who have rebuilt and are trying to win

1) Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavaliers have been a mess this year, their off season additions of Clark, Jack and Bennett have failed to make an impact. The trade for Deng was Chris Grant’s attempt at swinging for the fences, it didn’t work and Grant is now jobless. David Griffin took over as acting GM and completed another deal giving up two future 2nd round picks for a Spencer  Hawes rental at the deadline, will it pay off?

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2) Washington Wizards – Wall has started the season well and looks to have taken his max contract in his stride, his supporting cast of Beal, Webster, Gortat and Ariza are all having good years. The Wizards are already a playoff team, the good news for them is they are no where near their ceiling.

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3) New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans have a lot of nice pieces, unfortunately it has been impossible for them to stay healthy. It is unfortunate for the New Orleans based franchise who wanted to launch their new era with a playoff run, I still think they would have done if they had stayed healthy.

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4) Dallas Mavericks – If Dirk can stay healthy the Ellis/Calderon backcourt should keep them in mid-table mediocrity. The Mavericks have too many veteran guys on their roster to not make the playoffs, unfortunately they aren’t going to get much further than the 1st round.

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5) Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are loaded with talent, the offseason acquisitions of Smith and Jennings do not seem to have meshed with Monroe and Drummond. It is only a matter of time before Dumars fires Mo Cheeks or makes a trade, the current Pistons could land outside of the playoffs and send their pick to Charlotte, not ideal.

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6) Toronto Raptors – Since the Rudy Gay trade the Raptors have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, DeRozan and Lowry are having a fantastic years, their haul of players back from Sacramento have made them one of the deepest teams in the league. But can they win a playoff series? The jury is still out on that one.

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STAGE 4 – Teams who should be rebuilding

1) Milwaukee Bucks – You think Bobcats fans have it bad, speak to Bucks fans, this team has C+ written all over it. The Bucks are terrible, but believe it or not they they aren’t actually tanking, they just suck! With rifts between teamates (Neal-Sanders) , injuries (Ilysaova, Sanders, Knight) and unhappy players (OJ Mayo) the Bucks are a complete mess, their one bright spot is the play of young Greek Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Sessions and Adrein should help toughen up their roster and bring some respectability to it (if that is possible).

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2) LA Lakers – It brings me such joy to list the Lakers in this section, Laker fans deserve to suffer for a period of time, it is only fair. The Lakers won’t rebuild until Kobe retires, they are going to milk him and his popularity for everything it is worth, but in honesty they should. LA do have the benefit that they will always be a popular destination for big time free agents.

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3) New York Knicks – The Knicks are not going anywhere with this roster, they may make the playoffs this year but their roster simply isn’t good enough. James Dolan won’t ever rebuild, but with Melo likely gone in 2014 free agency where is this team going? They are the third oldest team in the league, most of their players are past their prime, it is time Mr Dolan, just take the plunge. If Melo leaves the Knicks this offseason, then they are in for a tough rebuilding period with limited assets.

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