Kings Kolumn: An argument against tanking

We’re 43 games into the NBA season. The Kings have won 10 of those games. To say it’s been a long season would be an understatement of epic proportions. I’m pretty sure I’ve aged more this year than in the past 5. Yeah, I expected the team to suck. Just not this horribly. They were down by 20 to the Wizards at one point. The fucking Wizards. At home! The Wizards are one of the few teams with a worse record than the Kings! And those bastards in purple and black had the audacity to be proud of themselves for cutting that lead down to 3 by the end of the game. They played 12 minutes of decent basketball. The other 36 minutes were spent inviting the former Bullets to waltz down the lane for uncontested layups. Nobody should have felt good about shit after that game.

Of course, in losing to a team with a worse record than them, some Kings fans started talking about how it was a good thing. They were talking about tanking. Losing on purpose to increase the number of ping pong balls in the draft lottery. And while I’ve been an advocate of finding the silver lining in what’s otherwise a throwaway season I gotta say, fuck that.

Tanking does make sense, but let’s face it, it’s no fun whatsoever. Hell, technically we’re still trying and we lost to the Celtics by 50 and most recently getting absolutely butt fucked by the Nuggets just 3 days ago. Do we really need to fucking tank?

The thing with tanking, besides the fact that I find it karmically abhorrent, is that it changes the culture of a team. It poisons the tiny amount of team chemistry we have. Yes, I’m aware team chemistry is an overrated intangible, but we’re a young team. Chemistry is a lot more important with younger players. And it’s not even the whole culture of losing thing because we suck without tanking. But if the fans start openly cheering for the team to lose (even if they don’t do so during games), it’s going to kill their confidence and they won’t develop into the elite players I know they can be.

Don’t believe me? Just look at Quincy Douby and tell me I’m wrong. Do you want a team of Quincy Doubys? I didn’t think so. Our youthful team is at it’s most fragile right now. And if we turn our backs on them now they might never come back. That would fuck up this whole future brigade for tommorwland shit. If we don’t support these guys, who will? Nobody else knows how secretly talented our team is. Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, Donte Green; we’re going to be sneaky good…in about 2 years.

But that’s just the thing, nobody’s fucking patient anymore. People (coughthemaloofs!cough) want results right away, and shit just doesn’t happen like that. But no, everybody wants to be the fucking Celtics. Worst to first in a year. But what nobody wants to realize is the reason last year’s Celtics team was so special is because that shit doesn’t happen every year. Hell, it doesn’t happen every 5 years. You can’t pin the hopes and dreams of your team on a fuckin miracle.

You have to look at it from a realistic perspective. We don’t have this history of a Boston Celtics. I don’t see 17 banners hanging from the rafters. We don’t have a former player as the GM of another team to make a borderline shady trade with. And we definitely don’t have defensive role-players to help out like the Boston Three Party does.

That’s why teams like the Celtics and the Arizona Cardinals are bad for sports. They keep alive that notion that every team is just a year away from a championship game. And we’re not. We’re a good 5 years from even thinking about being a championship contender. And even that seems a little short.

This draft sucks, it’s the Pervis Ellison draft all over again. I don’t see I single player in this draft that makes me think “Man, if only we had him we’d be a playoff team in 2010.” (And I’m including Ricky Rubio in that statement) It just isn’t fucking happening. So instead of pretending the answer to all our prayers is just around the corner, everybody needs to sit back and think if they really think that the result of tanking will really help us that much. I’d much rather cheer for Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson than half-ass it and secretly hope the team goes down the tubes. Remember, this team has 10 wins and is losing games by 20-30 points and they’re trying (I’m excluding Brad Miller from this statement). I don’t think I can sit through another 39 games if they stop.

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~ by El Duke on January 23, 2009.

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