I really do like where The Pistons are going. They have some really solid pieces for the future. Charlie V has got to go and Ben Gordon has to find whatever it is he left in Chicago.
This winning culture/losing culture stuff is entirely dictated by quality of the players, not by a magical, invisible aura that plagues rosters from one season to the next. Even the Raptors were able to go from 27 wins to 47 wins over one summer.
Improve the roster, and the wins will come. It's as simple as that. Until then, hope for as many losses as possible to finish off this season.
I agree with the idea of talent is needed to win first and foremost. But I am struggling with the other aspects.
Looking at the Celtics for example. The roster was completely overhauled with the C's essentially cashing out all their chips for Allen and Garnett. They then rounded out the roster with veterans and young rookies. However, through all that roster overhaul, the front office remained the same as did the coaching staff. Would they be considered losers before Allen and Garnett? Did the addition of Allen and Garnett suddenly make them winners? In some regards yes but in others no.
Looking at the Raptors there certainly has been a change in the people associated with the team. People have been reassigned while others have been brought in. McKechnie has a championship pedigree associated with the Lakers. Casey was a championship winning lead assistant coach. Colangelo assembled great regular season teams and deep playoff teams in Phoenix. Stefanski was associated with NBA Final teams in New Jersey. Now the roster doesn't have much to brag about - or does it? Calderon has won quite a bit on the world stage as an important part of Spain. And that is about it unless we want to bring NCAA or high school in to things (which we don't). So yes the roster certainly needs an infusion of talent and winning NBA experience to lose the loser tag.
I'm not sure where the prefix of "winning" was added to the idea of culture change. To get to winning some important things have had to happen in Raptorland. First off, the mentality has been changed from an offensive focus to a defensive one (front office to coaching and now down to players). Secondly, accountability has been brought in which has sadly lacked for a long time (BC calling out Bargnani, Casey versus Triano). Thirdly, the total professional mentality is taking hold; the concept that being a good NBA player is more than pickup games in the summer. Weight, flexibility, and core training, diet, and conditioning are all needed to reach maximum potential.
All of the above is for not without talent. However, even with the talent but none of the above success is hardly guaranteed. More talent is coming and once it gets here it should be in an environment with a culture ready to thrive.
So in conclusion, talent is absolutely needed to succeed and without it, forget it. Defense, accountability and training are necessary components to winning. This year is all about adding defense, accountability, and training. This off season is all about adding more talent. Hopefully next year the talent enters an environment conducive to winning.
Garnett and Allen are perfect illustrations of guys who have talent and also play defense, hold themselves and others accountable, and are notorious for their training regimes.
Food for thought... if the Raptors had won one or two additional games last year, they would have ended up with the 6th or 7th player in the 2011 draft. Bye, bye JV. Hello Brandon Knight?
I see this as the biggest incentive to tanking and perhaps the easiest fix.
What is the thinking behind having only the top three picks up for grabs?
I think all the positions for non playoff teams should be subject to some form of weighted lottery.
You need to be ethical and make the most out of your opportunities. The Lakers current superstar was drafted 13th overall. The guy they're grooming to take over was drafted 10th overall. Stars go later in the draft all the time. Colangelo drafted Steve Nash 15th overall. He drafted Amare Stoudemire 9th overall. He drafted Shawn Marion 9th overall. He drafted Michael Finley 21st overall. He drafted Stephen Jackson 44th overall. He's proven many, many times that no matter where he is in the draft he can land a really good player.
What kind of sportsfan wants to see his team suck and lose intentionally? Why watch a sport if all you are interested in is winning a trophy later in the future?
Tanking is a big no-no for me.
Bottom teams play hard to fight relegation because with relegation you lose a percentage of your wages, tv money and all the bonuses. So the players and management have everything to lose by tanking. This way other cities can have a shot at NBA too and the D-league gets more significant. Imagine teams like Seattle and Vancouver back in NBA even if it is only for a season because of promotion and relegation.
There is already too little talent throughout the league. Bringing up D-League teams only makes things worse.
The worse NBA team would absolutely destroy a D-League team.
Some of the markets in the D-League are smaller than Moose Jaw.
I like the concept but it would never fly.
Does tanking even work?
From True Hoop's Henry Abbott, source: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...king-even-work
If tanking is a great way to win a title, then quick, name a team that has done it.
We're looking for a team that had a horrible record, won one of those magical, coveted top-three draft picks the Bobcats are after, and celebrated a title in the following four years because of that special player.
If you said the San Antonio Spurs, congratulations ... kind of. In the history of the lottery, which goes back to 1985, it's the only technically correct answer (ignoring Detroit and Darko Milicic, who barely played).
OK, let's expand the limits beyond four years. According to Devin Dignam of the Wages of Wins, there is still a shocking lack of further examples. We can disregard multi-team players like Jason Kidd, who won a title with the team that drafted him (Dallas) only after toiling for 17 years for the Mavericks, the Suns and the Nets. A slightly more pertinent case is the that of David Robinson, who overcame years of frustration by winning a title with San Antonio 12 years after the Spurs made him the No. 1 pick. But Robinson needed Duncan to get it done.
In other words, NBA history has awful news for bad teams hoping to become great through the magic of a high pick.
Tanking, as a way to get good, is not tried and true. It is tried and tried and tried and tried and once-in-a-long-while kind of true.
More importantly, the Spurs are no model at all. Yes, they got the top overall pick that became Duncan by winning just 20 games in 1996-97 . But they weren't really a bad team. They were a great team, missing the injured Robinson. But that was just a timely blip. In the three seasons prior, the Spurs contended for the title, winning 55, 62 and 59 games. They had been among the league's top teams for seven years running.
Duncan didn't make a bad team amazing. He made an amazing team into champions.
Continued bad luck for lottery teams
You have probably heard about the large number of people who win millions in the real lottery and are broke again a few years later.
The same is a little true in the NBA, where the good teams tend to stay that way, and the bad teams tend to stay that way, too.
The comments I made in this post a few weeks back still remain:
Are people really this fickle?
The problem here is that, generally speaking, most of teams in the lottery right now are smaller market or less 'desirable' teams.
All the national writers are based in larger markets. They are pushing their agendas because their hometown teams are not getting the Anthony Davis or Brad Beal or MKG or Barnes or Drummond or Robinson i.e. top young talent.
The critical thinking skills of people - writers and fans alike - is deplorable. Look at the teams currently in the playoffs and how they got there, generally speaking it was obtaining a talent via the draft and building from there:
Chicago - Rose, Noah - lottery picks
Miami - Wade - lottery pick
Orlando - Howard - lottery pick
Philadelphia - AI - lottery pick
Indiana - draft picks - only George is lottery and a high lottery at that
Atlanta - Horford - lottery (and imagine they had picked Williams or Paul instead of Marvin?)
Boston - Pierce - lottery (and lottery picks for other talent)
New York - big exception and they are 8th seed with limited options past this year
OKC - Durant/Westbrook/Harden - lottery/lottery/lottery
San Antonio - Duncan - lottery
Lakers - Kobe, Bynum - lottery trade, lottery
Clippers - Griffin, CP3 - lottery and assets from lottery
Dallas - Dirk - lottery
Memphis - Gay, Conley, Gasol - lottery, lottery, lottery pick traded
Utah - rebuilding team with young pieces based from lottery and trading Williams (lottery pick) - LOTTERY
Houston - purgatory team
So looking at the 16 teams above, only 3 teams can honestly be said they didn't get their foundation from the lottery (Houston, New York, Indiana). Yes, there were other factors (free agency and trades) but looking at each team, its core is comprised of a lottery pick(s).
The system is fine. The NY writers are bitching because the Knicks have f*cked up a 7 year rebuild in less than a season and they now have no other means of adding highly talented players.
.....from the guys over at Grantland.
5. Toronto: 22 Wins
Personnel "Decisions": Last week, the Raptors announced that Andrea Bargnani had strained his left calf and would miss the remainder of the season. On Saturday, they announced that Jose Calderon would miss Sunday's game against Atlanta with a lacerated right eyebrow.
Recent Games: On Friday, the Raptors beat the Celtics in Toronto. Someone named Ben Uzoh played 32 minutes. On Sunday, the Raptors blew out the Hawks. Alan Anderson, who apparently played for Michigan State as recently as 2004, started his seventh game of the season. The Raptors had cleared a path to tank past Cleveland, but those two wins and a season finale against the Nets could bump them all the way down to the no. 8 slot.
On Monday, the Raptors lost to the Hawks by 22. Calderon, Linas Kleiza, and Jamaal Magloire all picked up DNP-CDs.
Remaining Schedule: @MIA, @DET, @MIL, NJN
Verdict: The Raptors have a ton of cap space for next season and will be adding Euro sensation Jonas Valanciunas. Bargnani and Calderon are quality NBA players. Amir Johnson could become a serviceable rotation guy. DeMar DeRozan seems to be teetering on the edge of the useless netherworld of Jordan Crawford, but still has the potential to become a high-energy Microwave Man. The problem is that none of the players projected to go between the no. 5 pick and the no. 9 pick makes much sense for the Raptors. Gun to head, I'd say they should be the team that takes the Bradley Beal gamble, but that's mostly because I don't believe in Jared Sullinger or Perry Jones.
Despite the author's ignorance towards Derozan, there's some good interesting points here.
if we land 5-9 and beal is up it doesn't seem like a gamble to me at all but a massive stroke of luck
we still have a chance to get to #5! We have to lose every game from now on, most importantly to Cleveland and NJ. Cleveland still has Washington to play, so that would even out our records.
This article was posted by someone on the msg board.
2005-06 Minnesota Timberwolves
The most spectacular tank job in recent memory occurred on April 19, 2006, in a Minnesota-Memphis game that is still a common punch line around the league.
Earlier that month, Chicago Tribune NBA writer Sam Smith had called out the Timberwolves and the league:
The NBA should take a look at this one in the interest of the game's integrity and paying customers. Minnesota needs to have one of the top 10 poorest records to keep its draft pick. Otherwise, it goes to the Clippers from the Sam Cassell-Marko Jaric deal.
In a 103-95 loss to the Jazz at home on Friday, [Kevin] Garnett sat out the fourth quarter after making all of his third-quarter shots. Garnett had 13 rebounds through three quarters, and Minnesota was outrebounded 18-6 in the fourth.
It's reminiscent of the game-throwing days before the draft lottery was started.
In the final game of the season, the Wolves sat Garnett and Ricky Davis, and then turned the game against Memphis into a joke by inserting Mark Madsen and letting him fire away. In six seasons, Madsen had made only one 3-pointer in nine attempts. But in that game he tossed up seven 3-pointers and missed them all -- they were his only 3-point attempts of the season. The Wolves lost the game in double overtime (Madsen started the second overtime with three 3-point bricks in less than a minute) and secured the draft pick.
After the game, Wolves coach Dwane Casey didnít deny that the team was less than serious about winning the game: "The guys were having fun with it. For what we've been through this season, I thought the guys deserved it. I hope what we did didn't make a mockery of the game."