#TANKCITY 2014

#TANKCITY

“Tank City Bit**/Tank Tank City Bit**/50, 60-something losses equals Wiggins Biiiit**…..”

With the the high amount of teams looking to sell themselves out flagrantly for the chance to land a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft & select players such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Dante Exum, & others, I figured it would only be right to list the set of teams that are tanking or should be tanking. Man, there’s a lot of teams that suck right now. Let’s get started, in random order…

PHILADELPHIA

When I look at the progress of the Sixers, currently sitting at 8–20, and are the 3rd worst team in the NBA, I can already imagine the conversations that occur between the CEO of the Sixers, Scott O’Neil and his GM Sam Hinkie.

***O’Neil opens the door in Hinkie’s office to find Hinkie surfing the internet & bobbing his head to this instrumental. O’Neil immediately starts bobbing his head & starts dancing with a mean looking face***

Hinkie: Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! Go O’Neil! Go O’Neil! Get it! Get it! Get it! Get it!

O’Neil: Hahahaha! Whooooo!! I’m loving the progress so far! I am loving it!!

Hinkie: I told you this was gonna work out. We are on our way!! Ha-haaaaa!

O’Neil: Wow! It’s so amazing! And to think, when Carter-Williams started off averaging 20 & 8, and help beat Miami with 9 steals & then beat Chicago in the same week, I was getting ready to fire your ass!

Hinkie: Yeaaaahh—–um….huh?

O’Neil: Don’t worry about it. It’s water under the bridge now. I heard Iverson’s retirement event inspired our rookie for that week. That’s cool, but make sure Allen’s not allowed in the building again until 2015. We don’t want to take any chances here.

Hinkie: No problem. ***starts typing out an email to the security department to put Iverson on the “Banned in Arena” list***

O’Neil: What’s the status on the other rookie?

Hinkie: Who, Noel?  Yeah, um, we’re still continuing to sit Nerlens for the season & we won’t put him on a weight program until after the season ends. I’ve instructed our chefs in the cafeteria to continue serving him fruits & veggies until further notice. He will continue to look malnourished I promise you. Also, on a sidenote, Hawes can’t continue playing this well either even though I know he’s in his contract year. Don’t worry, we’ll reduce those minutes just enough so that we can afford him, and then we could…

O’Neil: We’re not signing him back.

Hinkie: We’re not signing him back, so it’s all good. Errr, it’s gonna all work out. I’m not worried, Mr. O’Neil, everything’s working out according to plan. We’ll get it done. We have two draft picks, one of them will get us high in the lottery, if not both. It’s gonna work out sir, I promise.

O’Neil: Okay, okay. No problem. I don’t really like the fact that we’ve reached 50% of our target win total & it’s not even New Year’s yet, buuuut other than that….keep up the good work!

Hinkie: Thanks a lot sir.

O’Neil: Who made this beat anyway? Turn this up! Is that what the kids say?

Hinkie: I think it’s “Turnt up” or, um “Turn up”. It’s “Turn up.”

O’Neil: Yeah, yeah, that’s it. Turn up man! TURN UP!!!

***Hinkie turns the volume up in his office to maximum levels***

BOSTON

In their loss to Memphis earlier this year, starting forward Gerald Wallace played 28 minutes. In those 28 minutes, he did not make one shot. Hold up, I’m not done. He did not even TAKE a shot in 28 minutes. A 13 year veteran & starting forward did not take a shot in 28 minutes. I see you Boston, I see you. I don’t even care if they’re in contention for the Atlantic at the moment, Danny Ainge is too smart for that. He’s gonna do what he has to do.

MILWAUKEE

Larry Sanders, fresh off of signing his new contract as one of the cornerstones of the Bucks franchise, averaged 2.7 pts & 3.7 rbs before deciding to take on local club goers like Andre the Giant in a steel cage match and breaking his thumb for weeks on end. The blessing of his stupidity of course is that it made the Bucks go into tank mode by default. Now they sit way at the bottom with the worst record in the league. So in a very weird way, the Bucks management should thank him. By the way Larry, I spent $28 on you in my fantasy draft. If anything, you’re supposed to help your team tank, not mine!!! I’m suffering in the blocks department because of you!!! By the way, I’m not bitter.

Whenever he does come back though, can you imagine Milwaukee’s frontcourt with him, John Henson, & Giannis Antetokounmpo (please don’t ask me to pronounce his name) on defense? If they keep that core together, will anybody be able to get a shot off??? Add the addition of previous lottery pick Brandon Knight, and this is something that the Bucks can build upon moving forward. Even if they don’t get the #1 pick, if they can walk away with someone like Marcus Smart or Dante Exum for example to go with what they have here? My goodness. If they can develop the right way, they will make a jump into playoff contender status within 2 years if that happens.

CHARLOTTE

Jalen Rose said earlier this year in his Grantland NBA Season Preview of the Bobcats that Michael Jordan will play one game this season, and I actually agree with him. Especially if it means solidifying a top 5 pick. He’s the most competitive athlete of all time in any sport. If he sees a competition for winning the #1 spot in the draft, he’s gonna want in on it. Even if it means blowing out both of his ACL’s to get it done.

By the way, I won’t lie to you. I kind of like how this team is playing so far. Kemba Walker is starting to look like he’s about to jump another level if he hasn’t already. Al Jefferson is probably the 1st quality big man they’ve had since Tyson Chandler was still on the roster. Gerald Henderson is a quality 2-guard who’s re-upped for 3 more years at a very respectable number ($18M), and they have some solid young pieces in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, & Jeffrey Taylor (who unfortunately they lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles vs. Detroit over the weekend). They are currently fighting for home court advantage in the Eastern Conference which is despicable in itself, but their draft pick this year is top 10 protected (Chicago has rights on their pick for anything lower than that for this season & can be rolled out as an outright unprotected pick in 2016 if not used until then). Do they go the other way here, try to dive out of the playoff spot & hope their pick lands them in the top 10 during the draft lottery? Or do they go all out for the playoffs & see where it takes them?

As much as they should make all of their 39 fans happy and play in the playoffs, they need one more young asset &/or stud to make their future really bright. They need to stay in #TankCity just a little bit longer. Unfortunately, the East is so horrible this year that they still might make the playoffs by default. It’s almost like trying to get out of a club but the bouncers keep shoving you back inside. They may not be able to leave, even if they tried. Smh….

PHOENIX

The process has already started since last summer by drafting raw center Alex Len, trading their valuable veterans Jared Dudley to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe & Caron Butler, then sending Butler to the Bucks for a 2nd round draft pick. I like the fact of actually trying to gut out the team & start from the bottom to get better. Wanna give PJ Tucker & Gerald Green 30 minutes a night? Go right ahead! Bledsoe taking a leadership role on the team, and taking game winning shots? Why not?! Goran Dragic rolls his ankle? Take 15 games off to let it heal. Don’t worry Goran, the paychecks still clear, so take your time! I’m sure though that Suns CEO Robert Sarver & GM Ryan McDonough DEFINITELY were not expecting 1st time coach Jeff Hornacek to have this roster 6 games over. 500 (16-10) at any time during the season much less going into the New Year. I have a feeling he’ll be called into the office soon.

Underrated note:The Suns decision not to sign Bledsoe to an extension. A little surprising but why commit $10M/yr to him when he hasn’t proven that he can run a team full-time as yet? If he doesn’t live up to the hype, you can either renounce his rights or pay less than that initial value for him. If he plays great, you then lock him into a 4 year deal & you have another cornerstone to put beside potentially Wiggins, Randle, or whoever you get with what would hopefully be a top 5 pick. Right now, he’s looking like he could be worth that money. As long as no team tries to overpay for him & force their hand to match it, this was a very smart move by Phoenix.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

I know their intention is not to tank, to appease Kobe Bryant & the Lakers fan base to continue to make the playoffs & everything…..but I really don’t understand why. After this season, only Steve Nash is under contract. You have Pau Gasol whose contract can still be used as a great trade asset, Kobe is still coming off a serious Achilles injury & now done for another 6 weeks with a fractured knee, plus we have no idea that he will even be the same player (most likely not). To me, it doesn’t make any sense to lose out on a high draft pick while trying to fight for the right to lose in 4 or 5 games to the 1st seed. This is what they need to do: Tell Kobe or better yet, massage Kobe’s mind on the idea to come back in late February or March to better get his legs underneath him for next season; beg Nash to retire (as much as it hurts me to say because he’s one of my favorite PGs of all time); trade Gasol for expiring contracts &/or a 1st round pick (if not, then just let it expire); and lose anywhere past 50+ games & collect as many ping-pong balls as possible. When free agency hits in 2014, you can sell any major free agents on the idea of rebuilding a team with all that cap space AND you have one of the top studs in the strongest draft in almost two decade on the roster to represent the future. That sets them up for the next 10 years easy.

Look, Kobe is the franchise & has been playing there longer than any Laker in team history, but he is not the future here. He will get his jersey retired in the Staples Center rafters & will get the statue like all the Laker greats….but if I was Jim Buss (& I know he would never do this), I’d would have taken the chance & let him hit the free agency market. You know he wasn’t gonna leave LA for anywhere else at this stage of his career & no team was gonna fork out the big dollars to have him relocate. It could have been possible that he might have taken less money to stay. But by committing to a 2 yr/$48M extension, you basically wipe out any chance of one of these major stars to opt out of his contract after this season & really making a push to Laker Land. If you’re say, Carmelo Anthony here, do you leave the Knicks, come to Hollywood to play a supporting role to a Laker Legend coming off of his 18th season with a recently repaired torn Achilles (& now another lower extremity injury)? I say supporting because anyone coming to LA knows it won’t be a super team here, but it’ll still be Kobe’s team & his alone until he walks away. That’s not an attractive option for major free agents trying to capitalize on their prime years. That’s part of the reason why Dwight left LA this past summer. However, say Kobe would have stayed for around $15M, put him beside a major free agent or possibly two, plus one of the studs in a major draft pick as the cornerstones, this doesn’t look like a better proposition for the Lakers for the present AND the future???

With this new Kobe injury, & all the PG’s on the roster in street clothes (including Nash who’s out another month to deal with the nerve issues in his back), it gives them some time to mull over the tanking option. I say to Laker Nation, give up this 8th seed odyssey, get the No-Limit Tank encrusted type piece & support the cause. Short term pain for long term joy, let’s do it!

TORONTO

I’m so excited about Masai Ujiri’s moves since he’s come to Toronto; I’m doing this next part Busta Rhymes style….

***Putting on Busta Rhymes cape***

First things first lemme salute the GENERAL Masai U-JIRI for the big boss moves he’s made out here. My n**** be out here taking over the MUTHA-F****** game on these n***** my n****! How he broke down the Knicks & traded f****** Bargani, Bargialani, whatever that n****’s name is…..that long-foot EYE-talian ass n****…..he got rid of that f*****-up contract, that was on some IMPERIAL shit right there! Now he got rid of that inconsistent maw-f***** Rudy Gay! That n**** sent his ass & his contract far, far away from here & shit. Got a f****** restraining order from that contract n****! My n**** Ujiri is a BEAST! This is an EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT shit right now! He seeing the big picture right now, he see the future with that Wiggins kid, Parker, Exum, uh, uh that n**** Randle, he wiping the slate clean! I’ma tell you on tha real, U-Jiri & my n**** Lieweke, when they put they minds together…. it’s gonna be that, that…..that un-SPEAKABLE, that un-F***WITTABLE, that un-FEASIBLE, that un-CONQUERABLE type level shit! They gonna be the new bosses of this rap ball shit! Trust me my n****….trust me….

Translation: I like what Ujiri’s doing. If he gets a chance to ship out Kyle Lowry before the trade deadline, he would have cleared more than $30M off the books since he got there. He is not wasting any time at all. Masai Ujiri & Tim Lieweke have a goal to be a legitimate championship franchise & right now, the pieces that the Colangelo regime brought do not fit into that scheme. So yes, even though they are dropping off the deposit to stay in #TankCity for the next year or more Raps fans, it will be worth it in the long run as long as they stay the course here. Why fight for the right to get pummeled by Indiana or Miami in four games & keep an expensively mediocre roster together? It doesn’t make any sense, you know it & I know it. Don’t worry Raps fans, to alter the words of the illustrious poets Mobb Deep,

“We’re in this together, your pain is mine. As long as the sun shines to light up the sky, we’re in this together, your pain is mine.”

*** Of course since the Gay trade, they have gone 5-3 while beating Dallas AND Oklahoma City back-to-back on the road. Sigh. The same sigh I just let out I’m sure was done by Ujiri. Trust me, they’re not done trading just yet. I think Lowry to be safe should be walking with a carry-on suitcase at all times. ***

BROOKLYN

Whoops. They don’t own their draft picks for the next 5 years mortgaging their future to win now with pieces that include that includes 19-year vet Kevin Garnett, 16 year vet Paul Pierce, 15-year vet Jason Terry, whatever’s left of Andrei Kirilenko’s body, and former Raptor jacker Alan Anderson to surround their core (Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, & Joe Johnson) to contend for the NBA Title…..as well as 1styear coach Jason Kidd who demoted the most expensive assistant coach in NBA history Lawrence Frank ($1M per over SIX years) to file paperwork with the rest of the interns in the Brooklyn Nets Mailroom Department. To make matters worse, Lopez is now done for the season with a broken foot. For what it’s worth, I thought that this would work this summer as long as the vets helped everyone else buy into Kidd’s philosophies, and if the roster stayed healthy of course. They will still make the playoffs, but their ceiling — being lowered already from possible Finals-contending status — will now officially be “1st round or Bust” playoff contenders  now.

Here’s a question: When Mikhail Prokorov is in Russia & calls up his GM Billy King on the phone, does King pretend he doesn’t see it & let it go to voicemail? I think we both know the answer is yes. He’s lucky Prokorov doesn’t own a cell phone because for sure he would be texting him on BBM & WhatsApp and just waiting for the “R” and double checkmarks to appear respectively.

NEW YORK KNICKS

Oh yeah, they don’t own one either. Yikes. At least with Brooklyn, you could sort of blame injuries. You can’t even do that here. Personally, last year was their window to do big things, & now it’s slammed shut. There’s no way around it, this team sucks. Some Knicks fans who read this might get mad at me, but the reasonable ones know just by looking at this roster that this can’t work. Their only hope is that Chandler coming back can shore up their issues on defense, and while he helps them out in this area, he’s not Bill Russell. They’re way over the cap, guys take turns hogging the ball on offense, they don’t have any young legs to help them persevere in the open court, & if that’s not enough, they’re blanketed with the thick air of James Dolan’s ongoing overall paranoia with his franchise. If this mess hasn’t been exposed enough, just wait until they play Oklahoma City on Christmas Day. I’m almost certain by the 2nd half you’re gonna hear lots of disgruntled moans from the Madison Square Garden crowd after every Durant shot or Westbrook play, a sad Spike Lee sitting courtside & the announcers taking turns discussing the dysfunction of the team. At least it will be entertaining…..as long as you’re not a Knicks fan of course.

Underrated Note: Andrea Bargnani’s attempt to replace JaVale McGee as the lead star on Inside The NBA’s Shaqtin’ Da Fool segment. He’s done some really boneheaded things on both sides of the floor for the Knicks this year that I can’t quite remember him doing in Toronto, even though admittedly he hasn’t played as bad as I thought he was going into this season with New York. But that three that he took vs. Milwaukee at the end of the 1st OT instead of holding the ball & essentially ending the game has to be the biggest brain fart in the calendar year by far. The funniest parts of the footage:

  • The reaction of Tyson Chandler after he fought to get the rebound & passed if to Bargnani.
  • The reaction of the announcers on both New York & Milwaukee’s telecast.
  • Bargnani’s nonchalant “My bad fellas…..my bad” while tapping his chest as if he turned the ball over in the 1st quarter is underratedly hilarious.
  • The reaction of the Knick’s bench.
  • The non-reaction of Ron Artest sitting there with that, “What’s the big deal? I’ve done that before. So what??” look on his face

UTAH

I’m all for the core of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, & rookie Trey Burke going into the future to build the start of a foundation, especially Burke who I think will be a stud within the next 2-3 years. Here’s the question: What happened to Enes Kanter??? I thought once he came out of the shadows of Al Jefferson & Paul Milsap, he would improve with more playing time. It’s still early in the season, but so far, it’s been underwhelming (11 pts/5.9 reb/46.4 FG%). If there was a team when a young Mormon can be a local superstar, it’s Jabari Parker. He has the totally skillset, perfect size, & the religious beliefs to take that town over. The Jazz are literally praying that they get one of the top two spots.

SACRAMENTO

They just committed $60M to DeMarcus Cousins over the next 4 years to be the face of the franchise. If that doesn’t tell you they’re tanking this season away I don’t know what will. Potentially great talent, love his skillset, but he has an Isaiah Rider maturity trait about him that scares me if I was banking on him to be the future of an Insurance company, much less an NBA team. One of my friends mentioned this after the Rudy Gay trade.  The moment Gay starts taking more shots than Cousins, Cousins might will meet Gay coming out of the shower & knock him out like Deebo did to Red when he wanted his bike back in Friday. Rudy might not want to start that, “Fella, NO stat sheets in the locker room after the game, all we care about is about wins & losses” movement in Sacto. Do your thing, but stay in your lane Rudy. For your own safety.

CHICAGO

Come on. You telling me you haven’t thought about it a little? Not even a little bit?? It hurts as a Derrick Rose fans watch him have to go through another length rehab process on his right knee after spending almost 1.5 years rehabbing his left knee. He still is the future in Chicago, but for the first time since they drafted him, they may have some doubts about that. They are currently out of the playoff race, they don’t have any guys on the team that can create shots for themselves & their teammates on a consistent basis outside of possibly Luol Deng; & not to mention Deng being an unrestricted FA at the end of the season. It may look bad, I know. I’m pretty sure if you tell Tom Thibodeau you want to go this direction, he may pull out his chair, walk out of the building, & never return. However, IF they do decide to chalk it up to a lost season with Rose being on the shelf, they can take the stance of letting Deng walk after the season & replacing him with Jimmy Butler, & hoping to pick up one of wing players in the lottery. They can also flip Boozer’s deal which expires next season for future cap space, some other players that can help shore up their weak spots and/or future picks. Once Rose returns, sure they team might look a little different, but a core with him, Noah, Butler, Lottery Pick player & cap space relief could be a better outlook for the future moving forward. It’s something to at the very least think about.

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

Follow me on Twitter or email me at southshoreave@gmail.com

Have a safe & happy holidays everyone, & to those suffering in the Toronto Ice storm right now, stay safe, & we hope your power will be up as soon as possible.

4 thoughts on “#TANKCITY 2014

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