NBA Today: 5 Teams that should be looking to tank in the 2019-20 season
As the offseason continues, several teams have gotten stronger. These teams have signed big-name free agents or traded for players to improve their rosters.
Teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Los Angeles Lakers have made strides and became contenders. These teams are in large cities/markets and are attractive free agency destinations for some of the league's best players. The Nets picked up Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and the Clippers picked up Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Lakers picked up Anthony Davis before the NBA draft.
For teams in large markets, it is somewhat easier to acquire these players, but for small market teams, it is not always easy. Some small-market teams do not have the luxury of easily signing star players. So, they often rely on building/rebuilding their team through the draft. For that to happen, these teams must go through a season or more of struggle.
The NBA Draft gives teams that struggle a chance to gain a talented player through drafting him. This player usually becomes their franchise player or a piece of the team's core. This happens every year, and one team is lucky enough to have the first pick.
Last season, the New Orleans Pelicans struggled and finished with a record of 33–49. The team went on to receive the first pick of the draft, where they drafted Duke phenom, Zion Williamson. Williamson is a player with a lot of hype around him. He is a skilled forward with the potential of being a star. With Williamson, the Pelicans have a chance to rebuild as they recently lost their best player in Anthony Davis.
The NBA draft is an excellent way for smaller teams to improve, but there is one question that must be asked. Do some of these teams tank?
Tanking can be described as a moment where a team continuously loses on purpose in hopes of gaining a better draft pick. While it gives teams a better chance, it is not guaranteed that they'll receive the first pick. However, some teams have no choice and must tank to improve their rosters. With this in mind, here are five teams that should consider tanking in 2019-20.
#5 Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are fresh off their Summer League championship. While winning Summer League is nothing extraordinary, it is still an accomplishment for the team's young players. So, it is something to be proud of.
Last week, the Grizzlies beat the Timberwolves 95-92 to win the championship. Their rookie Brandon Clarke finished the game with 15 points,16 rebounds, and four assists in 24 minutes.
Clarke won the Summer League MVP award after averaging 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in his Summer League run. Clarke showed that he has a bright future and will be a valuable piece of the Grizzlies' core.
On draft night, the Grizzlies acquired Clarke in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Memphis also drafted point guard Ja Morant with the second pick. The Grizzlies added two skilled players to pair with Jaren Jackson Jr., who they drafted in last year's draft. The three players are a great start, but the Grizzlies need more before they are a playoff team.
The Grizzlies parted ways with their star players in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. They traded Gasol to the Toronto Raptors and sent Conley to the Utah Jazz. Their trades showed it was the end of an era, and they needed to rebuild. So, they have started their rebuild with Clarke, Jackson, and Morant.
The new Grizzlies will play with a lot of heart in 2019-20, but they need a few more pieces. If Memphis tanks this season, they could find one of those pieces in next year's draft.