This isn’t breaking news, but the NBA has a huge problem with tanking and Memphis showed exactly why tonight.
The Memphis Grizzlies put out an absolutely awful product tonight against the Charlotte Hornets. They didn’t even put up a fight. They were very clearly tanking and it’s time the NBA take some serious measures to prevent this. The Hornets won the game 140-79. 61 points! 61 FREAKING POINTS!
Kemba Walker outscored the entire Memphis Grizzlies starting lineup 46-42. Walker only played 28 minutes and had a plus/minus of 47. The New York product shot 13-for-18 from the floor and 10-for-10 from the free throw line. He was also 10-for-14 from three-point range. To put things in perspective, the Grizzlies only hit four threes all game.
That should never happen in the NBA and until the league takes serious measures, nothing will change. To be fair, the Adam Silver and the league offices are tweaking the lottery odds for the 2019 draft, they have fined teams for openly talking about tanking, and they have sent out league-wide memos to warn teams about tanking.
But clearly, this is not enough. There is still more work to be done. There are definitely innovative ways to stop one-third of the league from doing what the Grizzlies did tonight. Maybe it entails not just a tweak to the lottery system, but a complete restructuring. Perhaps, it includes some version of an expanded playoff format. If we want to get really wild we can talk about an overhaul of the G-League that could help the decrease the importance the overall magnitude each draft class has on teams. Regardless, there has to be a way to stop the tanking.
From a New York Knicks perspective, the team is avoiding using the word tanking and instead opted to sugarcoat the second half of the season as player development. It’s semantics if you ask me. It’s not fun to watch for anyone and it’s turning people off. It’s time to throw out the memos, the fines, and the tweaks. It’s time to make drastic changes.