Why is it such a bad thing for a NBA fan to want their team to tank. If your favorite team has no chance to make then playoffs do you really want them winning games and losing a top 5 pick?
Thirty-six wins, just outside of the playoffs and the 13th pick in every draft is a formula for permanent mediocrity. If the team you are rooting for isn’t going to make the playoffs, then you as a fan should absolutely hope that the team you root for sits or trades the vets. You should want your team to develop the young talent on the team and rack up a ton of losses on the way.
As a fan you should still root for your non-playoff team to win every once in a while and when they do you can be happy that the young talent is developing. But, if they lose it’s not a bad thing because your favorite team is one step closer to acquiring an elite player through the draft. Let’s face it, in the NBA, small market teams need to build through the draft and you just can not build around players in the 10th – 15th pick range. Those players are good supporting players to your stars. And the stars in the draft more often than not come from the top 5 draft picks. That’s just the reality of the situation. I’m a Magic fan and right now the team is terrible. Let’s be honest, if this team doesn’t get a good player in the draft this season is a complete waste. When you look back at the 2003-2004 team you can at least reason that the season, while horrible, at least netted the Magic Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. Imagine if that team didn’t finish with the worst record and got Okafor with the second pick? If that happened the Magic could have ended up like the Bobcats and we all know how that team has done the last 9 seasons.
One more note. This is a completely different situation for fans of teams that have bad management. If you are a Magic fan, your team has had some success in tanking and drafting high picks so there is some confidence that the team won’t screw the draft up. As a fan of a team with good management tanking is typically much more acceptable than being a fan of a team like the Bobcats. The Bobcats are horrible at drafting players and building a team. And if I was a fan of that team I would just want the team to sign free agents, trade for stars and do whatever it can to win as I would just plain be sick of losing. Of course, either way, that team won’t be going anywhere because at the end of the day you need a little luck and some good management and the Bobcats have neither.
Moral of the story? Tank away and build through the draft. That’s the way to go for most rebuilding teams.