Tanking AND The Uncontested Rebound King
TANKING "Why don't we flip the lottery around and give the teams that barely make the playoffs the best odds for the top pick and the teams with the worst records the worst odds?"
Brian Scalabrine on Speak for Yourself (Fox Sports) pointed out a argument against tanking that has been making its way around the twitterverse and sports talk radio this year. Brian said that his remedy to fixing tanking would be for the NBA to just flip the lottery around and give the teams that end up barely missing the playoffs the best odds for the top pick? So, pretty much the Nuggets and the Pistons would get rewarded the top pick odds for coming in 9th in there respective leagues. The question we would have to ask about this popular idea is don’t you think the Nuggets and the Pistons would value that top 3 pick more than a first round sweep in the playoffs? In both leagues the 8th seed has won 7 games in 3 years against #1 seeds and we have only had two 8th seeds move past the first series since 1995. I do think the widespread tanking has made this season one of the worst regular seasons in NBA history but if we are going to be honest with ourselves, there really is no way to completely stop tanking. With all the analytics in today’s sports world you would think we could set up some group that could keep up with the daily lineups and maybe penalize the teams that are starting the likes of Daniel House, Shaq Harrison and Davon Reed while sitting Devin Booker and Josh Jackson (looking at you Suns) but switching around the lottery is not the answer because I would rather the teams that are in last place tank than the teams trying to get in the playoffs. Realistically these teams tanking would lose most of these games anyways. (I would say its probably a difference of 3 or 4 wins a season). SO I think the answer to this question is NO they shouldn't flip around the lottery because the last thing we want is to give teams on the edge of the playoffs a reason to lose on purpose. I heard someone say the other day they should just give every lottery team one ball and see what happens from there. That's another argument for another day but not a horrible idea.
"THE TRIPLE DOUBLE KING"
In the NBA fandom there are certain players that have no middle ground in whether people like them or not. Russell Westbrook is one of those people and before I got into this rant I would preface this argument with me saying I am one of those people who dislike Westbrooks personality and his selfish playing style. SO don't get me wrong, I think Westbrook is one of the great players in the game now but I DO NOT THINK that his bogus triple double stats are something we should be making an enormous deal about. YES averaging a triple double has only been done by one other player in the history of the NBA but I don't believe in any way that players like Magic Johnson and Lebron James could not do what Westbrook is doing now. Westbrook grabbed 17.1% of his teams available rebounds and averaging 7.9 uncontested rebounds per game in the 2017 season.. WHAT! If you look at the tape you can see that the Thunder defense is set up so Westbrook can get the uncontested rebounds and start the offense which is no fault of his (I doubt he didn’t have a part in this though). So yes, Westbrook is one of the great scores in our game and plays as hard as anyone BUT his defense is BAD and most of his defense rebounds come from him not playing defense and sitting by the goal to get the rebound. To exemplify the craziness of Twitter and some Westbrook fans I saw a person tweet out that Westbrook is better than MJ. Hot takes all day. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Westbrook is a GREAT player (a top 10 player for sure) but you just cant say he is one of the best of all time when he plays no defense and his triple double stats are arguably inflated by 3 or 4 rebounds a game. Westbrook's accomplishments are really good but I would say he is the only player in NBA history to ever search out the triple double constantly and to have an offense directed towards getting him that triple double. So he will always have that.
-Just Some Dude