I am sure everyone has read Bill Simmons' take on "fantanking", when it is in your best interest as a fan to root against your own team. While I feel fantanking is the most treacherous of all sports fan moves, short of abandoning your childhood baseball team for the flavor of the week, I can understand it in the NBA context.
After a loss to Milwaukee last Friday, Celtics' F Ryan Gomes had the following to say:
"I probably (would have played), but since we were in the hunt for a high draft pick, of course things are different, I understand that. Hopefully things get better. Now that we clinched at least having the second-most balls in the lottery, the last three games we'll see what happens. We'll see if we can go out and finish some games."
So the Celtics, or at least one of them, admits the team has moved into the realm of ACTUAL tanking. That is unacceptable for a number of reasons.
- Fans pay good money to see the team play. The average NBA ticket price is $51.02. When they bought the tickets, they expected that they would be seeing an honest, straight-up athletic contest.
- Degenerate gamblers, where such a thing is legal, actually bet on the outcome of NBA games while operating on the assumption that external factors, such as purposely not winning, will not come into play.
- Pete Rose is suffering through a lifetime ban from baseball based on the presumption that he might have managed games differently if it would benefit him financially. Apparently this standard does not apply to GMs and coaches who want to select/coach the next hot draft pick. We'll ignore the Michael Jordan gambling incidents for now.
- When one team tanks, another team benefits. This seems obvious, but if you're on the cusp of home team advantage for the playoffs, and someone else has the benefit of playing the Celtics after they've decided to tank, you'd be very pissed.
- It's un-American to not try to win
- It screws your players. Not every player on a team is in a position where they can suck alongside four other sucky players. Some of these guys are just on the edge of making a livelihood. They don't want to test the value of their kinesiology degrees from Some State. If your favorite player from your favorite school ends up as PG for the Celtics, their career likely just ended...unless they draft Oden.