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Which Teams are The Most Suspected for Tanking?

23 Jun

In my second piece about incentives to lose in the NBA I’ll focus mainly on extremes. Because even though it is a well known strategy I don’t think there is any research on… pointing fingers to actual offenders!
In other words, are there teams which tank more often than others?
Or is it simply year-by-year case-by-case strategy?

The data, timeframe and [simple] methodology used is exactly the same as in my previous post about tanking so I won’t repeat myself here and I’ll go straight into IMHO interesting curiosity…

# Worst Record Total Difference Biggest Minus By Team During Season
1 6 -9 Blazers 2005-06
2 -19 -9 Warriors 2000-01
3 -14 -6 Bucks 2006-07
4 -12 -10 Nuggets 1991-92
5 -32 -8 Clippers 2003-04
6 -10 -9 Sixers 1993-94
7 -35 -10 Cavs 2000-01
8 -3 -9 Clippers 2009-10
9 -7 -10 Lakers 2004-05
10 29 -7 Bucks 1996-97
11 -7 -4 Nets 2008-09

Conventional wisdom, and frankly my assumption before this project, was that teams tank mostly for the worst record in the league but according to this measure it’s not true. Worst record usually belongs to either actually really bad team or one which started tanking very early so other teams can’t catch it… and the real tank-fest goes on between 2nd worst and 7th worst team each year.
When you check example of odds for Top3 pick it makes a lot of sense. First of all, there are a lot of ties in that range and second of all, team can almost double it’s odds for Top3 by moving up just one spot!

OK, and into the main point of this post [Warning! Some long tables ahead!]:

Team Times in
Bottom10
Total Difference - Team Times in
Bottom10
Total Difference
Bucks 12 -42 - Heat 6 18
Clippers 13 -27 - Hornets 3 13
Wolves 12 -17 - Mavs 8 12
Knicks 8 -16 - Magic 3 11
Blazers 3 -14 - Bobcats 5 9
Wizards 12 -14 - Rockets 3 8
Sixers 9 -13 - Bulls 6 7
Raptors 9 -9 - Hawks 9 6
Kings 9 -7 - Pacers 1 4
Suns 2 -7 - OKC 5 4
Grizzlies 10 -6 - Pistons 6 3
Nuggets 9 -6 - Celtics 8 -2
Lakers 2 -5 - Jazz 1 -2
Warriors 12 -4 - Spurs 1 -2
Cavs 5 -3 - Nets 10 -3

Heat, Hornets, Mavs, Magic went in the opposite direction while Bucks, Clippers, Wolves, Knicks, Blazers, Wizards and Sixers seem like suspects to me. But you shouldn’t accuse anybody without any evidence so…

Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Bucks 2010-11 16 19 35 3
Bucks 2008-09 19 15 34 -4
Bucks 2007-08 16 10 26 -6 series of strange injuries to Redd, Bogut i Mo Williams, IMHO they tanked
Bucks 2006-07 17 11 28 -6 series of strange injuries to Redd, Bogut i Mo Williams, IMHO they tanked
Bucks 2004-05 15 15 30 0
Bucks 1997-98 19 17 36 -2
Bucks 1996-97 20 13 33 -7 Top7 played 78 games, had 2 small trades, they tanked?
Bucks 1995-96 15 10 25 -5 Small trades and coach Mike Dunleavy Sr fired
Bucks 1994-95 16 18 34 2
Bucks 1993-94 12 8 20 -4
Bucks 1992-93 17 11 28 -6 Brickowski, starter at C, missed games in March and April, they tanked?
Bucks 1991-92 19 12 31 -7 In the last 15 games they won only one, Humphries starter at PG missed some games
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Clippers 2010-11 16 16 32 0
Clippers 2009-10 19 10 29 -9 traded Camby for expiring contracts, changed coach, Gordon’s injury, IMHO they tanked
Clippers 2008-09 9 10 19 1
Clippers 2007-08 13 10 23 -3
Clippers 2003-04 18 10 28 -8 Jaric stopped playing in March and they won only 3 games the rest of way. Brand and Kaman played till the end so if they tanked they did it gently
Clippers 2002-03 16 11 27 -5 Brand was injured but with a broken bone so seems legit
Clippers 2000-01 13 18 31 5
Clippers 1999-00 10 5 15 -5 starters Taylor i Anderson started missing games at the end, IMHO they tanked
Clippers 1997-98 10 7 17 -3
Clippers 1995-96 16 13 29 -3
Clippers 1994-95 7 10 17 3
Clippers 1993-94 15 12 27 -3
Clippers 1990-91 14 17 31 3
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Wolves 2010-11 10 7 17 -3
Wolves 2009-10 8 7 15 -1
Wolves 2008-09 14 10 24 -4
Wolves 2007-08 7 15 22 8 Foye came back and Telfair lost his job as a starter
Wolves 2006-07 20 12 32 -8 Garnett and Jaric stopped playing in the end, youngsters got minutes, IMHO they tanked
Wolves 2005-06 20 13 33 -7 Garnett and Ricky Davis missed last 6 games, youngsters got minutes, IMHO they tanked
Wolves 1995-96 11 15 26 4
Wolves 1994-95 10 11 21 1
Wolves 1993-94 14 6 20 -8 Horrific February and March when their starter at PG missed some games
Wolves 1992-93 10 9 19 -1
Wolves 1991-92 7 8 15 1
Wolves 1990-91 14 15 29 1
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Knicks 2009-10 17 12 29 -5 Cleared cap space with trades with Darko, TMac, Jordan Hill, didn’t have own pick!
Knicks 2008-09 17 15 32 -2
Knicks 2007-08 13 10 23 -3
Knicks 2006-07 17 16 33 -1
Knicks 2005-06 14 9 23 -5 Marbury, Frye and QRich missed last month but they owed their pick to Bulls, was it Top1 protected?
Knicks 2004-05 17 16 33 -1
Knicks 2002-03 17 20 37 3
Knicks 2001-02 16 14 30 -2
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Blazers 2006-07 16 16 32 0
Blazers 2005-06 15 6 21 -9 Zach missed some games but they had the worst record in the league
Blazers 2004-05 16 11 27 -5 Ratliff and Zach ended season in March
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Bullets 1994-95 11 10 21 -1
Bullets 1993-94 14 10 24 -4
Bullets 1992-93 12 10 22 -2
Bullets 1991-92 14 11 25 -3
Bullets 1990-91 18 12 30 -6 Bernard King played only 64 games
Wizards 2010-11 12 11 23 -1
Wizards 2009-10 14 12 26 -2
Wizards 2008-09 9 10 19 1
Wizards 2003-04 12 13 25 1
Wizards 2002-03 21 16 37 -5 Jordan vs Hughes?
Wizards 2000-01 7 12 19 5
Wizards 1999-00 13 16 29 3
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Sixers 2009-10 13 14 27 1
Sixers 2003-04 18 15 33 -3
Sixers 1997-98 14 17 31 3
Sixers 1996-97 9 13 22 4
Sixers 1995-96 7 11 18 4
Sixers 1994-95 12 12 24 0
Sixers 1993-94 17 8 25 -9 Bradley ended season in the middle of February
Sixers 1992-93 17 9 26 -8 Top 7 played 73+ games, in the 1st half had many overtimes
Sixers 1991-92 20 15 35 -5 ??? I have no idea, starting five missed only 9 games total including 7 by Barkley but it was in December

After all of this I would say that in the last 20 years Bucks, Clippers and Wolves are the worst offenders for the tanking. Other cases are kind of blurry to me.

And just for your information, details about teams which went in the opposite direction…

Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Heat 2007-08 8 7 15 -1
Heat 2002-03 14 11 25 -3
Heat 2001-02 14 22 36 8 Jim Jackson came back in December
Heat 1994-95 14 18 32 4
Heat 1992-93 14 22 36 8 Steve Smith started season in January
Heat 1990-91 11 13 24 2
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Hornets 2004-05 7 11 18 4
Hornets 1991-92 11 20 31 9 Newman, starter at SF, missed March and team played at .500 level then
Hornets 1990-91 13 13 26 0
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Magic 2003-04 10 11 21 1
Magic 1991-92 11 10 21 -1
Magic 1990-91 10 21 31 11 Nick Anderson got a chance in second half
Team Season Wins
(1st half)
Wins
(2nd half)
Total
Wins
Difference My best guess about explanation
for +/- 5 difference
Mavs 1997-98 7 13 20 6 Bradley and Strickland missed time in December when they won only 2 games
Mavs 1996-97 14 10 24 -4
Mavs 1995-96 14 12 26 -2
Mavs 1994-95 16 20 36 4
Mavs 1993-94 2 11 13 9 Sean Rooks missed November
Mavs 1992-93 3 8 11 5 Jim Jackson played only in March and April
Mavs 1991-92 13 9 22 -4
Mavs 1990-91 15 13 28 -2
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2 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

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2 responses to “Which Teams are The Most Suspected for Tanking?

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