The art and agony of the tank (split from game thread)

Discussion in 'Kings Rap' started by New Era, Apr 1, 2017.

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  1. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    The thing is the Kings have been "tanking". Kosta/Afflalo/DC/Ty/Reke/Tolliver/Temple have all sat out multiple games as our team suits up the bare minimum of players they can legally play. The main problem has been that (a) our "sucky" young guys have been getting better to the point that games have started to become regularly competitive, (b) our old dudes are all of the smart, high-effort future NBA coach variety meaning that they would never just decide to give in to the tank, and (c) Joerger was really serious about building a winning culture thing and is too good a coach to tank. Vlade gave Joerger 3 super raw rookies and then later a fourth "streaky shooter" one and Joerger did what you'd want any coach to do and developed them into good NBA talents.

    The problem with this Kings roster as its currently constructed is that our vets are too good and our rookies and young guys developed too fast for us to tank easily.

    Meanwhile, the Suns have done a horrible job of drafting/developing talent to the point that most of their roster is made up of underachieving draft picks, random DL filler, and three good players who they've decided to sit so they can have a better chance to whiff on someone in the draft. Bledsoe and Booker have both spent large chunks of time over the past couple of seasons being shut down as part of a tank and it's yet to be seen if they've had enough time to develop chemistry as a result. Also Tyson Chandler has spent most of the past couple of seasons on paid vacation as the Suns keep trying to tank their way back to relevancy.

    Over in Dallas, the Mavs didn't really even have enough talent to stay relevant in the first place, enabling them to tank by shutting down their two or three "good players". I mean the three best players on that roster in the first place are Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, and one-legged Wes Matthews with the rest of the roster being occupied by the ghost of Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel, JJ Barea, Yogi Ferrell, and a bunch of D-Leaguers. The Mavs have no young talent to "develop" like the Kings have, enabling them to just aimless play Jarrod Uthoff 20 minutes a game with no regrets.

    The Lakers and T-Wolves on the other hand have been playing the develop the young dudes card to varying results. The T-Wolves have by far the most talent of any western conference team not in the playoffs this season but have played awful this season (and not on purpose), so I'd debate calling this a tank. The Lakers have found their young guys starting to get their act together at just the wrong time and their collection of bad vets are either randomly playing good again (Metta World Peace had 18 points and 4 steals tonight) or being rested as part of a tank (even if I think just giving Nick Young, Zombie Deng, and Mozgov free reign would be the best way for that team to lose games).
  2. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    I don't think our young guys sucked. But I also don't think, they are the main reason we won "too many" games.
    You trade DC and Lawson and one of KK or Tolliver at the deadline, cut Reke and Afflalo and that's at least 3-4 wins less and gives you the ability to sign D-leaguers to try to find our own Ferrell.
    And that's not even taking into account, that trading DMC in the offseason and playing a young core all season, would have pretty much guaranteed the best possible draft pick even with the 76ers swap in mind.
    But you know - the moment I write this I actually feel like I shouldn't post it, because it's getting repetitive.
    We won't get the best possible pick. Now we simply need to hope, that the teams picking in front of us screw up. No disrespect to teams like Orlando or the Suns, but I think there is a decent chance, that a major talent gets overlooked. It all comes down to the question, if we are competent enough to find that talent.
    Our situation isn't hopeless, but it's not ideal and that's pretty much our own fault.
  3. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    But at the same time our current young guys are learning how to win games and getting better. I think Joerger and Vlade were really serious about the whole building a winning culture thing above all else and trading away DC and Kosta or Tolliver really sorta punts on that idea. The young guys are really soaking up everything the vets are teaching them and its debatable whether or not they'd have developed as much as they have now had they not had those guys there to guide them.

    Now you can debate whether or not that is preferable to having less developed versions of the same young guys plus a better pick in the draft but I really can't find fault in trying to build winning habits with the young guys we already have on the team now.
  4. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    You know, that's the beauty of this board. So many people with so many different point of views all sharing the same passion for the Kings.
    It's entirely possible and reasonable to view things like you do, but you pretty much know for sure I don't agree with you there. ;)

    First of all - for me the talk about winning culture is a figleaf for Vlade to hide his incompetence, but like usual this statement will upset a lot of people, so let's talk about something different.

    The Kings won 8 games since the DMC trade. Out of this 8 games only 3 were against teams actively trying to win. Versus the Grizzlies and the Nuggets the rookies didn't play a major role with Buddy as the exception, because at the wings the Kings were incredibly undermanned. Does playing minutes against teams, who are trying to lose in order to get the best draft pick possible, count as teaching young guys how to win? I mean versus the Suns Buddy pretty much was allowed to just walk the ball to the basket against 3-4 passive defenders. Is that learning to win?

    I wholeheartedly agree, that a few experienced mentors can do work with developing young players. But you don't need a whole bunch of veterans to do that. That's why I never wanted to trade Temple and only one of KK and Tolliver. Just from the outside looking in, those guys are really embracing their role as teachers and role models for our young guys and I really respect that.
  5. Mr. S£im Citrus

    Mr. S£im Citrus That's right, I said it! Staff Member Contributor

    Somehow, I had a feeling you would say something like that.
  6. andjel

    andjel Well-Known Member

    I can understand why some folks do not want to tank. Pick 6, pick 9, there is a difference but can be argued how important that is vs the growth, winning...

    However, can we all agree that the last game is must lose unless NO wins?

    If we win, there is a real chance that we lose at least one pick and that is way too costly.
    Pelicans chance of top 3 would double from 4% to 8%.
    Chance of us to get out of top 10 would grow from just theoretical (less than 0.1% if we are 9th) to 4.7%.
    If we lose a coin toss it grows to 9.4%.

    For the tank, send all kids on early summer break, get KK, Lawson, Collison, Tolliver, Temple, Afflalo, Evans and Galloway in a separate room to discuss the strategy.
  7. upinsmoke

    upinsmoke Well-Known Member

    In retrospect I would have waived T. Evans and brought up I. Cousins to see what we have there. He is after all our draft pick. As for Afflalo I think he can be used as a salary dump asset. Temple, Tolliver and Koufos are solid vets to have.
  8. LPKingsFan

    LPKingsFan Well-Known Member

    I don't know. Both Evans and Afflalo have been significant net negatives since the all-star break. Perhaps they should have played more!
  9. KingsFanGER

    KingsFanGER Well-Known Member

    The thing is, that both shouldn't be in our future considerations. Waiving them would have given us the opportunity to hold a tryout for D-leaguers or waivers. Using the a similar method the 76ers stumbled into Covington for example, who is a solid NBA rotation player.
    Kingster likes this.
  10. pdxKingsFan

    pdxKingsFan Well-Known Member

    Even if it's fool's gold I am ok with riding the talented kids we have to where we are. I've never liked the way intentionally losing leads to a culture of losing. There's a reason that teams like San Antonio tank once, get lucky and then win multiple championships. Yeah I know, Duncan is a generational talent and Pop is the top of his class, but there was a culture of winning there so we never had to see Duncan play on a 20 win team either. They can turn picks from the teens and beyond into great players. I was in Boston then, I was salty that San Antonio won that draft and Boston with the opportunity for 2 top 3 picks got Ron Mercer and Chauncy Billups (who Pitino wasted). Who knows what Pitino would have done to Duncan. He's a poor NBA coach.

    I think we're seeing a coach get the maximum out of what he is given, I just hope we keep him long enough to have a winning culture turn into a winning team.
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  11. LA King Fan II

    LA King Fan II Active Member

    No tragedy if we get Zach Collins at #11. He's better than WCS in my opinion.
  12. Kingster

    Kingster Well-Known Member

    Playing Lawson, Temple and Tolliver against the Suns made the outcome of the game just a formality, especially because the Suns let the very tired 2nd year player Booker "rest" for the evening. The only conclusion I can come up with is that Divac doesn't really care whether he's 7th, 8th, or 9th in the draft lotto picture. Maybe he figures that the players at those positions are so close in ability to one another it doesn't make a difference. I dunno. It would have been nice if Kayte would have asked Divac about his "draft strategy" down the stretch to get some insight into what he's thinking or not thinking. The pathetic apologist comments from Reynolds and Napier concerning the draft position, always indirect and implied, remind one of Pravda in the Soviet days, and are very annoying. You can bet that if the Kings were sitting at the 5th slot, or heaven forbid, the 1st slot (with no prior trade conditions with Philly) they would be wildly ecstatic over the prospects of getting the star player that they both so covet.
  13. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    That's the problem. By all accounts we were trying to tank after the DeMarcus trade and it turns out we're just as bad at tanking as we are at everything else. Aiming for a better pick and completely failing to accomplish even that is nothing to be proud of. I don't care about Phoenix. They have a long way to go and they're in top 3 range. But Dallas has a lot more talent than we do they just know how to tank. Minnesota has a lot more talent than we do also. I haven't watched them enough to say whether they're losing on purpose or not but they sure dropped a lot of close games at the end. Philadelphia has already shown everyone how to do this. You stock up with filler players who are happy just to get an NBA contract and let them do your dirty work. That way your core players remain untarnished. It would have been incredibly easy for us to cut the expiring veterans at the end of February, limit our rookies' minutes and lose all of our games. The result would have been a pick in the 4-6 range. As usual we went with the "wait and see" approach which would be less charitably described as doing nothing and hoping for the best. I expect a little more effort than that.
  14. VF21

    VF21 #KingsFansForever Staff Member Contributor

    I'm honestly curious. Just how many "franchise players" do you think are in this year's draft?
  15. Mr. S£im Citrus

    Mr. S£im Citrus That's right, I said it! Staff Member Contributor

    I am going to strongly disagree with the notion that Dallas has "a lot" more talent than Sacramento. What the Mavericks have that the Kings do not, which really benefits a team trying to "tank", is a severe drop-off in talent between their fifth-best player and their sixth-best player. The Mavericks have one really good (though declining) player, two very good players, two pretty good players, and then, like, eight bums. The Kings don't have any really good players (anymore), and they don't have any very good players. What they have is, like, nine pretty good players, two okay players, and one, maybe two bums. It's a lot easier to tank when you have one B+ player, two B- players, two C+ players and eight D- players than it is when you have nine C players and three C- players.

    I've watched enough Timberwolves games that I feel comfortable saying that they're not losing on purpose (#BigManLove). They're just really poor at closing games out.
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  16. Mr. S£im Citrus

    Mr. S£im Citrus That's right, I said it! Staff Member Contributor

    I suspect that many pro-tank Kings fans probably believe that the number of "franchise players" in the draft is equal to whatever the Kings' highest draft pick is, minus one.
  17. Capt. Factorial

    Capt. Factorial Cantry Member Staff Member Contributor

    Yes, and I would extend that characterization to fans of basically every team picking between 2 and 10, basically every year.
  18. Folsomkingsfan

    Folsomkingsfan Active Member

    It's laughable that Divac or Vivek never stepped in and told Joerger to sit the vets to maximize our pick potential. Sure he has sat a rotating combo of Collison, Lawson, Koufos, Afflalo, Tolliver, Koufos, and Evans, but he still plays 3-4 of them per game and for extended periods of time. Divac traded away our franchise guy for peanuts and had a chance to redeem himself by putting us in a position to get a point guard or small forward of the future, but instead he let Joerger let McLemore, Tolliver, and Lawson win us games we didn't need to win. Now we are in a position where none of the guys we actually need will be in play for us in the draft. Divac caught a bit of break by grabbing a steal in Skal, but how can he be so naive as to think that late season wins are more important than a higher draft position in an important draft? And is Coach Joerger so out of touch with what Kings fans actually want that he was willing to let vets win us meaningless games rather than build the team up for the future?

    If we lose either one of our picks Divac should 100% be fired. No more chances. It's insane that we are even in this position.
  19. ovrush

    ovrush Active Member

    Except it could actually be a tragedy because if we wound up in the 11 spot it would mean there's a decent chance we lost 1 or both of our picks.
  20. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    Yeah but exactly how well has that worked out for the Sixers? Cutting back on playing time for their actual good young players has stunted their growth and while Hinkie did a great job of accumulating more draft picks than he could possibly use, the Sixers desire to keep the tank rolling by drafting dudes who'll require time coming off injury has resulted in their roster being full of dudes who have wound up to be injury prone. I feel like people fall in love with the whole idea of having high draft picks without considering external circumstances that have much more bearing on the success of a franchise. I mean, while you gotta admire the moxie to acquire several first round picks a year, the Sixers have been doing that by continually cycling through any of their young players who even begin to look like viable NBA rotation guys (KJ McDaniels, MCW, Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel) in favor of future picks which they'll use on more young players who they can then trade for even more draft picks to perpetuate the cycle. Since 2013, the Sixers have picked 1st overall once (Ben Simmons) 3rd two times (Embiid and Okafor), 6th once (Nerlens), 11th once (MCW), and 12th once (Saric). Of these players, two have since been traded away for more future assets (Noel and MCW), one spent several years overseas before coming to the NBA and becoming the presumed ROY (Saric), two are perpetually injured potential franchise players (Embiid and Simmons), and one is Jahlil Okafor. Considering how much effort the Sixers put into sucking over the years, its debatable how much of a return their getting on their investment.

    Dallas has a lot more talent than us? Dirk is a bag of bones at this point. Wes is one-legged. I suppose Harrison Barnes is a borderline all-star reserve. Seth is producing at Buddy Hield levels so huzzah I guess. Nerlens Noel is a serviceable defender/rim-runner but he's nothing to write home about. Maybe more talent than the Kings but not by "a lot".

    And you should watch the T-Wolves before claiming they're on the tank train. Actually don't. They're just bad.
    LoungeLizard, pdxKingsFan and parker like this.
  21. pdxKingsFan

    pdxKingsFan Well-Known Member

    Frankly they're an embarrassment. At least this franchise has had glimmers of hope, thwarted by mismanagement, but it was there. I still hate the way the whole Cousins thing has gone down, I'm not sure how we're set up for the future, but good god I hope that when the decision was made to move Cousins that they made a 3 year internal plan for the direction of this team, a commitment to not firing our coach and/or hitting the panic switch again, and just letting it all come together.
  22. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    NBA rules state that you have to have at least 8 dudes suited up for a game. If not these vets then who?

    Look, a cursory glance through my posting history will reveal me as being less than complimentary of Vlade but, once the trade deadline had come and gone, what the hell was he supposed to do? Afflalo's team option contract can be a huge trade asset come draft time so you can't cut him. Could you cut Reke? Sure, but at this point in his career, I'd argue that the team stood a better chance of losing the more minutes he saw in a game. Cut DC and Lawson. Sure, you could do that. But why? The only young point guard in the entire Kings system is Isaiah Cousins and he's been an okay player in D-League all season but certainly not someone you hand the reigns to for forty minutes a night in lieu of an actual NBA point guard. What about Tolliver or Temple? Those dudes have pretty much been extra coaches for the young guys. You don't get rid of them for the purpose of a tank. Kosta? The dude's pretty much been on Summer Vacation since early March anyways.

    I agree that Vlade should have tried unloading a couple of our vets for more assets at the deadline but once the deadline passed there's really not much more you could do to tank than what we've been trying to do. For years we'd been trying to build a team with enough talent to win game without Boogie. It looks like we finally did, just at the wrong time.
    LoungeLizard and Big Cuz 15 like this.
  23. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    I answered this somewhere else already (forget where) but I think there's around 3 franchise players in this draft. I can't give exact names because some of it depends on where guys end up and how they're developed, but I can give you a range of possibilities. Markelle Fultz and Josh Jackson both have franchise player talent at their respective positions. Fultz actually has top 5 player in the league potential I think. At the next tier there's De'Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Miles Bridges (who hasn't declared for the draft yet so he might not actually be an option) who can get to that level if everything breaks right for them. I'm thinking 2-3 of those 5 players will be franchise players for their teams and there's a few more wild cards throughout the rest of the draft who could be surprise stars. I'm not even going to pretend like I can predict the one player in 50 who gets picked way too late in retrospect, but I like Bam Adebayo, Jonathan Motley, and Jawun Evans as possibilities for that honor. More likely it's someone I've never heard of.

    So adding all that up my rough estimate is 3 franchise players and another 2 or 3 solid All Stars scattered throughout which would be a pretty good draft -- about on par with the 2009 draft. It's quite likely one or two of them come at or below our draft position but if it turns out like pretty much every other draft, 4 of the best players will come in the top 8 or 9 picks and maybe 2 will come from the bottom 51 picks. Odds are much better if you're picking in that top group. And considering the team distribution of those star players who come late in the draft over the years (including the undrafted guys like Ben Wallace and Brad Miller), it looks more like luck than anything. No single team is picking up more of them than anybody else. There is always some possibility of hitting the jackpot but I think it's very naive to think that you're going to be the team that correctly plucks the one star out of the field of 51. It's just not a winning strategy.
    KingsFanGER likes this.
  24. Mr. S£im Citrus

    Mr. S£im Citrus That's right, I said it! Staff Member Contributor

    The one and only complimentary thing that I'll say for "the Process" is... there is something coldly pragmatic about taking the philosophy of, "Well, if we're not good enough to win a championship, what's the point?" I mean, if I squint, and sort of look out the side of my eye, and use that Ricky Bobby "If you ain't first, you're last" math, I can kinda/sorta see the wisdom in thinking, "Well, ain't nobody going to beat the Warriors any time soon, anyhow, so until their window starts to close, it's pointless to try and build a playoff team." But even that philosophy has tons of obvious problems, chiefly among them, if you're just in a continuous rebuilding phase, how do you ever get out of it? How do your players learn to be a competitive team if, by organizational fiat, they're never competing? What do they build on? What do they learn from? You don't just draft a MacGuffin, and become an instant contender: Shaquille O'Neal didn't even do that, Michael Jordan didn't even do that, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn't even do that. There have basically been three guys in the history of the league that made their teams a title contender "overnight," and all three of them were drafted by teams that already had three Hall of Famers on them. At some point, you have to actually start trying to win, before you can actually start winning.

    There's also the often lamented (mainly by me, it seems) issue of ticket sales. Any owner with an ounce of integrity, moreso than even freezing ticket prices, should actually cut ticket prices, if they're not actively trying to win.
  25. Mr. S£im Citrus

    Mr. S£im Citrus That's right, I said it! Staff Member Contributor

    I would take it a step further: the Kings spent years trying to assemble a team with enough talent to win games without The All-Star Break... And then, they traded him, and told those guys, "Okay, now lose!" They couldn't have possibly thought that was going to work.
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  26. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    This is why we haven't gotten anywhere in 10 years of trying. Because we're never willing to go all-in on anything. Afflalo, Collison, Koufos, Tolliver, Lawson ... are we even going to remember half these guys in 10 years? They're roster filler. They're fine NBA players getting paid a ton of money because they're some of the best basketball players in the world but in terms of actually moving the franchise forward they have zero net impact. You give all of them away for a 10% better chance of landing a Lebron or a DWade or even a LaMarcus Aldridge. Half-measures and hedging our bets have been the earmarks of this franchise for as long as I can remember and it's gotten us nowhere. Why are we still sticking to this philosophy like it's ever going to make a difference? Keep the players who have a chance to be great, dump everyone else. They're still getting paid and they might actually have a chance to win somewhere else so they're not complaining.

    I would argue that we're saying the same thing here. Dallas has more top level talent than we do and that's the only talent that actually matters. The nine C players filling up our roster don't mean anything. They're all going to be gone before we actually become a winning team so why not just cut them loose now and give ourselves a better chance at drafting one very good player? Can we both agree that we're going nowhere until we find some really good or at least very good players? From a team-building point of view Dallas is two steps ahead of us already and they still managed to tank effectively while we could not. That's why we never go anywhere. Washington, Boston, and Cleveland have all bottomed out, drafted ahead of us, and returned to top of their conference status in the time that we've frittered about stockpiling C players and wondering why we can't rub them together and grow a superstar.
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  27. hrdboild

    hrdboild Well-Known Member

    On this I completely agree. It was a naff strategy from the beginning and I feel a little bit stupid for actually thinking they had more of a plan when they traded DeMarcus Cousins than "maybe this will be addition by subtraction guys?" Honestly I think that's their point of view right now and it's terrifying.
  28. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    Do they really? Who on their current roster is "top level"? Dirk used to be but now he's in full end-of-career-Kobe mode where he occasionally hits milestones to make us remember he exists. Harrison Barnes is a good player but "top level"? After that? A whole lot of nothing. I feel like you're letting Dallas's past reputation as one of the best franchises in the league mask the fact that their best roster move over the last three seasons has been signing Yogi Ferrell to a ten day contract or trading Andrew Bogut's rotting corpse for Nerlens Noel, who hasn't really developed at all since coming into the league (Thank the Process).

    Nothing about
    Dirk Zombie
    Ghost Wes/Seth
    screams "This is a top level roster!"

    Washington didn't bottom out so much as its best player decided the best method of conflict management was via wild west style gun duel. And even before that, they weren't exactly awesome for a good decade or so (MJ made them draft Kwame Brown!!!!). Boston drafting ahead of us has least to do with their success seeing as their best player was drafted by us with the last pick of his draft class. Danny Ainge's best draft pick since Avery Bradley has been Marcus Smart, who's played his way into a third guard role. Cleveland's situation involved the best player in the world abandoning their team for several seasons, allowing them to acquire high draft picks, some good (Kyrie/Tristan Thompson), some awful (Anthony Bennett anyone?), and then the aforementioned best basketball player in the universe decided to come back to the team but not before the team lucked its way into the first pick, which it then traded for an all-star big man. But once again, this was all predicated on Basketball Thor deciding to take a four year beach vacation, which isn't exactly a formula the Kings can replicate.
  29. kingdivac

    kingdivac Well-Known Member

    I agree in that the Kings are sub-mediocre and have no (Wait and see on Hield.) Their defense has dropped off some with Cousins departure. And yes it may be easier to tank when you have more scrubs at the end of the bench.
  30. Tetsujin

    Tetsujin The Game Thread Dude

    Did they though?
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