The Thunder Are Pulling Off A Historic Tank Job All While Slapping Adam Silver Right In The Face
We're going to ignore who that 1 win came against for the duration of this blog. I'm down bad enough as it is. This is a blog about the Thunder, and what a historic tank job we are currently witnessing. Now, I've seen a run like this before. Back in 2007 the Celts went 1-22 over a 23 game span, but they weren't getting crushed by over 20 points per game on average. You could make a case that this OKC team is legitimately the worst team we've ever seen set foot on an NBA court.
I'm actually going to do something that may come as a surprise to some. We all know that this very act is something that Adam Silver is trying hard to eliminate. Whether it's flattening the lottery odds, adding in the play in tournament in an effort to keep teams engaged and competitive, Silver does not want tanking. But as we've seen, teams like the Rockets and Thunder could give two shits what Adam Silver wants.
My question is this. Is Silver going to drop the hammer down on the Thunder like he did with the Sixers and Sam Hinkie? Granted, the Sixers lost on purpose for like three straight years, but do we think the Thunder are suddenly going to start winning next year? No. Having SGA back might help, but their overall purpose is going to be the same. They want to lose, especially when they have all these picks moving forward. The NBA pretty much forced Sam Hinkie out and made the Sixers hire maybe one of the dumbest executives of all time, yet Sam Presti is getting praised for what he's doing. That feels a little messed up. The Thunder straight up shut down a 100% healthy Al Horford because they wanted to lose. They gave up good rotation players to a contender to facilitate that trade in the first place, only to then not play the guy they got back because he suddenly looked pretty good. With all this talk about the integrity of the league, the Thunder are slapping Adam Silver right in the face.
The thing is, it's the right thing to do given how the league is set up. You could argue it was the right thing for the Sixers to do at the time as well, it netted them Embiid and Simmons. Sure they haven't had the playoffs success yet, but I think every Sixers fan would trade in those tanking years for what we're currently seeing. So where is Adam Silver stepping in when it comes to the Thunder? That doesn't feel very consistent.
And just like it did with the Sixers in terms of landing franchise guys, if the Thunder who are currently in the top 3 of the flattened lottery odds end up winning the lottery, why wouldn't they continue down this path? Why wouldn't other rebuilding teams follow the same plan? It's not like the Thunder are a hot free agent destination, their best chance at bringing in elite talent is to draft it, and to get that elite talent they have to lose.
I'm just curious at what point Silver steps in. He set a precedent with what he did to the Sixers, so he can't just sit back and ignore when an even more blatant tank job is going on. Maybe he'll do some shady shit in the lottery like the league has done in the past and will penalize the Thunder that way. I'm not even sure that would deter them though. So they what, get the 4th pick? That guy could still be really good.
It's all just a little hypocritical that Presti is praised for what he's done, nobody really gives a shit about the Thunder tanking at a historic level, and we haven't heard a peep from Adam Silver about it. Does he have the balls to force Sam Presti out of the Thunder front office? What if it continues to happen over the next two seasons? The league isn't preventing this sort of approach from happening, but you can't only penalize one franchise for it when others are clearly doing the same thing, only worse.