Earlier this week, Magic Johnson made headlines by saying he wants the Los Angeles Lakers to lose every game to earn a high draft pick. With the team struggling with a 6-16 record, many agree with his statements while others don’t think the franchise with 16 championships should tank.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Jim and Jeanie Buss talked about numerous topics including the idea of teams tanking:
Jim: It will never happen here, period. The question is insulting. Our fans understand there’s a process. They believe in the process — the coach, Kobe, the draft pick [Julius Randle] and the flexibility we have going forward.
Jeanie: The teams that use tanking as a strategy are doing damage. If you’re in tanking mode, that means you’ve got young players who you’re teaching bad habits to. I think that’s unforgivable. If you’re tanking and you have young players or you keep a short roster, you’re playing guys out of their position or too many minutes, you’re risking injury. It’s irresponsible and I don’t think it belongs in any league.
With tanking being a part of the league, the organization and players have dismissed the idea that they should follow the trend. Although the Lakers could potentially lose their pick to the Phoenix Suns if it doesn’t land in the top-five in this year’s NBA Draft, Jeanie believes it is “unforgivable” and “irresponsible” for the storied franchise to embrace it.
Although the Lakers from top to bottom have dismissed tanking, they face another uphill season as the Western Conference is extremely talented with the top seven teams having at least a .700 win percentage.[divide]
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