If they're not tanking it, they should be. All of them. The Celtics and Bucks. The Blazers and Bobcats. The Kings. The Hawks.
|Boston should consider sitting Paul Pierce for the rest of the season. (Getty Images)|
The quitting has never been better, in fact.
The top two players available in the 2007 NBA Draft, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, are worth whatever feces that need to be smeared on the final 10 days of this NBA season. Oden and Durant are that good, and the rest of this draft is that bad. The drop from Oden-and-Durant to whoever goes No. 3 overall is ear-poppingly steep. Close your eyes, pinch your nose and grab your parachute. It's about to get ugly.
Tanking it to lose as many games as possible is no guarantee of getting either Oden or Durant, of course. Not with the NBA's lottery system designed to stop such behavior. The worse a team's record, the better its chances of getting the first pick. But nothing's certain.
Well, almost nothing. This is certain: After Oden and Durant -- assuming they turn pro -- the 2007 draft pool is lousy. Which means tanking isn't just a possibility. It's a necessity.
If Boston coach Doc Rivers has to give enormous minutes to the last five players on his god-awful team, which he did March 21 to turn an 18-point lead against the Bobcats into a 92-84 loss, so be it.
If Milwaukee has to shut down Michael Redd and Earl Boykins on top of the early vacations given to Charlie Villanueva (shoulder) and Andrew Bogut (foot), do it. (True story: The Bucks and Celtics played Wednesday and Boston sat Paul Pierce while Milwaukee sat Michael Redd. Hahahaha. OK. Back to our regularly scheduled column.)
If Portland has to tell aching Zach Randolph (hand) to miss the final 10 games -- hours after he put up 43 points and 17 rebounds against Minnesota -- fine.
Everyone into the tank! Last one in is a rotten draft pick.
The 2007 Draft wasn't supposed to be this bad. For years basketball people have been pointing to this draft as one of the best ever, citing high school class of 2007 stars O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love and Derrick Rose. Those players were eliminated from this draft by the NBA's rule requiring high school seniors to wait at least one year after graduation to be eligible -- but the class of 2006 was said to be just as good, and those players weren't draft-eligible last year. But they're eligible now, effectively taking the place of the current crop of high school seniors.
Problem: The high school class of 2006 was dreadfully overrated.
Oden and Durant were the real deal, and Brandan Wright of North Carolina has All-Star potential if he adds weight and a jump shot. Washington's Spencer Hawes wasn't as dominant as advertised, but was good enough to hang onto his spot in the 2007 lottery.