How the NBA can put an end to tanking

How the NBA can put an end to tanking

Some would call tanking the NBA’s version of “original sin,” but is it a necessary evil for franchises to turn themselves around? Or a tool of incompetence for front offices that refuse to take any other team-building method besides hoping and praying for magic beans?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has initiated draft reform methods that will take hold next season, where the worst three teams will have equal odds at getting the top pick, compared to existing rules where the single worst team has a 25-percent chance at getting the first pick.

Philadelphia made a mockery of competition for years in the hopes of getting enough top picks to build a champion solely through the draft as opposed to the other methods.

And while Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are superstars in the making, they’ve squandered other picks in the “Process,” such as Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and Jahlil Okafor. And now they could very well have ruined Markelle Fultz, the top pick in the 2017 draft.

Now, the NBA has to stop the copycats before it loses the overall momentum it’s enjoying. Things are going well for the league with ratings, sponsors and the image of its stars as pristine and positive as ever — but the NBA can’t ignore what’s going on beneath the surface.

Some teams are terrible because they’ve made bad decisions in the draft through the years and aren’t purposely tanking, so whatever measures could be taken can’t move away from the general premise of the point of the (unfair) draft: giving the worst teams the best chance at getting better, quicker.

So a solution could be setting the lottery odds at midseason instead of after 82 games to prevent the race to the bottom. Or setting them at the trade deadline. Anything to maintain a level of integrity for the final half of the season — for the game itself, the players who don’t make the choice to tank and the paying customers who have to endure this nonsense.

There will be loopholes, as no plan is foolproof, but at least it’s a start. Or a continuation of the changes the NBA have begun.

Michael Porter Jr.: 'I'm the perfect fit for today's NBA game'

Michael Porter Jr.: 'I'm the perfect fit for today's NBA game'

Michael Porter Jr. grabbed some attention when he remarked that he was "perfect fit for today's NBA game" during an appearance on The Will Cain Show.

The interview went a long way towards showing off the uber-confident nature of Porter, who has consistently talked about being the best player in his class throughout the draft process. Porter also remarked that he was "an immediate impact guy," and that he "doesn't want it to take long to be one of the best players in the NBA."

His hubris has been intruiging considering the mystery surrounding the prospect.

During the interview Porter added that he would be open to doing more workouts for NBA front offices ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. The only workout he has completed so far was his pro day workout in Chicago, and multiple reports have cited that Porter did look good shooting, though he was in an isolated setting with no defenders.

The one thing Porter has not done much throughout the process is talk about his weaknesses, which is somewhat concerning seeing as he has much to improve on. The general consensus is that a healthy Porter can get buckets at will. But if he can improve his ball-handling, rebounding and passing skills, he will be much more than a go-to scorer. Tightening his ball-handling skills is likely the key, as the ability to grab the rebound and push in transition would be a huge boon for Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's offense.

The biggest question when it comes to Porter on the Bulls is can he fit with Lauri Markkanen? Despite receiving many favorable Kevin Durant and Paul George comparisons leading up to the draft, there is a rising sentiment that his best position in the NBA may be the power forward spot. It is not yet known if he has the foot speed to stay in front of quicker wings in today's NBA. But at six-feet-ten-inches, it is easy to imagine him having a huge advantage against slower power forwards rather than wings. While Markkanen is not currently built to be a full-time center, playing him at the five with Porter at the four would present Hoiberg with a potentially devastating closing lineup.

Versatility is the name of the game in today's league, and Michael Porter Jr. may be the key to unlocking the full potential of Hoiberg's pace-and-space attack. 

Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls


Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls

Just two years after being drafted in the second round, Paul Zipser told German media that he doesn’t see the Bulls wanting him next season.

The Bulls have until mid-July to pick up Zipser's option.

"I would not be surprised if they no longer want me.” Zipser said in German and translated via Google Translate

“Actually, I'm pretty sure I will not play in Chicago soon.”

Last month, Zipser had surgery on his fractured left foot, in his native country of Germany, which grew speculation the Bulls wouldn’t pick up his player option for next season. Zipser said the surgery "went perfectly."

Zipser showed some flashes of potential in his rookie season, averaging 5.5 per game and 2.8 rebounds in 44 games. But this past season, he played more games, but injuries derailed him from improving his overall production. He finished with four points and 2.4 rebounds in 54 games, including 12 starts.

Zipser explained that things changed from his first year to his second year.

“They were very varied," Zipser said. "The first year was just going very well. I fought my way into the team from the beginning and showed how I can help the team. The Bulls just needed someone like me. That's why it worked so well. We benefited from each other - that's why we were successful.”

“That was very different. It was not right from the beginning, and I was already struggling with my injury. It was not quite clear what it is. If you have pain in your foot, you automatically go down a bit with intensity. You just do not want to hurt yourself and be completely out. It was then difficult for me to keep my head in the sport - I did not manage that well. Nevertheless, the injury should not be an excuse.”

Nothing is official yet, but it sounds like Zipser might not dress up in a Bulls uniform next year.