The Stretch Run


The NBA has a little less than a third of the season left. The All-Star game has passed and so has the Trade Deadline.  That usually signifies the stretch run for teams.  Normally you would only think of teams that are competing for playoff spots, but it also means some teams will try and “tank” to get a better draft choice.  Both types of competing have become quite popular over the last few years.  I certainly do not remember teams tanking when I was a child, but of course there could be many reasons for that.

I am not sure if the NBA is different from other sports, but it is pretty much a given that only 5-6 teams can win the title.  Certain teams that are good have no shot at playing for a title, but they fall in the middle of the draft order.  Sometimes it really does not pay to be in the middle of the draft.  If you are not in the top 10 you do not have as good of a chance at getting a player that can really change the future of your franchise.  This causes teams to tank.  They can tank in a couple of different ways.  You can go into a season with very little talent or experience on your roster and that will pretty much ensure yourself of a high draft pick.  If you are a middle of the road team, you can try to make trades before the deadline that will lose your talent and try to get back young talent or draft choices.

The Sixers have been playing the high draft choice game for a few seasons now and it shows that their method is not necessarily a sure thing.  They have taken quite a few prospects over the last few years and they still are not a good team.  They made a deadline deal trading one of their recent high picks. They received a player that they will release and a draft choice.  So they are basically saying they value the draft pick more than the player they drafted a few years ago.  It is a weird way to try and build your team.  I cant imagine being a player on a team like that, it seems to go against everything a competitor would believe in.

Other teams make deals to try and get better for this year and to position themselves for a better future.  Examples of these deals could be the Thunder dealing for two veteran Bulls players.These players will not really help them in the future, but they should really give a boost to a team that needs some help to make a run in the playoffs.  You also have the Pelicans making a trade for an All-Star player in Cousins.  This will help them this year a little, but this is a deal that should help them compete in future years.   They are pairing two big men that have a plenty of talent.

I would imagine depending on what team you are a fan of would determine which system you believe in.  I would imagine every fan wants their team to be competitive.  There will be fans that do not have the patience for a rebuild and some fans will have the patience as long as progress is being made.  It seems the Sixers are in a perpetual state of building.  That fan base will start tuning the team out even more than they have if progress does not show soon.  Regardless of how your team fared at the deadline, or how they are currently sitting in the standings, it will be fun to watch the playoffs once they get started.