The NBA regular season is winding down to an end and playoff spots are beginning to be locked up.
While teams are fighting for playoff spots, other spots are fighting for lottery positions.
There are three major teams that need to begin tanking as soon as possible.
The first team lost their franchise superstar and needs to begin rebuilding.
The second team dealt with injuries and need to finally put an end to their rebuild.
The final team is one or two pieces away from being real playoff contenders.
#3: Houston Rockets
The first NBA team that needs to begin tanking is the Houston Rockets.
Just one year ago, the Rockets were the fourth seed in a highly competitive Western Conference.
However, after James Harden forced his way off of the roster, the team is in shambles.
They are left with a relatively unmovable contract in John Wall.
The Rockets technically do not own their first-round pick.
This is due to a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder that sent Chris Paul and two first-round picks and two first-round pick swaps.
Breaking: The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell @wojespn and @royceyoung. pic.twitter.com/D7EreMdncL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 12, 2019
Joe Mussatto from Oklahoman explains the situation between the teams saying, “The rebuilding Thunder will own a minimum of two first-round picks in the 2021 draft: the two best of its own, Miami’s and Houston’s thanks to a pick swap in the Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade”.
This means if the Rockets have a better record than the Miami Heat they will lose the rights to their pick.
Along with this, they need to get as high of a pick as they can.
If they land a top pick and get someone who is projected to be a star when they enter the league, they could once again become a playoff team in only one year of rebuilding.
Pairing a top prospect with John Wall and Christian Wood, the team would be able to slip into a playoff spot.
#2: Minnesota Timberwolves
The second NBA team that needs to begin to tank is the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves had the first pick in the 2020 NBA draft and they should strive to repeat the process in 2021.
Their roster still is not good enough to make the playoffs in the West.
It appears their rebuild will revolve around Anthony Edwards who has had a stellar rookie season.
No doubt on Karl-Anthony Towns’ mind that Anthony Edwards is the Rookie of the Year 💪 pic.twitter.com/LQAAVfhOwt
— Timberwolves Nation (@TWolvesNationCP) April 6, 2021
If the Timberwolves are able to snag a top pick in the draft they could hold onto Towns and Russell and would have one of the best young cores in the entire NBA.
They will have one of the top odds to land the number one pick, however, with Towns returning to the lineup, they could manage to win enough games to lose that spot.
However, if they land a top-three pick, they could be a team to look out for in the future.
#3: Cleveland Cavaliers
The final NBA team that should embrace the tank is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs have not really done much as a franchise since drafting LeBron James.
However, there may be a new era building in Cleveland.
The team has a very solid young core.
They are near the bottom of the league in terms of record, however, they had a great spark at the beginning of the season.
For a couple of weeks, they were holding onto the fourth seed in the East before running into a tough stretch in their schedule that they never bounced back from.
They are one or two moves away from ridding their books of bad salaries.
With a fresh start, if the Cavs land a top pick, they could be a playoff contender without James for the first time since the 90s.
If Cleveland can land the top pick their rebuild may be complete.
They have selected a guard with two of their three past lottery picks.
However, the top prospect in the draft is forward Cade Cunningham.
Cade Cunningham announced that he will enter the NBA draft after a dynamic freshman season.
Cunningham is ranked in ESPN's best available prospects and could possibly be drafted No. 1 overall. pic.twitter.com/9Yx6FK4I3v
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 1, 2021
Getting a forward with the potential of Cunningham could be a franchise-changing selection.