Sometimes becoming NBA champions is a long game.
And by that, we mean a very, very, very long game.
Rebuilding a team takes time and can be very frustrating, for both players and fans.
The hope, though, is that in the end it is totally worth it and the multiple seasons of missed playoffs and blowout losses result in a team that can actually make – and win- the NBA Finals.
The current Philadelphia 76ers team is a great example of a team that took ages to rebuild but ultimately delivered on its promise.
The team was truly horrible for many years but because of that horribleness, it acquired many high draft picks and formulated a strong, competitive roster.
Tanking is the act of losing in the short term in order to get higher draft picks that will lead to success in the long run.
Now that we are several months into the current NBA season, it’s time to examine which of the worst NBA teams are officially tanking.
3. Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have some promising players – Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Terrence Ross, and Jalen Suggs to name a few – but they also have the worst record in the NBA currently: they are 15th in the Eastern Conference with an abysmal record of 8-38.
They have multiple long stretches of back-to-back-to-back losses: the worst being 10 in a row starting at the end of December.
This season for the Magic is a total loss, they know they aren’t coming back from the dreadful hole they’ve been in.
They also know that the worse they do, the better their chances of landing some sizable draft picks in a few months.
The Magic have been pretty bad for years now – it’s been years since they were in favorites to make it out of the first round of the playoffs – but they haven’t been this bad in ages.
Let’s hope it pays off for them.
2. Detroit Pistons
Sitting at the 14th seed in the East, the 11-33 Detroit Pistons are hoping the draft is good to them.
It was last year, when they landed number one pick Cade Cunningham.
Cunningham took a moment or two to get going but he’s now proving to be a great pick and will be a very important part of the Pistons’ future.
Cade Cunningham (525 pts, 187 rebs, 179 asts, 73 3FGM) is 1 of 4 NBA players ever with at least 500 pts, 150 rebs, 150 asts, 50 3FGM in 34 career games. He joins former ROY winners Allen Iverson, Luka Doncic & LaMelo Ball as the only players to do so. #Pistons
— Pistons PR (@Pistons_PR) January 19, 2022
If they landed another high draft pick and possibly an All-Star, they could really be in contention.
It’s no surprise that the team is actively shopping Jerami Grant around the league – they want to trade him for a big NBA name and then match that player with Cunningham and another big draft selection.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are confusing.
On one hand, it looks like they are tanking (14-30 and the 14th team in the West) and have played some sloppy basketball, including a record 152-79 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in December.
The Grizzlies just beat the Thunder by 73!!! No, that isn’t a typo
> largest margin of victory in NBA history
> most points scored ever for the Grizzlies
> worst loss in Thunder history pic.twitter.com/wwZcS46816
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 3, 2021
Then again, they have also beaten some of the biggest names in the game including the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, and the aforementioned Grizzlies.
So, yes, they are losing a lot and are probably headed to high draft picks.
But they are also still playing with some heart and proving that they could be a really impressive team…in just a few years.