Tanking growing in popularity among professional sport franchises


The Mirror reporter

In recent years professional sports franchises have started to embrace the idea of becoming really bad in the present so you can hopefully be good in the future. This idea of becoming really bad in order to become good is known as tanking.


Many people may wonder, “How can you possibly become really good by being really bad?” The idea behind tanking is that by being bad, your team will get a high draft pick in the next draft. By getting a higher pick, teams theoretically pick someone with more talent who has a higher possibility of developing into a superstar that can propel a team to a championship game.


The Milwaukee Bucks recently deployed this strategy and it appears to have worked; they have drafted what many consider a generational talent in Giannis Antetokounmpo aka “The Greek Freak.” Now that Giannis has started to develop into an unstoppable force, some have even dubbed him the heir apparent to “LeBron’s throne,” who is known as the best player in the National Basketball Association (NBA).


Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) junior Nick Silva said, “They [the Bucks] are doing it right, taking chances by drafting players considered as ‘high risk, high reward’ like Thon Maker, signing free agents such as Greg Monroe, and making trades for players like Eric Bledsoe who will help the team win now and in the future while giving up minimal returns for them.”

The Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball (MLB) are another tanking success story. They were able to trade many of their “good” players for undeveloped talent, while also being bad enough to get good draft picks.


Through this process, Milwaukee surprised many by coming out of their past season with a much better than expected record. According to MLB Pipeline, the Brewers now have the league’s number eight ranked farm system, which means they have more talent and a higher probability of becoming very good one day in the near future.


Other teams such as the Phoenix Suns have taken the same approach but had limited success. They drafted superstar Devin Booker but have remained in mediocracy because the players who surround him have become so used to the mindset of ‘Losing is fine’ and give Booker no supporting cast. Silva said, “A team cannot base its rebuild solely on draft picks. Teams need to try and sign free agents as well, and some franchises don’t have a market that free agents desire.”


The Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) recently lost star quarterback Aaron Rodgers presumably for the season. It has been speculated that the team will try to tank to secure a better draft pick. SPASH junior Owen Ahrens said, “The Packers don’t need to tank yet but I think they will start as soon as they are out of the playoff race by playing Hundley at quarterback while sitting many of their stars.”


Another NFL team, the Chicago Bears, have tanked for the previous three years. SPASH junior Dalton Mateer said, “The Bears franchise has endured tanking for the last few years, now, hopefully, the team is starting to see the light on the other side. They have started to win more games and are no longer one of the league’s worst teams.”


For many teams, the possibility of tanking is always a last resort option that comes into play when they were not able to get appropriate value for one of their star players. This is true whether the team made a bad trade such as with the Indiana Pacers and Paul George, or let their player walk in free agency such as with the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. The teams were left with no one to build around or trade away and were left without necessary assets for a rebuild.


“Teams should only tank if they are eliminated from playoff contention,” Silva said. “They can save their stars for next year and then get a better draft pick in the process, but if they tank too early, it could cause players to lose faith in the direction of the franchise.”