Mark Cuban was fined $600k last week for violating the first rule of tanking in the NBA (don’t talk about tanking in the NBA), and on today’s Outside the Lines Brian Windhorst explained how league executives suspect they are executing the means to that end:
“There are entire analytics departments that are established out there to find the best five players you can get out on the court in any situation,” Windhorst said. “And the coaches are given reams of data about this to help them prepare. And what NBA executives have detailed to me is that there is some inverse analytics going on where coaches are potentially being given data on what lineups to play that may not be successful.”
Windhorst continued: “And we’re certainly seeing that with the Dallas Mavericks. It’s being hidden under the guise of ‘player development,’ which is another way of saying we’re gonna put our young, less good players out there as opposed to our better older players, and that is more active tanking than we’ve seen before.”
While Windhorst used hedged language that this is happening generally, he said it’s “certainly” happening with the Mavericks. It goes without saying that, in addition to being quite funny, the NBA needs to figure out mechanisms to at least slow down the astounding rate of tanking going forward.