While most of the focus throughout the NBA on Wednesday night was on winning, Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy addressed a different topic — tanking.
Van Gundy, whose Pistons wrapped up a 39-43 season with a 119-87 win over the Bulls, criticized teams for losing on purpose, saying before tipoff that “something needs to change” throughout the league.
“Even in Philly’s years, I don’t think the players and coaches (were) out there tanking,” Van Gundy told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s who they decide to put on the court and build (the) roster. But when you have a third of the league trying to lose games, I don’t think that’s good for our product at all. To me, it’s a lack of integrity in your league and lack of respect for your fans. That’s just me, and I think I go against the norm.
“Philadelphia is good and everyone is praising the process, how great it was, but the process is based on being as bad as you can be, historically bad for as long as you can…. If that’s the process and the accepted way to build a team in the NBA, then something needs to change.”
The NBA has adopted anti-tanking reform, announcing last September that the new rules, to be implemented for the 2019 draft, include, in part, that the three teams with the worst records sharing a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, a change from the descending percentages of 25, 19.9, and 15.6 in the current system.
Van Gundy, who is also Detroit’s president of basketball operations, says he hopes such legislation makes a thorough impact.
“We have to find a way (to make sure) there is absolutely zero incentive to lose,” the coach said. “I don’t know the best way to do that. But as long as there is incentive, some people will choose to go that route.”