Although no teams openly admit to "tanking," the art of losing games en masse to position oneself for better draft picks, it's pretty clear that a handful of NBA teams this year deliberately made themselves worse in the short term for the hope of a better future.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the most obvious candidate, trading away a young All-Star in Jrue Holiday and not even bothering to hire a coach yet. Alongside them are, without a doubt, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic, none of whom made any effort to sign free agents this offseason to improve short-term. We'll throw in the Charlotte Bobcats because they're still not going to be very good, and include the Sacramento Kings for the same reason.
These teams play plenty of times early in the season, but, even though they count the same, they won't feel the same as the later games when teams are jockeying for the best odds at drafting Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas freshman who some say is the best NBA prospect since LeBron James. Here are some of the games to watch.
Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 8
Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz, 9 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 22
Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats, 7 p.m. ET, Friday, April 4
Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Bobcats, 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 12
Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday April 16