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Does Tanking Work? Geek Says No

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Mar 26, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA;  New Jersey Nets small forward Gerald Wallace (45) and head coach Avery Johnson talk during a timeout against the Utah Jazz at the Prudential Center. The Jazz won 105-84. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 26, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets small forward Gerald Wallace (45) and head coach Avery Johnson talk during a timeout against the Utah Jazz at the Prudential Center. The Jazz won 105-84. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The Nets have the fourth worst record in the NBA as of Tuesday morning, having found only 10 healthy players to put on the court Monday night. Talk of tanking is in the air, but Dave Berri of Wages of Wins, a leading hoops stats geek, argues that tanking to get a top pick is by no means the road to success in the NBA.

Ironically, Berri accuses the Trail Blazers of tanking, by trading Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby for picks. He notes that how in his statistical measure, they were a big part of Portland's success this year, accounting for 10 of their wins. Berri is particularly a big fan of Wallace, who he ranked as the NBA's 23rd best player last year

Going from zero to 60 fueled by a stop draft pick rarely happens, Berri concludes. Instead, he argues that incremental improvement holds the most promise. He writes, "if you are close – like the Blazers were – your best bet is to find one or two more players that will get you into the promised land," not trade productive players for picks.