Chinese Basketball Association’s extreme punishment for tanking is what the NBA needs

Chinese Basketball Association’s extreme punishment for tanking is what the NBA needs

If the NBA wants to look into discouraging teams from strategic tanking, they should borrow from the Chinese Basketball Association’s playbook. In the basketball exchange program, the rest of the world learned the game from watching the NBA, American hoopers integrated the Euro step into their skill development, and the NBA took the mid-season tournament from the EuroLeague and soccer. Meanwhile, the CBA imports American hoopers and even picks up some of the NBA’s worst habits. On Monday, the CBA announced the expulsion of the Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons from the postseason for their attempts to tank multiple games in the postseason.

The incident, which the CBA has characterized as a match-fixing scandal, originated with the Sharks “giving up” in the second half of Game 2, in a brazen attempt to mitigate the four-game suspension handed down to former NBA point guard Eric Bledsoe (pictured above). The idea was that by extending the series to a third game, Bledsoe would only miss the first match of the quarterfinal series against the Shenzhen Leopards. It was a risky maneuver considering a loss in Game 3 would end their season anyways and render their machinations moot. To make matters worse, they were too obvious.

In the final two minutes of Game 3, that’s what nearly occurred when the Dragons took a 100-96 lead until they spontaneously combusted and committed five consecutive turnovers that sparked a 10-0 run by the Sharks. On Saturday, the CBA announced it would investigate and by Monday, the punishment was doled out.

In addition to postseason banishment, both teams were fined 5 million yuan, the head coaches were banned from applying their craft in the CBA for three years (Li Nan) and five years (Li Chunjiang), both general managers were banned for several years, and both team logs for the entire season were scrubbed from the official record. The only people to emerge unscathed from the CBA’s iron fist were the mascots and the training staff.

Tanking isn’t anything new in the NBA

Tanking has a long and illustrious history in the NBA. It’s a polarizing trend that is discussed surreptitiously in basketball C-Suites and discouraged by the commissioner’s suite, but never has it been executed to the extent that the Sharks and Dragons did. However, the way the league is trending, it’s only a matter of time before we reach that juncture. Oriental Sports Daily writer Xue Sijia, who is based in Shanghai, also referenced Dallas’ forfeiture against “contention for the play-offs to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft” as a justification.

Adam Silver may put on a stern, disappointed disciplinarian tone in public when he addresses the league’s 30 teams, but when it comes time to dispense punishment, he’s a Disneyland dad who lets them get away with repeated violations.

Just recently, the NBA fined Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks $750,000 for conduct detrimental to the league for benching their star players for their season finale (although you could argue playing them in tandem was an equally effective tanking method) in a bid to secure their top-10 protected pick in 2023. Last November, Silver told teams he was “putting them on notice.”

They had so little fear of him dropping the hammer that when confronted with a blatant tanking tactic, Silver issued a judgment on Dallas so tepid that Cuban felt empowered to make a mockery of the NBA by matching their fine with a donation of his own to charity. Can you imagine the message it would send if the NBA suspended Jason Kidd and general manager Nico Harrison for a significant period of time for their disregard for the competitive spirit of The Association?

I feel Marvin Berry calling Chuck Berry with that new sound he’s looking for. Severe punishment is the tanking solution the NBA has been searching for. Unfortunately, we won’t see it happen because that would likely mark the beginning of the end of Adam Silver’s employment. The NBA’s Board of Governors has all the power in the NBA. Silver didn’t even have the authority to directly remove Robert Sarver. The CBA is governed by a state agency and spearheaded by elected chairman Yao Ming. And you can already imagine the tirades that would billow from the mouth of Enes Kanter and his ilk if the NBA borrowed stricter penalties from “Communist China.” 

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.