The term “tanking” is relatively unpopular in the NBA because it means the team will pretty much aim to have one of the worst records at the end of the season in order to get the top draft pick in the summer.
The most recent team that was well known because of tanking and how they called it “The Process” is the Philadelphia Sixers who were having a couple of bad seasons which enabled them with a bit of luck to get really good young talent relatively fast.
However, a lot of teams rest their best players with the purpose of losing games for various reasons and the league has been fighting against it for quite some time until they introduced the so called anti-tanking reform. An important piece of that reform is something that was brought into public’s attention during the Anthony Davis drama.
Since they weren’t able to trade Davis, The New Orleans Pelicans were actually thinking about not playing him for the rest of the season and the NBA had to step in and react. The penalty for teams who don’t play their high-profile players is at least $100,000, and the league is especially strict if these players are rested during the national TV games.
Adam Silver hopes the teams will have a larger obligation to the fans after they introduced these rules.
It ultimately is my hope that the rules go in the drawer and that teams step up here and see that there is a larger obligation to our fans, to the basketball community. The owners all understood when we were discussing them that sort of the devil is in the details here in terms of how it is we will enforce them, and we’re going to do our best. But my hunch is that once we see them in operation, we’ll be back having additional discussions as to just the right way to calibrate it. But at the end of the day, it comes down to our teams. It comes down to a sense of obligation our teams have toward the league that they’re a part of.
One of the things that the league is also monitoring is unusual circumstances under which one or several players are not playing in either a home or a road game. The other one is closely related to players being visible to the fans even though they are not playing in the game because of rest.