Every NBA season, it’s easy to distinguish which teams have no desire to win from the very start. Sometimes it’s due to injuries and sometimes it’s just because of a downright lack of talent. Whatever the case may be, there will always be squads who play solely to get a top pick. The 2021 Draft class is stacked, so that should especially be true this season. Youngsters like Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley, and Jalen Green will be up for grabs next June. So, these are the three teams that should tank so they can draft one of those studs.
1. New York Knicks
The Knicks have some young pieces, but not nearly enough to contend. Former #3 overall pick RJ Barrett will lead the team alongside this year’s #8 overall pick Obi Toppin. Outside of those two, the Knicks don’t have any long-term starters. Point guard is their biggest need, so tanking for Cade Cunningham makes a lot of sense.
2. Detroit Pistons
The Knicks suck, but the Pistons really suck. They have former all-star Blake Griffin, but he’s their only good player. They drafted point guard Killian Hayes, but he’s young and will need a lot of time to develop. The same goes for their other two first-rounders, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. Detroit should trade Griffin and hoard future picks, just like the next team on this list has done.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
After an unexpected run to the playoffs last season, the Thunder sold many of the players that took them on that run for picks. Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schröder, and Steven Adams were all traded for future draft assets. They still have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Al Horford, but getting a top pick this season would set their rebuild off on the right foot.