Introducing the tanking rankings
Welcome to a weekly tradition like no other: the 2018 Tanking Rankings! With the trade deadline fast apporaching, we're creeping up on that time of year when a handful of teams decide to pack it in and start assembling their big boards. The Knicks still sit in 10th place and are just three games out of the playoffs, however they've lost 10 of their last 13 games and an upcoming seven-game road trip coud make that mark even worse. Just ask the Knick teams from each of the last two seasons how a decent first half worked out for them. In preparation for a possible tank job, it's time to start keeping tabs on teams that will be competing with the Knicks for those tasty draft picks. Your first weekly installment of the Tanking Rankings:
1. Sacramento Kings
And the first team to officially throw their hat into the ring is...
Five straight losses for the Cauley-Stein-led Kings (yes, you read that right) makes the Kings the first team to declare for the race.
2. Orlando Magic
The Magic now own the worst record in the league and have one-upped the Kings with an impressive seven straight losses including one over the fellow bottom-dweller Mavericks. With Nikola Vucevic expected to miss at least another month, the Magic seem poised to remain locked in at the no. 30 spot.
3. Phoenix Suns
A quiet 0-2 week for the Suns that could get worse with an upcoming four-game road trip. The talent is there though, and the Booker-Warren-Jackson trio can keep them competitive on any given night.
4. Atlanta Hawks
A mildly impressive 2-2 week for the Hawks that included wins over the Nuggets (in Denver) and the Spurs catupulted the Hawks all the way up to 14th in the East.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Wins over the Magic and Hornets set the Mavs back a bit, but an overall shitty roster should be enough to keep this team in the top five. Dennis Smith Jr. has looked much more comfortable lately, and could be enough to turn a couple of wins into losses down the stretch.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
A team with too much talent and pride to fully commit to a tank, the Grizz have finally lifted themselves out of 15th in the West. With Mike Conley planning to return sometime this season and Marc Gasol still healthy, this team won't have the firepower (or lack therof) to compete with the true tankers.