Tank Talk – March 3rd

Yesterday, I told you I was rooting for the Rockets. Today, I tell you I’m glad the Knicks won.

Don’t get me wrong, the Knicks are still in an extremely precarious spot. Tanking may not matter as much but it still matters. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it a million times between now and May: the reason the Knicks would benefit from losing is because it reduces the risk of falling as opposed to drastically increasing the odds of moving up. 

Last night felt different due to the team playing the youth, and in clutch situations, no less. This wasn’t four players with no future in New York and RJ Barrett on the floor when things matter. We saw Barrett be lethal in the first quarter and then be a bully late in the game, Mitchell Robinson generate instant offense to start the game en route to a double-double and playing key defense in the last minute or so of play, and Frank Ntilikina being a defensive pest (all ball on that Russell Westbrook foul by the way) and scoring double digits for the second time in three games played. All three players logged 30, 24, and 29 minutes, respectively.

How can you be mad that those three were on the court when the game mattered most and it led to a win? Even with Wayne Ellington and Bobby Portis scoring in bunches, their play (well, Ellington’s for the most part) made the players around them better. Remember, this team was never going 0-22. Maybe now they can go 22-0 instead.

Last night was fun. Maybe this game screws the Knicks over in the lottery but we can’t really point to one game and say “That’s the reason the Knicks got screwed.” For all we know, Tim Hardaway Jr. misses against the Magic, the Knicks finish with the worst record, wind up picking third, and draft Jahlil Okafor. There’s enough time anyway for the Knicks to ensure they fall no further than seventh or eighth.

Recapping Last Night

Knicks won ❌

Cavs lost ❌

Hawks lost ❌

Heat won ✅

Bulls won ✅

All in all, a very meh night for the tank. I’d give it a 4/10.

Tank Standings

Sim of the Day

Average pick: 4

Average jump/fall: 0.5

Oh look, the Pistons are right behind the Knicks and get the first pick while the Knicks drop two spots. Yay.

Games Tonight

Spurs vs. Hornets

Spurs lost to the Pacers last night and the Hornets had a day off.

Who we want to win: Hornets

This is a fun one because I go back and forth on the Hornets constantly. On one hand, each Hornets win helps the Knicks avoid falling too far in the pre-seeded lottery. On the other hand, each Hornets win hurts Charlotte’s second round pick, which is owned by the Knicks.

The smart play here is to root for the Hornets to win. The dropoff in talent after five compared to after nine, for example, is historically quite big. Compare that to the dropoff between the 35th pick and the 39th pick, and, well, there’s really no reason to compare it.

If the Hornets win, that’s ok. If the Hornets lose, that’s ok. Unless the Knicks go on an epic losing streak or have solidified their place in the pre-lottery standings, I’m going to generally be ambivalent about Hornets games.

Timberwolves vs. Pelicans

The Wolves are bad and without Karl-Anthony Towns (so maybe they’ll actually be okay, at least defensively?). The Pelicans are good and have Zion Williamson.

Who we want to win: Timberwolves

This is pretty evident. Don’t think I need to elaborate on games like this one moving forward tbqh.

Clippers vs. Thunder

Clippers came back to beat the Sixers this past Sunday, which was annoying. The Thunder lost to the Bucks by a cool 47.

Who we want to win: Thunder

#NeverClippers (unless they’re playing more important teams in regards to the tank).

Warriors vs. Nuggets

Both teams are 1-1 in their last two. The chaos!

Who we want to win: Warriors

This is basically the same as the Timberwolves, except I care more about the Wolves winning because the Knicks can actually catch them in the standings.

Raptors vs. Suns

The Raptors are on a three-game skid. Meanwhile, the Suns are… also on a three-game skid. Something something two objects in motion hurtling towards each other.

Who we want to win: Raptors

Toronto is only a game ahead of the Clippers in the standings. Need the Raptors to beat the Valley Boyz.

Sixers vs. Lakers

The Sixers are half deceased and the Lakers just won a fantastic game in Nawlins.

Who we want to win: Sixers, I guess

They’re unlikely to catch the Clippers (4.5 games out) and their two best players are injured. This really doesn’t matter much. I’ll probably stop including games featuring teams playing each other who are both too high and/or too low regarding the Clippers pick.

Wizards vs. Kings

Both these teams are mediocre but the Kings have won five of their last six. It’s late. I’m tired. You don’t really care about this game. If you say you do, you’re just lying to me and to yourself.

Who we want to win: Wizards

Washington is 1.5 games ahead of the Hornets for 10th place in the tank standings. Need to ensure that the Hornets pick doesn’t lose value.

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