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Down With the Ship

I was amused by reading Jeff Van Gundy’s recent proposal to allow all NBA teams into the draft lottery. Why? Because he thinks the current lottery rewards losing, and that teams may tank near the end of the year to have a better chance at a good pick.

And guess what team he played last night that prompted his remarks? Wait for it…

The Bucks!

Obviously, the Bucks' recent near-pornographic level of play set Van Gundy off. I was a little distraught when the Bucks fired Terry Stotts – I mean, what better way to end up with a good pick than to allow Stotts to continue to drive the team into the ground? After he was fired, the Bucks won two straight games, much to my chagrin.

Realizing that they were scuttling a chance to help the team long-term, they immediately kicked the season into “Titanic” mode. Bogut and Villanueva out for the season with mystery injuries. Mo Williams follows them to the DL with a “respiratory infection?” Jared Reiner getting big minutes last night, while Dan Gadzuric (making $6 million per year) doesn’t even get into the game? Damir Markota can play a little point guard, can’t he? Why risk Earl Boykins’ health?

Are the Bucks justified in tanking the season? Of course they are. Sure, they may be defrauding ticket holders of their money for the rest of the year, but isn’t it worth it if it makes them better in the long run? Bill Simmons at ESPN.com has a couple columns discussing this phenomenon with regard to his beloved Celtics – whether it’s ever appropriate to root against your favorite team. And in this case, I agree with him that it certainly is.

And it’s not like every other bottom-feeder isn’t doing the same thing. Ray Allen just disclosed that he’s been playing hurt all year and he’s shutting it down. Before you know it, Michael Redd is going to go on the DL to try to cure his baldness. Pau Gasol is going to sit out due to a sprained beard.

If the Bucks lose every game for the rest of the year and that nets them Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Brandan Wright, or Jeff Green, that would be just fine with me (Joakim Noah is a fraud).