In the last installment of his podcast, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN spoke with Bobby Marks about how big refueling had been in the last few weeks of the regular season. According to Woj, an NBA owner actually went into his head coach after his team defeated a good team on the road towards the end of the year.
"There were teams that literally engaged players in the G-League and intentionally spawned guys they knew I could not play in the NBA because they were determined to lose games," Woj said. "I've never heard of front office managers – frustration with coaches who have won games they did not want to win, and owner, I know of a case in which an owner scolds, really scolding, his coach here in the last few weeks of the season, because he went in and hit a pretty good team on the street and said, "What are you doing?"
Of course the natural question is which owner / coach was that? How much tanking in the NBA, it's not hard to pin down because most of the tanker teams have stopped beating good teams as the season continued. I've gone through all the tank team schedules and all the street wins over the last month of the season Here are the top four teams it could be in the order of probability:
- The Hawks beat the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
- Coach Mike Budenholzer received permission to meet with the Phoenix Suns for their free head coaching position.
2. New York Knicks
- Beat the Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers
- Jeff Hornacek fired right after the victory of Cavs
3. Sacramento Kings
- Beat the Golden State Warriors.
- Vivek Ranadivé is a vocal player and has in the past forced his will on the team.
. 4 Memphis Grizzlies
- Beat the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- You've fired a popular coach in David Fizdale earlier this season, maybe JB Bickerstaff does not share the owner's vision.
It will be interesting to see how the NBA lottery rule changes affect the refueling next year, but I see no difference. After realizing Sam Hinkie's plan (#TrustTheProcess) this year with the Philadelphia 76ers, the teams know that they can only fight with the super teams to fuel and design their own star players. I'm sure more will come in the near future, but for now my money is on the hawks.