Is the Jazz Games Tanking Ethical?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Is tanking an ethical strategy for the Utah Jazz? In the latest episode of the Jazz Notes podcast, host Ben Anderson of KSL Sports and guest Sarah Todd from the Deseret News discuss the performance against the Dallas Mavericks and whether losing games on purpose is a respectable strategy.
The duo also discussed the Jazz play within the Orlando bubble, and the potential first-round series with the Denver Nuggets. You can list to the entire podcast here.
Is the Jazz Tanking Ethical?
The Jazz held a 21 point lead over the Mavericks in the second half of Monday’s game before pulling the plug, and opting to sit their rotation players. Had coach Quin Snyder played any of the team’s starters, or even Jordan Clarkson or Georges Niang in the fourth quarter, the Jazz would have likely escaped with a win.
Instead, the Jazz surrendered the game, but in the process, likely protected themselves against a first-round playoff series with the Houston Rockets. So the question was posed, is tanking ethical?
“I think that what the Jazz doing is really the smartest plan for them,” Todd said. “It’s not just about avoiding the Rockets because it’s a tough matchup because these are all going to be tough [playoff] matchups. It’s avoiding the Rockets because we’ve seen it play out already for however many seasons continuously.”
The Jazz have been eliminated in back to back postseason by the Rockets. Each series lasted just five games. Anderson added that while losing games on purpose might not provide the best optics for the NBA, the Jaz top priority is winning in the playoffs, not the regular season.
“I think that if this is going to give [the Jazz] a better opportunity to win in the playoffs, it’s better to do this in the regular season and set yourself up to have success in the playoffs,” Anderson said.
Potential First Round Matchup With Denver
The Jazz tanking games will likely lead to a first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets. The season series belongs to the Nuggets, who swept the Jazz 3-0, including a thrilling double-overtime victory on Saturday.
Anderson said he hopes the Jazz regular season strategy leads to a more competitive first-round series between the teams.
“I hope both teams react and say, this is what we both wanted,” Anderson said. “Or, Denver feels slighted that the Jazz wanted to play them, and it increases the quality of play. I do think that would be an absolutely fantastic series.”
Todd also would like to see the Jazz face the Nuggets and believes the series could come down to a battle between Jazz coach Quin Snyder, and Nuggets coach Mike Malone.
“I love when you get to play series like that against a team that you match up really well against,” Todd said. “Then you get to see really what the coaches are made of, and the adjustments that they make game to game. And that’s always a really interesting chess match.”
The Jazz will face the San Antonio Spurs in their final seeding game on Thursday at 4:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT and locally on AT&T SportsNet.
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