Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t think tanking is going away anytime soon
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DETROIT — Stan Van Gundy isn’t one to choose his words carefully all the time, but even the Pistons coach was selective in discussing the tanking issue Friday.
Well, as selective as Van Gundy could be.
Van Gundy hinted that he didn’t think it was fair that the Bulls were the team singled out recently on the competitive-balance front. The NBA and the Bulls’ front office had open discussions earlier this week about Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday being inactive since All-Star Weekend.
“The thing is to me, the big teams have tried to build their organization that way, and now you’re going to step in and tell other teams they can’t and you’re going to kick certain guys?’’ Van Gundy said. “I admire what [commissioner] Adam [Silver] is trying to do, but I just don’t think he’s going to be able to control [tanking].
“It’s something that has to be controlled through the rules. There have been proposals out there that would eliminate all incentive to lose games, but so far the league hasn’t wanted to go that way.’’
Since the discussion with the league office, the Bulls started Holiday over David Nwaba on Wednesday against the Grizzlies, then started Holiday and Lopez against the Pistons.
If they were really in full tank mode, they would seemingly be limiting the playing time of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, but that hasn’t been the case. Considering what other teams in the bottom of the standings have been doing, the Bulls have actually taken a winning approach.
The NBA Draft format changes in the 2018-19 season, with the bottom three teams all having the same percentage to win the top pick, but Van Gundy said that won’t change much.
“The system was set up to help the teams that were at the bottom,’’ Van Gundy said. “I don’t think that at the time that this was set up that people anticipated that people would want to be bad. So things have sort of reversed a little bit. And the Philly situation has brought it to light. It’s worked, well, if you’re willing to lose to that level, but it’s worked so now other teams are adopting it.’’
NOTES: Antonio Blakeney was called up from the G-League Windy City Bulls.
• Coach Fred Hoiberg would not commit to starting Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday on Sunday in Atlanta, insisting it was a “game-by-game’’ situation.
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