Skip to content

Bryan Colangelo admits to tanking when he was GM of the Raptors

Feb 28, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

Raptors general manager Colangelo takes questions during the team's media day before the upcoming NBA basketball season in Toronto Reuters

BOSTON — Former Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo appeared as part of the basketball analytics panel at the 2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, and as part of a discussion about revamping the draft lottery system, shared an story about how he tried to “tank” in one of his final seasons in Toronto, albeit unsuccessfully.

“I like it because there’s no assurances when you do tank,” Colangelo said, responding to a question about the implementation of a “wheel” system where future draft picks would be largely pre-determined, therefore eliminating any incentive for teams finishing at the bottom of the standings.

“Admittedly, I will say, I tried to tank a couple years ago,” Colangelo said. “And I didn’t ‘come out and say, ‘Coach, you’ve got to lose games.’ I never said that. I wanted to have him establish a winning tradition and a culture and all of that, but I wanted to do it in the framework of playing and developing young players, and with that comes losing. There’s just no way to avoid that, but I never once said, ‘You’ve got to lose this game.’ ”

Colangelo explained how tanking didn’t exactly work out in 2011-12, because had his team won just one additional game, they would have been in the running for Damian Lillard with the sixth pick instead of selecting eighth, where the team ultimately drafted Terrence Ross. Of course, had they lost even more, Colangelo pointed out, they would have had a better chance at landing Anthony Davis — meaning that trying to solidify one’s fate in this area can be more maddening than it is satisfying.

“There’s no assurances,” Colangelo said. “I do like the certainty of the (new, proposed) process. I think there are some merits to obviously take it to the next step, except I wish we could start it sooner because there really is some ugly basketball being played.”

We’ve always said that tanking is something that never happens on the level of players and coaches, but rather is executed at the front office level in terms of the roster that ends up being assembled and made available to the coaching staff. Colangelo admitted as much.

Latest Posts
  1. Andrea Bargnani says he would have played “for free” to prove himself with Nets

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:14 AM EDT

    Andrea Bargnani AP

    Somehow I bet he still cashes his paychecks rather than actually playing for free.

  2. Morris twins lawyers seek to send case back to grand jury

    Aug 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Phoenix Suns Media Day Getty Images

    The Morris twins have denied any involvement, or even knowing the victim.

  3. Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle says team will error on side of caution with Wesley Matthews return

    Aug 4, 2015, 1:05 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Thinking long-term is the smart approach, the only one the Mavericks should consider

  4. Kobe Bryant’s popularity in China knows no bounds

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwzjzdnimmu0mmfiyjq3nwrlytblymy1zja0mgnhnmiw AP

    Kobe Bryant is Beatles during the British Invasion level popular in China.

  5. Report: Nets doing Earl Clark a favor and waiving him

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks- Game One Getty Images

    Brooklyn could have easily kept Clark through training camp

  6. Jerry Colangelo: Paul George will attend USA Basketball minicamp meeting, won’t play

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:03 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Pacers star maintains status as lock for 2016 Olympic roster – if he wants to play

  7. Klay Thompson’s brother called up to the White Sox

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:16 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    Trayce Thompson gives Thompson family yet another professional athlete

  8. LeBron James to attend Team USA minicamp, leave early

    Aug 3, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    US forward LeBron James celebrates after Getty Images

    That’ll keep him a viable candidate for 2016 Olympic roster

  9. Report: Mavericks give Salah Mejri fully guaranteed salary

    Aug 3, 2015, 5:36 PM EDT

    BASKET-EURL-ANADOLU EFES-REAL MADRID Getty Images

    Dallas loading up on players. What will roster look like in November?

  10. Nancy Lieberman says DeMarcus Cousins happy Kings hired her

    Aug 3, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    Nancy Lieberman Nancy Lieberman

    Will new Sacramento assistant coach improve Cousins’ relationship with George Karl?

  11. Ray Allen: “I won’t officially retire”

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Ray Allen AP

    “I didn’t miss it. I realized how much time I missed not being home with my kids.” —Ray Allen on last season

  12. Report: Kings have no interest in Hedo Turkoglu

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    The Kings were never a likely landing spot.

  13. Report: 76ers to sign Jordan McRae a year after stashing him

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Utah Jazz Getty Images

    What will J.P. Tokoto, future Philadelphia second-rounders think of McRae’s contract?

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (1877)
  2. L. James (1571)
  3. J. Thompson (1538)
  4. T. Thompson (1370)
  5. S. Vujacic (1368)
  1. J. Smith (1367)
  2. M. Scott (1345)
  3. P. George (1305)
  4. S. Curry (1199)
  5. J. Noah (1168)