4 ways the NBA can help avoid another Utah Jazz intentional tank job

The NBA can't keep letting fanbases like the Utah Jazz get abused by execs who have a one-track mind.
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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There is more than one way to build a winning team in the NBA. Don't tell that to the GMs of the league, however, as with all sports, this is very much a copy-cat league. Despite the fact that most No. 1 overall picks don't lead teams to the NBA Championship, we keep this narrative alive that you have to land a Top-4 pick to win an NBA Championship. You have to get a high lottery pick to build a winner.

But do you really? Of the last five NBA Champions, four of them acquired their stars outside of the top 10 in the Draft. The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo 15th overall, the Denver Nuggets lucked in Nikola Jokic in the second round, the Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James and traded for Anthony Davis.

Yes, the Golden State Warriors drafted Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as lottery picks, but they are the exception, not the rule. More importantly, they got lucky with the likes of Draymond Green in the second round, signed Kevin Durant, and traded for Andrew Wiggins. So even they still didn't rely on the draft to win three of their four titles. The Cleveland Cavaliers of the same era were just like the Warriors, as they signed James and traded for Kevin Love to build their title contender.

The Lakers of the late 2000s had Kobe Bryant, sure, but traded for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol, while the Boston Celtics of the same era traded everything they had for Kevin Durant and Ray Allen. Yet, the only thing in the world that made Danny Ainge relevant as an executive seems to be the one thing he won't do for the Utah Jazz; trade for good players.

Going back 30 years, you can see, save for the first Warriors title and the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, that the best teams in the NBA don't rely on tanking. They rely on acquiring talent in any way they can. They don't put as much stock in trying to hit the once-in-a-generation prospect as many other teams have done, because it doesn't work. Hello, Zion Williamson.

The odds of landing a James is rare and unlikely, yet so many GMs build their reputation and playoff plan around the concept.

It takes more than winning the lottery to build a winner, and it's time the NBA stepped in and forced NBA executives to get creative and start building teams that can win without having to rely on the lottery and since they won't do it themselves, we came up with four ways that the NBA can eliminate tanking from the NBA.