After a day of pondering the "tank game," here's the only thing I can think of to make sense of things:Â Doc has so many conflicting interests that he's just going by gut at this point.Â I'm pretty sure that even he doesn't know what he's going to do from one minute to the next.Â Consider the following:
- He needs to save face now that he has a healthy Paul Pierce and productive Al Jefferson.Â For the first time since the beginning of the year (which didn't go so well by the way), he has a full deck to play with (or at least as full as he's going to get).Â Just like the players are being evaluated, he's being evaluated too.Â So he needs to win.
- He knows that the playoffs are not a goal anymore and he sees the same thing we all do about Durant and Oden.Â So if he wants a superstar in next year's draft, he needs to lose.
- He can't flat out play to lose, because the league wouldn't like that, karma wouldn't like that, Pierce wouldn't like that, Wyc wouldn't like that, and a good amount of paying customers wouldn't like that.Â So he makes the famous statement to the players "[expletive] the pick."Â He's selling the players a bill of goods that says we are in this for pride.Â So he needs to win.
- If he plays every game to win, he's going to have to put a heavy load on Paul Pierce's shoulders.Â Pierce missed a lot of time, so he's not exactly in mid-season condition to begin with.Â Now it sounds like his elbow is acting up again (when do we start worrying about this as a long term issue?), he's got various other injuries, and the other night his face got busted up.Â So if Doc doesn't want to kill Pierce, he has to lose.
- If the league is starting to fine GMs for sitting near players families, then there's no guarantee they won't start coming after teams for openly tanking the season.Â Pierce made comments that sounded like he might want to sit out even if he technically could keep going if the games meant something.Â In order to save face, Doc needed to make sure the league knew that Pierce would be playing if he's able to play.Â So as far as the league knows, they areÂ playingÂ to win.
- The team is running out of time in the season to evaluate the young players.Â This is the most important offseason the team has had in 10 years (maybe more).Â It is absolutely critical to get as much self-evaluation done as possible.Â Young players don't win games, so they have to lose.
And on and on it goes.Â I'm sure there are even more conflicting interests I haven't even thought of yet.Â The team is between a rock and a hard place, so they can't pick a direction and stick with it.Â Ironically the team is going to stumble and lose more games that it will win just because it has no clear direction.