Three of the most sought-after NBA draft picks in the 2014 class were on display last night, playing in front of a national TV audience as NBA GMs salivated. According to Coach K, no team would ever dream of tanking for the chance to nab Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle next summer. No, sir: “If that is happening, shame on whoever is doing it,’ Coach K said in response to a question following No. 5 Kansas’ 94-83 victory over No. 4 Duke in the Champions Classic. Then he jokingly asked a reporter, ‘Are you doing it?’ At least one NBA GM told ESPN.com that he was effectively tanking. ‘Our team isn’t good enough to win and we know it … Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing,’ he said. And an NBA executive told SNY.tv he believes as many as six NBA teams are doing something similar because they have ‘unqualified GMs’ who are using this loaded draft as an excuse. ‘They are [tanking] but they shouldn’t,’ that NBA executive added at the Champions Classic. ‘They are tanking to save their jobs from their own inadequacies not because Julius Randle can score around the basket and [Andrew] Wiggins can catch lobs.’ For a guy like Coach K, it’s just hard to ‘fathom’ that any NBA team would do such a thing. ‘As an American I wouldn’t like to think that an American team would [ever] want to lose or create situations where you would want to lose,’ he said. ‘I can’t even fathom. I can’t go there. I can’t believe that that would happen. Maybe I’m naive and I’m going to go ready a fairytale after this.’ […] No matter how you rank them, one thing is clear: All three are special talents who might be worth tanking for. Or at least, if you end up with a top 3 or 4 pick, you certainly have a lot to look forward to. ‘I don’t think anybody’s tanking,’ Kansas coach Bill Self said. ‘I know that guys that like to play, compete and I guess you can make sure that you don’t play certain guys, which I don’t think has happened. But I think that those three all have a chance to be special.'”
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