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How to Cure Tanking

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Published on Apr 8, 2012

How to Cure Tanking
Adam M. Gold
Win@WinningUnlimited.com

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2012
Evolution of Sports
http://www.sloansportsconference.com/...

Encouraged by fans' desire to cheer passionately for their favorite teams every game of the season, I respectfully propose that draft order should be determined by performance after mathematical elimination. Analysis of historical data suggests optimistic statistical methods based on functions of winning can end tanking in sports. I hypothesize that when the incentive for teams to intentionally handicap themselves is removed, the expected elimination draft order is highly correlated with the expected reverse standings. The risk of allowing a poorly performing team to lose the top draft pick is outweighed by the benefit of eliciting intense competition, inspiring fans' interest, and preserving sports' integrity. If a championship can be awarded based on the result of a subset of games that have injuries, variability, and inequities, then draft order can be determined with comparable dynamic mechanics. This method of holding professional franchises accountable justifiably quantifies a minimum level of success that teams must possess. The number of games awarded to earn the first pick is dependent on parity and competitive balance. With warm personal regards and best wishes for a successful conference, I am proud to submit enriching research that has the potential to initiate an era where teams make the pursuit of winning unlimited.

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