● By Kyle Boone
The San Antonio Spurs traded All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks for significant draft compensation last week, positioning (potentially) a consistent contender that has only three losing seasons this century (!) to tank into next year. So prepare yourself now when I offer this reading of the tea leaves: This might be the new norm for the next 11 months in the NBA. With so much star power at the top of the 2023 NBA Draft, teams typically in the playoff hunt -- like maybe the Spurs, Indiana Pacers and many others -- could easily fall back from their position to set themselves up in a spot to win the No. 1 pick. And that doesn't even account for teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets or Orlando Magic -- rebuilders -- desperate to grab franchise-changing talents and could also be in the mix for the No. 1 pick once again. So even with many months until the start of the 2022-23 season and nearly a year out from the 2023 NBA Draft, it already seems like the race to tank to the top (or bottom) of the draft standings could be a competitive one.

Top Players Not Included

These players appear in the top 30 of our

Consensus Big Board

, but do not show up in this mock.