Built to Lose: How the NBA's Tanking Era Changed the League Forever (Paperback)

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Built to Lose: How the NBA's Tanking Era Changed the League Forever (Paperback)

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“From front offices to college campuses, Jake Fischer takes you on an engrossing tour of the NBA in its latest golden age, when some of the most captivating teams won by losing.” —Lee Jenkins, former Sports Illustrated NBA writer 

An insider account of modern NBA team-building, based on hundreds of exclusive interviews. 

A single transcendent talent can change the fortunes of an NBA franchise. One only has to recall the frenzy surrounding recent top pick Zion Williamson to recognize teams’ willingness to lose games now for the sake of winning championships later. It’s a story that weaves its way behind closed doors to reveal intricate machinations normally hidden from public view.  

Backed by extensive reporting and hundreds of interviews with top players, coaches, and executives, Jake Fischer chronicles secret pre-draft workouts, feuding between player agents and executives, surprising trade negotiations, interpersonal conflicts, organizational power struggles, and infamous public relations fiascos, making for a fascinating look at the NBA. 

Updated to include new material, this is the definitive account of the NBA’s tanking era, when teams raced to the bottom in the hope of eventually winning a championship. 

Jake Fischer is a basketball journalist who has written for Sports Illustrated, SB Nation, SLAM, and more. This is his first book.
“A fascinating, fly-on-the-wall examination of the risks and rewards that come with tanking in the modern NBA. You’ll view the notion of tanking in a much different light after reading this.” —Chris Herring, senior NBA writer for ESPN/FiveThirtyEight 

“From front offices to college campuses, Jake Fischer takes you on an engrossing tour of the NBA in its latest golden age, when some of the most captivating teams won by losing. A deep dive into taking —er, team-building —with reverberations still felt today.” —Lee Jenkins, former Sports Illustrated NBA writer 

“Jake Fischer is one of the smartest NBA reporters working today. Built to Lose will impress anyone who loves basketball and appreciates dogged reporting.”—Mirin Fader, staff writer at The Ringer 

“Jake weaves a meticulous account of the NBA’s inner workings—and an era that massively shaped the league as it is today—in a way draftheads and casual fans alike will appreciate.” —Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated staff writer and NBA draft insider 

“From high-level conversations about team-building to the petty dramas that fester behind the scenes, I was captivated through the final chapter. Jake’s reporting helped me see the NBA through a new lens, and I’m a smarter fan because of it.” —Emily Kaplan, ESPN reporter