really? i feel like theres way more incentive for an NBA team to tank
This is sort of "all your bases are belong to us." Tanking is all about being as bad as possible. Roughly, I suppose, a Crosby type player comes along just as often as a Lebron type. So the incentive in both leagues probably works out the same. Once you get past being around the fifth worst team overall, you just had a bad year, and weren't intentionally trying to do anything.
In the NHL, it's not uncommon that the most of the best players drafted in a particular year can be in the bottom half of the first round or later. In the history of the NBA since there were more than ten teams, you can maybe count the number of all-stars on one hand that were drafted in the second round.