Latest posts by Hunter Robinson (see all)
- Robinson: So this is the wild West we’ve heard so much about - December 12, 2018
- Robinson: Who may be next in coaching unemployment line? - December 5, 2018
- Sitting at 10-10, Kings in prime position to go on run - November 26, 2018
When the calendar hits mid-December, that is when people feel they can start issuing judgement on the landscape of the NBA. Most pundits say this is the time where each team has played enough games to figure out which ones are fighting for a playoff spot and which ones are fighting for the best odds for the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
One observation that has been crammed down the throats of NBA fans for years is that there is a great unbalance in the NBA with the Western Conference the superior conference without a margin of a doubt. While that has been true, in large part thanks to the Golden State Warriors, there was always a separation in the Western Conference between the teams at the top and the teams at the bottom. There wasn’t much depth to the Western Conference, there were just better teams at the top compared to the Eastern Conference.
With LeBron James taking his talents to Los Angeles over the summer and the blockbuster trade of Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozen, the Western Conference can now truly say that it is the superior conference. Not only at the top, but all the way down to the bottom.
In the Eastern Conference, four teams have yet to reach 10 wins on the season. That isn’t out of the ordinary, there are normally a handful of teams that will end the season with somewhere between 20 and 30 wins. The extraordinary part is that in the Western Conference, only one team hasn’t reached the double-digit mark in wins.
The second worst team in the Western Conference at the moment, based off of record, is the Houston Rockets. The Rockets currently hold a 12-14 record as the second worst team in the Western Conference. Two games under .500 gets a team the No. 14 seed in the Western Conference. By comparison, that would be good enough for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Eastern Conference has three strong teams at the top in the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. All three of those teams have records that would put them in-line with the top of the Western Conference. Outside of those three teams, there is a large gap in talent with the Boston Celtics, potentially, being the fourth team with superior talent in the Eastern Conference.
Fourteen out of the possible 15 teams in the Western Conference could make the playoffs if they were in the Eastern Conference. The unbalanced conferences have never been on better display than this season. There will be teams in the Western Conference that will get left out of the playoffs despite housing better records than Eastern Conference playoff teams.
This may be the season that we finally see the league acknowledge that the playoff format needs to be re-worked with the 16 best overall teams making the playoffs.
With a majority of superstars calling their home the Western Conference for the foreseeable future, something has got to give.