The Shambles of the Eastern Conference
Nearly midway through the 2014-2015 NBA season and the Western Conference has dominated the standings. And while it is not surprising to have a below .500 team in the seventh and eighth seed — the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat are all under .500 at six, seven and eight in the East — the Western has no obvious weak links: their final seed is the Phoenix Suns, who has maintained a .579 winning perfecting. Even the phenomenal LA Clippers are sixth and they are 24-12 — a testament to how difficult the competition is.
To put the east in perspective, statistically speaking the Knicks is still well in it: despite being 5-33, the worst in the league, they are only 11.5 games behind the eighth seed Miami. And while there are four teams that sit with over twenty wins — Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards — it is like night and day when comparing the top and bottom half.
And this poor Eastern play has to do with some overall team disappointments: yes, Miami took a while to gel, but no one expected Cleveland to be 19-17 at this point. The tandem of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were supposed to be the next big three. And speaking of Miami, they are barely clinging on to that final spot: who knew that they would sink this far minus Lebron. And finally, New York’s teams are in shambles: Brooklyn’s win-now philosophy has backfired, and while people expected the Knicks to be bad, no one expected this.
Perhaps it is just like clockwork: conferences will get better over time. However, it is hard to not look at each top eight’s non-conference record — the east is 50-47 and the west is a whooping 92-24 — and begin to wonder, how long will the western domination last? Yes, those record take into account games against poor teams, but it has been a long time since the balance between the two sides have been this uneven.