East vs. West; Which Conference Is Better?
It isn’t exactly Biggie vs. Tupac but every year people ask the same question; which conference is better East or West?
The simplest way to deduce this is by comparing conferences and seeing who has the most teams over .500. This year, as it has in years past the West has an advantage with 10 teams at .500 or above while the East has only seven. Last year the East had eight and the West had nine. Two years ago the East had seven to the Western Conference’s nine.
How about just straight up wins and losses? The Eastern Conference is a combined 459 and 523. While the Western Conference is 529 and 465. Advantage Western conference.
Which conference has more teams with 30 or more wins? The Eastern Conference has seven, while the Western Conference has a whopping twelve. 40 or more wins? Both Conferences have four, but the Western Conference also has the Spurs which are the only team in the NBA with 50+ wins. Again, advantage Western Conference.
The weakest division in the NBA is the Central Division in the East with only one team above the .500 mark, which happens to be the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have made themselves the best team in the East this season and have no doubt benefitted from playing so many games against their weakened division. The Bulls have really capitalized going 12-0 in the division so far which has keyed their rise to the top of the conference. The Pacific Division in the West is nearly as bad with two teams over .500, one of which being the Phoenix Suns who are two games over, but with an injured Steve Nash look like they could find themselves sub .500 by the end of the week. Again, advantage Western Conference.
Once you crunch the numbers it becomes painfully obvious that the Western Conference is the better of the two, which isn’t really a surprise considering how dominant they have been over the last couple seasons in particular. But if there is any consolation for the East, it’s due to the fact that their best teams can at least hang with the West’s elite, which hasn’t always been the case. Since the end of the Bulls championship run in 1998, the Western Conference has won the NBA Finals in nine of the 12 proceeding seasons.
One difference I will afford the East this year in comparison to years past is that the elite of the East can at the very least matchup against the elite of the West. Each conference has four teams that are cream of the crop for that conference and the league in general. The West’s four best teams are the Spurs, Lakers, Mavs and Thunder. The East’s four best are the Bulls, Celtics, Heat and Magic.
With just 16 regular season games left until the playoffs begin the better conference is apparent; Sorry Biggie but the West is best.
(image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoliv])