For the first time in many years, the derisive term “Leastern Conference” rings hollow, with many teams in the East enjoying records of .500 or better.
In the Western Conference, with few exceptions, things have gotten off to a slow start this season.
According to LeBron James, squads in the East are now holding up their “end of the bargain”.
Per the NEOMG:
There have been jokes made and nicknames given. Brief conversations have started about changing the playoff format to counter the imbalance. […] “There’s always been a conversation,” LeBron James said. “Obviously our conference has always been downplayed the last couple years and we’ve kind of taken it personal.”
Last season, the gap between the two conferences was vast. The Milwaukee Bucks (41-41), Boston Celtics (40-42) and Brooklyn Nets (38-44) all reached the playoffs despite less-than-sparkling records. Milwaukee, the East’s No. 6 seed, wouldn’t even have earned a postseason spot out West. The Oklahoma City Thunder, falling victim to the abundance of depth, missed a playoff berth despite a 45-win year. […] In the West, there were seven teams with at least 50 wins. The East had three reach that mark. One year earlier, it took 49 for Dallas to nab the final playoff spot. That same year Atlanta punched its ticket with a 38-44 record.
“I think from a collective group of all 15 teams, trying to just hold our end of the bargain and not be the sought-after conference,” James said pointedly. “The Western Conference respect us, and glad to be on this side and see so many great teams, so many teams doing well.” […] It’s not even December yet, too early to say there’s been a true shift in power, but currently 11 of the 15 East teams boast a record of .500 or better, led by the Cavs’ 11-3 mark.