Back in the early 1990s when the feisty Detroit Pistons were known as the "Bad Boys" and Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls' dominance, the East was regarded as the NBA's toughest conference. But even as Jordan continued to win titles in Chicago, the West regained its swagger – and eventually its superiority.
Since Jordan's Bulls were dismantled after their final championship in 1998, the Western Conference has won all but three titles, including last season's when the Los Angeles Lakers fought off the Orlando Magic in five games. While Kobe Bryant(notes) and the Lakers will enter this season as favorites to repeat, no longer should teams in the East be considered pushovers. Already, the East has split the past six titles with the West. And with the Magic again joining the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers as three of the league's top title contenders, the East could use this season to build a case for becoming the best conference.
"It didn't deserve respect for aRead More »from Beasts of the East growing in number