There are seven teams currently slated to head toward the lottery in the Western Conference, per usual, and five of those teams have records good enough to make the Eastern playoff bracket. The 12th-best record in the Western Conference – currently held by both the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers at 9-9 – is tied with the winning percentage of the team with the third-best record in the East. That would be your Washington Wizards. Tied. For third in the East.
The East is terrible this season, and though teams like the Knicks, Bulls, Nets, Hawks and Pistons may eventually get their acts together, the drop-off between standout Indiana and Miami clubs and the rest of the dreck is significant. Worse, the eventual winner of the piss-poor Atlantic Division (the Boston Celtics hold that honor right now, at 8-12) will be rewarded with the ostensible fourth seed in the East this spring due to NBA bylaws.
That’s pretty awful. And it’s especially awful if you’re battling amongst the trees in Pacific Time out West, wondering how this is even fair in the slightest. The Portland Trail Blazers Twitter account struck out first, indirectly looking to inspire a move:
Is it too late to join the Eastern Conference? Asking for a friend.
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 4, 2013
Soon after that, the Suns (again, currently tied for 12th in the West despite running with a record that would be good enough for third in the East) chimed in:
The irony here is that the Trail Blazers don’t really need the Eastern bump. The team is riding high at 15-3, tied for tops in their conference, and coming off an impressive win over the team with the NBA’s best record, the East-leading (hmm) Indiana Pacers. If the Blazers were in the East with that record, they’d actually have to slide down to the second seed if the season ended today.
Then again, they’d get to play the Bucks, Nets, Knicks and Cavaliers all the time. It might be worth petitioning about, after all.
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