Sunday, January 22, 2012

East vs West: The Competition for NBA Domination

There's 30 teams in the NBA. That's split into 2 conferences. The Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Both teams are equal in size, 15 each. And each year, the winner of each conference faces off in the best spectacle of the NBA, the NBA Finals. The best players from each conference play each other in the All-Star game. All of these are competitions, between the two conference, mostly to see who is better. Which conference is the best that year. The 2011-12 NBA season is no different (actually it's very different, playing 66 games and all. But in regards to inter-conference play, it is the same.) One conference will come out on top, and like everything else in the NBA, we're gonna analyze which conference is better.

Just like the MVP, there's no easy way to determine it. There's no formula that you can plug some numbers into and it will kick out your answer for you. Instead, we have to actually write an analysis and establish some guidelines to go by to decide who's better? Guidelines are best posed as questions that you ask yourself, so let's ask ourself:

1. Which conference has the most and/or bigger names?
2. If the 1 seed from the West and the 1 seed from the East played a seven game series, who wins? 8 seed vs 8 seed?
3. How many teams in each conference will end the year with winning records?
4. If the top 16 teams in the league were put in a tournament, how many would be from the East/West?

Question 1: Which conference has the most and/or bigger names?

This one isn't the easiest. The West has Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Westbrook, Monta Ellis, Steph Curry, Tyreke Evans, Nowitzki, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. The East, on the other hand, has LeBron, DWade, DHoward, Josh Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Amare, Rondo, Joe Johnson, and John Wall. The biggest names in the West: Bryant, Durant, Griffin, Paul, Love, Nowitzki, and Duncan. The East: LeBron, DWade, DHoward, Carmelo, Derrick Rose, and Chris Bosh.
West: 7.
East: 6.

Question 2: If the 1 seed from the West and the 1 seed from the East played a four game series, who wins? 8 seed vs 8 seed?

Obviously, first we have to decide who the 1 seed is for each conference. The 1 seed for the West, in my opinion, is the Thunder. For the East, you can't go wrong with the Bulls. What happens if the Thunder play the Bulls in a seven game series? You get stellar guard play from both sides (Rose vs Westbrook). But after that, the Thunder are just a better team. However, looking at the top teams isn't the only concern. You also have to think about the worst teams (you're only as good as your weakest link). So who is the 8th seed in each conference? The Cavaliers and the Warriors. What if the Cavaliers and the Warriors play seven? Then the West wins again. The Warriors fast-paced offense obliterates the Cavs one superstar half court team. The Best of the West beats the Beast in the East, and the Worst of the West beats the Bottom of the East. The West are the better conference here.

Question 3: How many teams in each conference will end the year with winning records?

This one is pretty clear cut. The Playoffs aren't a great example of the league's best, because each conference ends up with 8 teams. What if 12 teams have winning records? Four don't get in. So instead, how many end up with winning records? For the East, we'll say only 9 (Sixers, Knicks, Boston, Bulls, Pacers, Hawks, Heat, Cavaliers, and Magic). Boston should end up two games over .500, 9th seed. In the West, 11 make it in (Thunder, Nuggets, Jazz, TrailBlazers, Timberwolves, Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, and Grizzlies). The bottom 3 are the Timberwolves, Jazz, and Rockets. The West are the better conference in this regard too.

Question 4: If the top 16 teams in the league were put in a tournament, how many would be from the East/West?
We're just gonna list the top 16 teams in the league to start:
1. Bulls
2. Thunder
3. Magic
4. Sixers
5. Hawks
6. Heat
7. TrailBlazers
8. Pacers
9. Lakers
10. Clippers
11. Spurs
12. Grizzlies
13. Nuggets
14. Mavericks
15. Warriors
16. Cavaliers
Out of the top 16, seven are from the East, the other 9 are from the West. Once again, the West wins more.

Of the four guidelines we set out at the beginning, the East don't even take one question. The West beats them out every time. Now, obviously these aren't the only guidelines. But it's definitely a start, and for all intensive purposes, the West is better.

So there you have it, a comparison of conferences, a competition of conferences, an institution in the NBA. Maybe, I'll be wrong, and maybe you disagree, and that's fine, but so far it looks like the West is bette than the East this year.

If you have any feedback, just let us know in the comments and there's a good chance you end up in the Best Comments Page.



  1. That's a good way to look at it. Either way, the West wins out with this question. Teams like the Timberwolves and the Jazz are border line (the Jazz should fall off), and two or three games going a different way and my number becomes 2 or 3 lower, so I totally get where you're coming from.

  2. #15 warriors??
    #16 cavs??
    you must be kidding..

  3. Looks more like a wish list than a proper ranking. Thanks for playing though.

  4. I wouldn't be so sure about the Thunder over the Bulls in an NBA Finals. I'm predicting Thunder-Heat but either way, as much as the Western Conference may get credit for being deeper, I think you'll see another NBA champ from the Eastern Conference this season.

  5. How can you include Tim Duncan but not KG?? Yeah KG isnt as good as he used to be but neither is Duncan.. and how about showing the 76's some love. Iggy is better than Tony parker all day.

    1. are you talking about for the big names? i guess i could see where you're coming from. my standpoint for evaluating was kind of a deal where i thought, "if i asked 10 people who the best 3 players at each position were per conference, which guys would be most common?" For iguodala, he is definitely a good player on a constant rise up, but for some reason while there is name recognition, it's just not huge. but I definitely see where you're coming from.