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Anthony 05-14-2002 10:54 AM

Conference Disparity Unhealthy For Game
Perhaps the NBA should consider junking the current Eastern and Western Conferences and go to a "National" and "American" Conference setup instead, the former comprising the 14 franchises that existed prior to the 1970-71 season and the latter containing the 15 teams that have joined the league since. If the current, two-division format is maintained, this would yield the following divisions:

National Conference East: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Washington.

National Conference West: Golden State, Houston (San Diego Rockets in 1970), L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Sacramento (Cincinnati Royals in 1970), Seattle.

American Conference East: Cleveland, Indiana, Miami, Memphis, New Jersey, New Orleans (Charlotte), Orlando, Toronto.

American Conference West: Dallas, Denver, L.A. Clippers, Minnesota, Portland, San Antonio, Utah.

Either this, or for the next five years or so change the draft so that the present Eastern Conference teams are guaranteed the first 15 picks in the draft (in this scenario the best team in the East would draft 15th and the worst team in the West 16th).

But something has to be done. The massive disparity between the East and the West is destabilizing the game.

Marc 05-14-2002 11:21 AM

Anthony, you couldn't be more right - I think the fact that no one in the East stands a chance in the West really hurts the importance of half the playoff games. Something has to be done in order to balance things.

That said, the East isn't as bad as some make it out to be - the West is top-heavy and has more poor teams than the East. There are a lot of superstars which keep the East as popular as ever like Vince Carter, T-Mac, Iverson, etc.

Chances your theory would happen? Unlikely. But I do like it.

TheWittyOne 05-14-2002 12:00 PM

I imagine that the East prefers it this way. They know one of them will get to the finals, but if they were mixed in with the West they would not have a chance.

air_canada 05-14-2002 06:21 PM

I think it would be absolutely pointless. There is no relevant reason why the East is regarded as lesser. It just happens. It's got nothing to do with location, so it's just a basic happening.

I sincerely doubt that giving the East first picks would change much in the happening. It seems each conference's game has a different orientation. Healthy competition exists between Eastern teams. Different style of play does not make for 'disparity'. The incompatibility between the two styles doesn't seem to make much difference. If that was so, no Eastern team would ever win, right?

The simple proposal of American and National conferences don't differ much. Some balance has been achieved. Lower shelf teams in the National conference: Denver, LA Clips, Memphis and Cleveland.
Lower shelf-- American: Chicago, New York, Atlanta (?), Phoenix?

The reason is that no matter how you switch around, it is not the conference but the teams in it. So if you stick teams anywhere, they won't be any better.

lmanchur. 05-14-2002 06:58 PM

In 30 years I'll bet ya Eastern Conference dominates the Western Conference.

I mean, if MLB had the National League as the signifcantly stronger league, do you think they should switch to an East/West format???? It doesn't make sense to rework anything that significant.

However, I think the NBA should go down into the NHL-like 3 divisions if they are to continue to allow 16 teams into the playoffs, which they will no doubt. It makes a LOT more sense scheduling wise, both for geographic rivalries (more games) and for travel (expenses).

Spike 05-15-2002 03:04 AM

Disparity's happen. That's just the cycle of things. It'll come back to the East being stronger eventually.

Remember it wasn't too long ago in the N.F.L. that the N.F.C. was winning all the Super Bowls and the talk was something should be done, like the talk I heard was scrap both Conferences and just have the playoffs brackets go 1 through 12, with #1 and #2 being the teams with the best records in the N.F.L. Would you have been in favor of that back then, Anthony?

My point is, now in the N.F.L. anybody can win it. There isn't that disparity between conferences anymore. It's just a cycle and eventually I believe the East will come back and be stronger than the West in the N.B.A. It's just a matter of when.

I OWN THIS 05-15-2002 05:01 PM

I totally agree with Spike, and we don't know when it will become more even. But the fact of the matter is that eventually it will be a more level playing field between the 2 conferences in the near future. And speaking of the NFL I can remember all of us counting out the Patriots against the Rams. I still think the Lakers own everyone and the difference is an Eastern team would have to beat them 4 games, and that is just not possible..... Maybe just Maybe if it were a one game series then Boston would have a good shot.


#47 05-16-2002 07:30 PM

Spike was right on in his post, everything in sports goes in cycles. The AFC in football won 8 of 9 super bowls starting in the early 70's before the NFC went on to dominate from the mid 80's on to the late 90's. It wasn't too long ago that the Bulls won 6 titles and the Pistons 2 titles for a total of 8 in a 10 year span.

Like Spike pointed out, everything goes in cycles.

Marc 05-17-2002 09:11 AM

I think you all are right. The NBA will even out by itself in the next five years as players are traded and drafted. We can't just go re-doing the league everytime there is an inbalance.

Anthony 05-17-2002 09:47 PM

To answer your question, Spike: The comparison between the current NBA situation and the NFC's run of Super Bowl victories is not really valid because in a few seasons during the NFC domination of the Super Bowl the AFC actually won a majority of the inter-conference games!

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, the NHL did use a format that disregarded the conferences in determining the playoff teams and matchups altogether; 16 out of 21 teams advanced to the postseason, where in the first round 1 played 16, 2 played 15 etc. (and the surviving teams were "re-seeded" in both the quarterfinals and semifinals). The league also had a balanced regular-season schedule, with each team playing all 20 of the others four times each for an 80-game regular season.

The same thing could easily be done in the NBA, both as far as the playoffs and the regular season go: They could add two more games to the regular season (remember that the old ABA played an 84-game schedule), thereby allowing everybody to play everybody else three times. In this scenario, as in the NHL 20 years ago, the conferences would exist only for the benefit of the All-Star Game (and even this too was omitted in some years, when a game matching up the NHL and an all-star team from some other country, e.g., Russia, was held instead; the NBA could conceivably do this as well).

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