So, it has come to this for the Eastern Conference, huh?
Take a look at the standings thus far (Nov. 26th). Well, actually, take a look at positions 4-through-8. It’s pretty astounding:
4. Toronto Raptors (6-7)
5. Charlotte Bobcats (7-8)
OK, wait. I’ll stop there.
I don’t even want to go any further, for the sake of this column. The point is, the Eastern Conference is downright disgusting right now while the West is, to be frank, twice as entertaining and about fives times as competitive. For the love of God, the Raptors and Bobcats are currently sitting in the 4th and 5th seed.
What’s going on, here?
In a word: Tanking.
However, on the other hand, there are teams that expected to be very good this season but haven’t been able to figure it out (i.e. the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks). In fact, three teams that made the postseason last year, including Brooklyn and New York, are out of the picture at the moment — the other being the Boston Celtics.
So, if the season really ended today, we’d be getting set to watch the Bobcats and Raptors go seven games.
Judging by their matchup earlier this year where the Bobcats won 92-90, we’d be ready to watch a series full of mediocre basketball. There wouldn’t be too many points scored and there surely wouldn’t be too many stars in action. Aside from guys like Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, there aren’t many big names worth getting excited about.
No, I won’t define “excited” in that context. I refuse to do so.
Maybe this is good for the league, right? Parity is a great thing if you’re a sports fan. Any team has the ability to beat any other team on any given day — right? Well, that’s true to an extent in the East. Like I said, the West is loaded. All eight playoff seeds currently have a winning record and 9-through-12 are sitting at .500 right now. That means that only three teams in the West have a losing record as opposed to the 12 in the East.
What an interesting year so far. I’m hoping, for the sake of the league as a whole, that the East can catch up and at least be a bit more competitive. If not, the playoffs are going to be absolutely worthless in the East until we reach at least the second round, if not the Conference Finals. For now, let’s just enjoy this odd scenario where we could potentially watch the Bobcats and Raptors go at it as the 4th and 5th seeds.
Yeah, it’ll always look weird until it changes. No, you’ll never get used to it.