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The NBA’s East-West Structure Rewards Mediocrity

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After last year’s ordinary season that ended with a bang, the Warriors are doing well this season. They are now in 8th place and is leading by just half a game on Utah Jazz. The Warriors started the season badly by losing the first 6 games.

The Warriors have been the best team since then and they are poised to take another playoff run. Any moment though any of the other teams could overtake them and grab their 8th place and the final western playoff spot. Only 5 games is separating the 1st placer Phoenix Suns and the Warriors.

It’s a different story in another part of the country. In the East, the best teams are Celtics, Magic and Pistons. The reason they don’t have better records is they are forced to play with western conference teams once in a while. In contrast to the West’s competitive situation, the East ispitiful. As an example, in the East the 7th and 8th spots are held by teams under .500. If the Warriors would be in 4th place were in the Eastern Conference and one game behind Magic.

So why does NBA award the less than standard teams and allow them to compete in the playoffs? Isn’t it unfair for those teams who win more than 50% of the games and have their season shortened while other teams are not doing as well but are deemed to be worthy of the playoffs? It would be better to use a system where there are no divisions or conferences. The team plays in a structure where they get equal number of opportunities. Then, they just compare records and take the best 16 teams. That seems much simpler.

For the Warriors to face off with all the teams in the West and still maintain a winning record is an awesome feat for this young and potential team. This team should be awarded for their efforts. They should not be fighting for the last place in the playoffs when there are teams with shaky records like Indiana, Atlanta and Toronto.

If the all –inclusive and above-mentioned system takes effect, here is the list of teams who would make their playoffs if they started today according to ranking: 1. Boston Celtics 2. Detroit Pistons 3. Phoenix Suns 4. New Orleans Hornets 5. LA Lakers 6. Dallas Mavericks 7. San Antonio Spurs 8. Portland Trail Blazers 9. Orlando Magic 10. Denver Nuggets 11. Golden State Warriors 12. Utah Jazz 13. Washington Wizards 14. Cleveland Cavaliers 15/16. Toronto Raptors tied with the Houston Rockets.

In this situation, the Warrior could make the playoffs easily and the Hawks and Pacers will not be awarded for substandard reasons. This is the league I prefer to see.

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