Wasn't the Eastern Conference supposed to be on the rise? With 2 of the last 3 NBA Championships and such young mega-stars as LeBron, DWade, Howard and Arenas, the days of the Eastern Conference being the JV of the NBA were supposed to be over, right?
Well, guess what? The East still sucks. It's still early (just add that phrase to everything I write until 2007 - it'll save me time) but as of now, there are all of 4 Eastern Conference teams over .500. Only 2 Eastern teams had a winning record last year and a winning record so far this year. Of the 8 teams in the NBA with 4 or fewer losses, only 1 is from the East. Orlando has the best record in the Conference, but does anyone really fear Orlando? Tell you what... I'll guarantee you that Orlando will make the playoffs, as long as Grant Hill starts all 82 games. What's that? He already missed a game. Too bad. No guarantee then.
Defending champ Miami and trendy pick Chicago have been particularly bad so far. Miami just doesn't give a flying f*ck, and who can blame them? They'll have to play a little better to make the playoffs, but not a lot better... not in the East. As for Chicago, all the geniuses who picked them to go to the Finals this season with the addition of Ben Wallace need to look at tonight's box score. 0 points, 0 rebounds, in 20 minutes. The man has been overrated for years, and now he's overrated and old. Not really the combination you want to pay $60M.
LeBron and the Cavs? They start Eric Snow at the point. They play Donyell Marshall, who looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy this year, 20 minutes per game.
Kidd and Carter and RJ in New Jersey? They're depth is sadder than the Cavs'. 39 year old Clifford Robinson, Bostjan Nachbar and Antoine Wright are their top 3 reserves.
Only Detroit appears to even be a decent team, and they're the team that supposedly was hurt the most this off-season.
On the other end of the spectrum, all of the hopeless teams reside in the East. In the West, only Memphis has a winning percentage below 42%, and they have a pretty good excuse. There are 10 teams in the East with a WP below 42%, including all 5 teams in the Atlantic. That's correct - Seattle, last place in the (by Western standards) abysmal Northwest Division, would be in first place in the Atlantic. Portland would be in first place in the Atlantic.
Not only is the East not on the rise, they are falling into the Atlantic.