NBA Scheduling: should there be conferences 

NBA

Each NBA team in the Eastern Conference plays the East 52 times and the West 30 times. Each NBA team in the Western Conference plays the West 52 times and the East 30 times. Now the West is better than the East every year for over fifteen years now, and if this trend continues, maybe Adam Silver will get rid of conferences altogether. Fat chance, I know. In fact, with the elimination of any meaning behind Division championships, I see the rigid West/East conference alignment continuing after twenty years in a row.

Last year the 40-42 Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs in the East while the 45-37 Oklahoma City Thunder did not in the West.

I decided to take each team’s record and take the averages of how they fared in the East and West and recalculate to see how each team would have fared if they played 41 games in the East and 41 games in the West. So by those numbers, here’s how the new records broke out.

East
ATL – 60-22 (0)
CLE – 52-30 (-1)
CHI – 49-33 (-1)
TOR – 48-34 (-1)
WAS – 46-36 (0)
MIL – 40-42 (-1)
BOS – 39-43 (-1)
BRK – 38-44 (0)

IND – 36-46 (-2)
MIA – 36-46 (-1)
CHA – 31-51 (-2)
DET – 31-51 (-1)
ORL – 26-56 (+1)
PHI – 18-64 (0)
NYK – 17-65 (0)

West
GSW – 68-14 (+1)
HOU – 57-25 (+1)
LAC – 55-27 (-1)
MEM – 55-27 (0)
SAS – 56-26 (+1)
POR – 52-30 (+1)
DAL – 51-31 (+1)
NOP – 45-37 (0)

OKC – 47-35 (+2)
PHX – 41-41 (+2)
UTA – 39-43 (+1)
DEN – 30-52 (0)
SAC – 30-52 (+1)
LAL – 23-59 (+2)
MIN – 18-64 (+2)

If all things were even, the West’s 10th place Phoenix Suns would have had a better record than the East’s 6th place Milwaukee Bucks. The 11th place Jazz would have been tied with the 7th place Celtics. Remember this when Brad Stevens gets oodles more publicity than Quin Snyder next year.

It also would have affected the West’s playoff standings. Spurs would have been 3rd, and Grizzlies and Clippers would have come down to a tie-breaker for 5th. But the main point is this. Only one team in the East would have benefitted from an even schedule, while only one team in the West would have been worse from an even schedule. And if there were no conferences and all teams were on an even playing field with their schedules, and the top 16 teams made the playoffs, only 6 from the East would make it.

About the author

John English

John studied journalism at UVU and put that to good use by writing for free for blogs on a part-time basis. Money well spent. He became an avid Jazz fan since moving to Utah in 1989. Also a fan of the NFL and BYU football.