I'm not going to bemoan the fact that the Blazers would currently be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. I'm more interested in pointing out that the current system is keeping the East from improving, and enhancing overall competition.
Since the bad teams in the East are allowed into the playoffs, they lose any chance to participate in the Draft Lottery. Meanwhile, the good teams in the West can't make the playoffs due to the high level of competition, and thus fall into the lottery.
Granted, the really bad teams in the East will have a higher chance of success in the lottery than their Western counterparts, but the marginal Eastern teams that need the help are forced into the playoffs, and thus doomed to the mediocrity/crap-shoot that comes with late round picks.
As long as the Western Conference remains this strong, the Eastern Conference's pack of marginal teams will continue to flounder as "playoff" teams without a prayer of winning a title.
Although the thought of setting the playoffs up as "the best 16 teams" has appeal, it loses some of its sparkle because divisional and conference titles would lose their importance.
Is there a way to fix this, or will the pendulum eventually swing back toward the East and make the problem disappear?