This topic comes up almost every summer, and the Court Surfing blog brings it up again this summer.
It commenced with the trade that sent Shaquille O'Neal to Cleveland. Then came a barrage of moves including Vince Carter and Brandon Bass to the Magic, Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels to the Celtics, Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack and more to the Raptors and a flurry of players returning to the Wizards following injuries.
The teams that had already won, or were on the cusp of winning (Orlando won 59) 60 games, improved. The disappointments in Washington and Toronto became relevant again. An up-and-coming team from the "Dirty South" added Jamal Crawford. Detroit added Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. The reigning Rookie of the Year and MVP play in the East. The "2010-trio" of LeBron, Wade and Bosh all play in the East.
While the East as a whole might be better than the West, for the teams that matter, (playoff teams) the power still lies in the West. You could make the case that the East as a whole was better than the West last year, after all after the Suns no West team won more than 29 games, where every team except the Wizards in the East won 32+ games. But in the upper teirs of the confrences the West is still King.
2008 East vs West Playoff teams
08 East playoff teams total record: 398-258 .607%
08 West playoff teams total record: 427-229 .651%
To support my arguement I decided to do a run down of the East teams, like I already did for the West.
2009 Projected East records
Cavs – 66-16: They added Shaq, but his impact will be in the playoffs.
Celtics – 62-20: They added Sheed, but the big 3 are all a year older
Magic – 60-22: This is very optimistic, they could be much worse
Atlanta – 50-32: Another year of exp for a young club.
Miami – 45-37: Beasley should be better as should the Heat.
Bulls – 43-39: 2 game improvement for Rose and company
Pistons – 41-41: Gordon/Charlie won’t make them much better
Raptors – 41-41: Turk+Bosh is an improvement but don’t expect miracles
Wizards – 37-45: If they are healthy they still don’t make the East playoffs
Pacers – 36-46: They only lost players this summer, but if healthy…
Bobcats – 35-47: Chandler doesn’t make them any better
Knicks – 30-52: The lost talent this summer, but run and gun will get you some wins.
Nets – 20-62: They will struggle to get to 20 wins.
Bucks – 20-62: They will struggle to keep up with the Nets.
If I am correct, which I think I will be within a few games here and there, this would favor the East a total record of 621-609 .505%, while the West would be 609-621 .495%. But the playoff teams records will favor the West. Projected 09-10 East playoff record, 402-254 .612%, projected 09-10 West playoff team records, 422-234 .643%. I think the more accurate statement for this arguement would be that the East has caught up to the West, but not yet over taken them, but a good arguement can be stated for both sides, what do you guys think?