Jan 10, 2011, 2:03 PM EDT
Amare Stoudemire went from the Suns to the Knicks. Carlos Boozer went from the Jazz to the Bulls. With everything that went down in Miami and other teams in the conference entering an arms race to keep up, it felt as if the NBA’s balance of power had shifted from the West to the East.
Or, maybe not, points out the brilliant Kevin Pelton writing for ESPN (this is behind the insider pay wall).
In fact, the West’s dominance in inter-conference matchups (113-91 record, .553 winning percentage) has in fact grown from last season (246-204, .547), keeping with the history of Western superiority that dates back to the 1999-00 season.
The elite of the East — Boston, Orlando and Miami (with Chicago knocking on the door) — may be deeper than the elite of the West, but the West remains deeper in good teams. Remember it took 50 wins just to make the playoffs in the West last season and while a few players have moved on, the depth of the conference is still superior.
Or to put it simply, the East’s seven seed right now is Indiana (14-20), the West’s is Denver (20-16). The eighth seeds are Philadelphia and Portland, and head to head Philly is 4.5 games back in that race.