The Eastern Conference this year is really, really, really bad. That’s no secret; in fact, if there’s one takeaway through the first quarter of the season that doesn’t need an “It’s still early, but…” caveat, it’s that the Eastern Conference is about as bad as it gets. Historically bad. Inexplicably bad. Not good.*
*A quick aside: while the Eastern Conference is truly awful this year, it’s not completely without precedent that a team with so few wins might end up making the playoffs. In the mid-1980s, the NBA expanded to 8 playoff teams in each conference while only having 23 total teams. It was a recipe for some teams with pretty awful records to make the playoffs; in 1985-86, for instance, the Chicago Bulls qualified for the postseason with just 30 wins. While the Eastern Conference, then, is in danger of reaching some pretty historic territory this year, it can rest easy that it at least has some company, even if it’s from a time when lowly teams made the playoffs almost by default.
The Eastern Conference — a throwback to the 80s, but not in the way you’d want!
The flip side of that coin, of course, is that some Western Conference teams with far better records are going to miss out on the postseason. And though the Portland Trail Blazers seem to have little to worry about at this point when it comes to making the playoffs, that didn’t prevent the team’s official twitter account from throwing a request to be considered a part of the Eastern Conference out there:
Is it too late to join the Eastern Conference? Asking for a friend.
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 4, 2013
Sure you’re asking for a friend, Portland. Come on, no one actually buys that. When someone says it, they’re just trying to be cheeky.
Right? Well, the Phoenix Suns — a team that really could use a spot in the Eastern Conference if it’s hoping to reach the postseason — jumped on the bandwagon pretty quickly:
@trailblazers We asked you to keep that on the down low. That eager to get rid of us already?
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 4, 2013
Okay, so the Blazers and Suns are having a good laugh at the Eastern Conference. Surely no one else is going to pile on–
…wait, Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, had something to say, too?
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) December 4, 2013
Well then. Apparently the struggles of the Eastern Conference aren’t just the ingredients for blogger jokes and sarcasm — the teams in the Western Conference are more than willing to express their desire to take advantage of the East, too.