Bill Simmons proclaims this year’s NBA Eastern Conference the worst conference in the history of pro sports. If you follow the Association, you know what he’s talking about. That said, let me ask everyone to consider a complicating factor. As of right now, the four worst records in the East belong to Boston, Milwaukee, New York, and Charlotte at .333, .333., .333, and .250 respectively. At the end of last season, by contrast, the four worst teams in the East were Toronto, Atlanta, Charlotte and New York at .329, .317, .317, and .280.
In other words, the very worst of the East is better than it was a year ago. This is particularly true when you consider that most teams have only played 15-17 games or so this season and extreme results are more likely with small samples. In a sense, then, I think the weaker conference has flattened rather than gotten worse.