Author Topic: Why is West continually better than the East?  (Read 1027 times)

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Why is West continually better than the East?
« on: March 11, 2019, 01:22:19 PM »

Offline bdm860

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There's a thread over on Reddit, where Cowherd asks Daryl Morey why the West has continually been better than the East.

Cowherd throws out that it's a winter league, and players would rather wake up in LA and Phoenix than Chicago.

Morey says better owners.

In the comments some speculate the East has better markets, so they don't need to be good to make money (hello Chicago and New York), whereas West teams like OKC, Portland, Utah have to be good or won't make money.  Obviously not 100% true, but an interesting theory.

Another comment says West owners are self-made billionaires, while Dolan and Reinsdorf inherited their teams/money.  Again, obviously not true for all, but also interesting theory.


Thought this could be an interesting discussion here.

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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 01:47:54 PM »

Offline gpap

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I think it has more to do with teams in the West doing a better job of drafting, signing free agents and making smarter trades.

I do think weather does play a factor.

However, I also don't think the gap is as large this season.

In other words, if Toronto (or the Celts for that matter) played Golden State in the finals, I think it be a alot closer than people expect. Even more so, if a team like say OKC or Houston were to knock off GSW.

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 01:51:26 PM »

Online Silky

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I think you have to look at it 2 fold.

First was what started the trend...imo its:

Taxes and direct impact on $ earned
and
Weather

Because the precedent has been set and the league has become weighted, you are looking also at better teams in the west to join up on.

I mean, would you rather join up on say SAS for the max, on a winning team, in a warm state, with low taxes or NYK for the same money, on a losing team, in a city filled with snow.





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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 02:21:31 PM »

Offline bdm860

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I think you have to look at it 2 fold.

First was what started the trend...imo its:

Taxes and direct impact on $ earned
and
Weather

Because the precedent has been set and the league has become weighted, you are looking also at better teams in the west to join up on.

I mean, would you rather join up on say SAS for the max, on a winning team, in a warm state, with low taxes or NYK for the same money, on a losing team, in a city filled with snow.

The taxes thing might be overblown.  Only TX (3 teams) and Florida (2 teams) have no state income tax, and they both have desirable winter weather.  Tennessee (1 team) went state income tax free in 2016 (too recent to show a real affect).  While California (4 teams), Oregon (1 team), and Minnesota (1 team) have the 3 highest state income taxes I believe.

The West does have nicer weather for the most part though.

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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 02:21:55 PM »

Offline jambr380

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It's weird, but shouldn't be permanent. NY has two teams; CHI, WAS, PHI, BOS are also big markets; there are two Florida teams (for warm weather). Some of our big cities are rust belt cities and are therefore not huge markets anymore, but it's not like places like OKC, POR, SLC, NO, MEM, SA, or SAC are exactly booming.

California probably has something to do with it, but NY and Miami should help make up for that difference. It probably has more to do with drafting and player development. Heck, Atlanta has a pretty good young player in Trae Young, but they could have had Doncic - who is now playing in the West. Coaching and other FO decisions also play a part.

The top of both conferences is actually pretty even right now. It's after you get past #5 or #6 that it gets pretty dicey. I would imagine that more of the East teams will get higher draft picks and better even out the bottom half. I can say it seems a lot better than the last few years where it was GS, Cleveland, the next 7 West teams and then #2-8 East teams.

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 02:23:09 PM »

Offline celticsclay

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I wonder what the east would be like if Wade, Lebron and Bosh had not all joined up. If they had all stayed on separate teams maybe the raptors, heat and cavs all stayed contenders separately. Then maybe you start seeing some guys from the west joining them on those separate teams.

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 02:26:51 PM »

Online td450

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The only great western team is GS. I'd bet on Milwaukee, Toronto Philly and Boston beating any other western teams.

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 02:29:04 PM »

Offline jpotter33

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While collectively the West is slightly better this year, I think the top of the East is better 1-5 than the West, Oladipo’s injury notwithstanding.
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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 03:17:27 PM »

Offline bdm860

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It's weird, but shouldn't be permanent. NY has two teams; CHI, WAS, PHI, BOS are also big markets; there are two Florida teams (for warm weather). Some of our big cities are rust belt cities and are therefore not huge markets anymore, but it's not like places like OKC, POR, SLC, NO, MEM, SA, or SAC are exactly booming.

California probably has something to do with it, but NY and Miami should help make up for that difference. It probably has more to do with drafting and player development. Heck, Atlanta has a pretty good young player in Trae Young, but they could have had Doncic - who is now playing in the West. Coaching and other FO decisions also play a part.

The top of both conferences is actually pretty even right now. It's after you get past #5 or #6 that it gets pretty dicey. I would imagine that more of the East teams will get higher draft picks and better even out the bottom half. I can say it seems a lot better than the last few years where it was GS, Cleveland, the next 7 West teams and then #2-8 East teams.

While collectively the West is slightly better this year, I think the top of the East is better 1-5 than the West, Oladipo’s injury notwithstanding.

I think any of the TOR, MIL, PHI, or BOS could possibly take down GS or anybody from out West.  And the top team(s) can vary by year, but when I think of Teams 1-15, I feel like the West normally wins out.

I don't know where to easily look up Conference level stats (without doing a ton of the leg work).  I feel like the very top of the conference can go either way, but the middle and bottom level playoff teams are usually better out West.  There's a few outlier years, but if I look at 20-30 years of data, I think if you took 1-16 regardless of conference, you'd see far more West teams than East (though again, there are outlier years).  If you ranked playoff teams 1-16, but kept 8 East and 8 West, the West teams would have home court advantage a majority of the time.  I feel like this is true the a vast majority of the years.

When I look at teams chasing ping pong balls, I feel like it's normally EC teams.  This year 4 of the 5 worst teams are in the EC, including the worst.  2018 does not fit my narrative, but 2017 had 3 of the 5 worst in the EC including the worst. 2016 had 2 of the 5 in the EC including the worst. 2015 had 3 of 5 in the EC. 2014 had 4 of 5 in the EC, including the 3 worst, 2013 the EC had the 3 worst, 2012 had the 2 worst and 3 of 4 in the EC, 2012 had 2-4 in the EC, etc.

Looking at #1 picks, the last 20 years, 14 (70%) went to an EC team.  Over the last 30 years, 20 (67%) went to the East.  Picking like that, you'd think the East would have picked things up at some point.

I can understand it being cyclical, and that's what I used to think, oh the power will swing back to the East eventually, but this has seemingly been going on for 20+ years.

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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 03:23:27 PM »

Offline CelticSooner

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Bad management. NY, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Charlotte, Orlando, and Brooklyn. All these teams have either bad ownership, general managers, or both the past 10 years. Sometimes a player or two can overcome it but team building overall has been poor. The West has had like 3 teams in that category: Phoenix, New Orleans, and the Lakers. It all starts at the top and trickles down.

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 03:31:01 PM »

Offline Moranis

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The West has quite simply done a better job of drafting, trading, and overall team building.  That said, I do think we may see a power shift finally happen as many of the league's top young stars are in the East and most will be for a number of years. 

For an example, this is the 2018 All NBA Teams, the last name and where they were drafted

1st Team
Davis - West
Durant - West
Harden - West
James - East (F.A. now West)
Lillard - West

2nd Team
Aldridge - West
Giannis - East
DeRozan - East (traded now West)
Embiid - East
Westbrook - West

3rd Team
Butler - East (traded West and then back to East)
Curry - West
George - East (traded West)
Oladipo - East (traded West now back to East))
Towns - West


The prior season was much more pronounced with only James, Giannis, Butler, Wall, and DeRozan being the only 5 Eastern Draftees (Thomas was on the team from the East, but he was drafted by the West) out of the 15 on the team (and the latter 3 were all 3rd team).  15-16 was even more worse with only James, George, and Lowry being the only 3 east draftees in the top 15 players.  But I guess that is the point, the East is finally starting to catch-up.  They are finally starting to draft top end talent, with guys like Giannis and Embiid looking like the future faces of the league.  Simmons and Tatum look like they might make up a 2nd tier behind those 2.  Then you still have players like Irving, Beal, etc. who are still young enough to have many years of prime left.   

Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 03:54:30 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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Generally more attractive places to play in terms of the locations of the franchises.


Also, we have this setup where a team in the East makes the playoffs with <40 wins, while a team in the West misses the playoffs despite winning 45+ games.


Spin that out over a couple decades and it's not hard to see how these disparities are created.


Year after year, if you look at the best players who change teams, it seems like far more often than not the majority of those players go East to West or West to West as opposed to going East.


The East also seems to have a higher number of hapless, horribly run franchises.  Bulls, Knicks, Wizards.  You could put the Magic in there as well.  The Hornets have failed to really do anything of note, either, and they've made bad draft choices and signed player to some questionable contracts.


Whereas out West you have the Lakers and Suns.  The Kings these days seem to have righted their ship.  The T-Wolves are still a questionable franchise.  The Clips have been a solid franchise for a while. 


It's a lot of things.  It would help a lot if they got rid of the Conference split for the sake of the playoffs and awarded draft slots by record, save for the lottery.


It would also help if they made it harder for teams to have more than a couple All-Star caliber players, even via trade or the draft, for more than a season or two at a time.
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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2019, 04:00:34 PM »

Offline mmmmm

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I think you have to look at it 2 fold.

First was what started the trend...imo its:

Taxes and direct impact on $ earned
and
Weather

Because the precedent has been set and the league has become weighted, you are looking also at better teams in the west to join up on.

I mean, would you rather join up on say SAS for the max, on a winning team, in a warm state, with low taxes or NYK for the same money, on a losing team, in a city filled with snow.

The taxes thing might be overblown.  Only TX (3 teams) and Florida (2 teams) have no state income tax, and they both have desirable winter weather.  Tennessee (1 team) went state income tax free in 2016 (too recent to show a real affect).  While California (4 teams), Oregon (1 team), and Minnesota (1 team) have the 3 highest state income taxes I believe.


'Concur.  Especially when you factor in that state income taxes are paid to the state they are earned in, and the effect of this is mitigated out somewhat.   The difference is mainly on the home games, as their road schedules will take them both to a similar number of states with taxes.

I don't want to suggest that the state income taxes aren't a factor at all.  But I think it ends up in reality being a fairly minor one.
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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2019, 04:21:10 PM »

Offline Donoghus

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Years & years of Eastern Conference teams botching drafts, making poor trades, or just plain disasterous FA signings is most likely the main culprit.

Agree with the sentiment that the state income tax concern is overblown.


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Re: Why is West continually better than the East?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2019, 05:27:12 PM »

Offline action781

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Years & years of Eastern Conference teams botching drafts, making poor trades, or just plain disasterous FA signings is most likely the main culprit.

Agree with the sentiment that the state income tax concern is overblown.

I agree with this.

Really, its only been for the last 20 years that the Western Conference has been better.  14 of the last 20 titles (1999-2018) were won by the West.  And a big reason for that are a few top 30 all-time talents who were drafted in the West and stayed in the West for very long prosperous careers -- Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki.  Those players accounted for 11 championships in the last 20 years and many years of being a backbone of strong teams.  Steph Curry will also be looked upon as a home-grown all-time NBA talent accounting for the a big part of the final 3 of those 14 titles.  Those four players that were home grown account for a huge part of 20 years of West dominance.

If you look at the 15 years before that, the Eastern Conference won 10 of those 15 titles.  Could have been more had MJ not retired.  The East had all-time great franchise players in Michael Jordan, Isaiah Thomas, and Larry Bird drafted in conference and staying there for long careers which accounted for all 10 of those titles and many strong teams atop the conference.

If you look at the 10 years to come, I think the balance is likely to even out if some home grown talent stays where it is.  I see Embiid + Simmons staying in Philly.  Giannis I don't know what he'll do but if he stays then that's big.  AD drafted in the West is huge, but could he move?  Denver's core looking strong in the West.  Doncic + Porzingis a future force in the west too.  Some lesser teams like Atlanta and Phoenix appearing to have potentially bright futures.  A lot of balance between the conference overall.  I think where AD lands could be the difference maker.

 

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