East vs. West: Which Conference Tips the Balance of the NBA?

August 21st, 2012 by Rob Mahoney Leave a reply »
Like it or not, conferences remain the one relevant dividing line in the NBA. The East-West designation determines playoff seeding, regular-season scheduling and All-Star selection, and until the league wipes out that bit of organizational convenience, the differences between the conferences will remain an important part of the NBA discussion.

Thus, at the least, it's worth considering which of the two conferences can claim the current superiority. The league balance tends to be cyclical, with the most obvious swings coming courtesy of dynastic establishment.

With that in mind—and with the Lakers and Spurs among the truly dominant teams of the past decade or so—it seems safe to say that the Western Conference has edged out the East ever since San Antonio won the title in the lockout-shortened '99 season. But can the West really still lay claim to the NBA conference crown?

The answer to that question depends on how you construct your argument and, more importantly, how you choose to measure the balance between conferences. Walk with me.


Strength of Field

If we're looking at overall conference streng ...

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