The futility of the Eastern Conference has been a major theme of the first few weeks of the NBA season. Eastern teams have now played the equivalent of a full season’s worth of games against Western Conference clubs, and have compiled an abysmal 23-60 record, good for a .277 winning percentage.
As bad as the East has been, the Southeast and Central divisions at least each have an elite team at the top of the standings. The Pacers are off to a 16-2 start, while the defending champions in Miami have gone 14-3. In the Atlantic, however, the division-leading Raptors are just 6-10.
Toronto was expected to be a borderline playoff contender this season, and many pundits pegged the Celtics and 76ers for spots near the bottom of the conference. The Atlantic’s two New York teams have been the real disappointments, combining to go just 8-25 so far. The Knicks have lost nine games in a row and are now tied for the NBA’s worst record at 3-13, and the Nets’ 5-12 mark isn’t much better.
It’s easy to say that at least one of the New York teams will turn things around, but we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the season, and neither team has shown signs of improvement so far. When we asked over the weekend whether the Nets and Knicks would make the playoffs, the most popular answer suggested neither team would earn a spot.
So what do you think? Which team ultimately ends up at the top of the division that’s on pace to be the worst ever in any major North American sport?