Top to bottom, the Western Conference has lapped the Eastern Conference three times over in terms of overall talent in this year’s NBA postseason.
One could easily make the case that both Indiana and Philadelphia would not have even made the field of eight when the playoffs began a little less than a month ago. The Celtics, meanwhile, would barely have snuck in and would have certainly faced a stiffer test in the first round than the Atlanta Hawks.
The eyeball test certainly backs up the notion that the West is best as well. Oklahoma City’s James Harden, the NBA’s sixth man of the year, would likely be the go-to-guy for a Philly or an Indy. He would at least have cracked either of their starting five, one would think.
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The Clippers, who were just swept by San Antonio, currently possess an overall starting lineup that, on paper, would be the best that the East would have to offer.
A lineup featuring Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and Randy Foye is a more complete five than Miami’s and has more overall talent than a Boston squad that trots out Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass.
This all, of course, will mean little once the NBA Finals begins. Teams from inferior conferences routinely upset teams from the big boy leagues in championship contests (think the 2007 New York Giants, 2009 New Orleans Saints, 2003 Florida Marlins or 2006 St. Louis Cardinals).
But this all makes what the Spurs are doing right now all the more impressive. San Antonio has yet to lose a game in the NBA’s big boy conference. Think of what they would have done already to the not-so-wicked boys of the East.