Meanwhile, the East had just seven teams with at least 40 wins last season, and while Cleveland has made a huge leap up from the dregs, some of the East’s quality teams are sliding down. Brooklyn and Indiana foremost. And the Eastern Conference has five teams with virtually no hope for 2014-15: Orlando, Boston, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit.
So the West just keeps getting tougher, while the East shuffles deck chairs. A mediocre West team gets better by trading its superstar and improves its long-term prospects as well. That’s potentially a trade for the ages.
And that’s why it’s better to be in the West. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive. The East offers an easier path, both to the playoffs and in the playoffs, once you’re there. But the West is the fast lane. The West is the fast heat. You’ve got to be sharp in the West. Got to be fine-tuned to stay tough in the West.
Teams find out how good they really are, playing in the West. You keep up, or you get run over. Get better, or get lost.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.