The Eastern Conference of the NBA is so bad this season that if the season ended today, the Toronto Raptors would be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs despite a 9-14 record.
Toronto’s .391 winning percentage would be the worst for a playoff team since the 1987-88 season when the San Antonio Spurs made the playoffs with a 31-51 record (.378). Of course, in the late 1980s, the NBA only had 23 teams and just seven did not make the playoffs.
Even with 30 NBA teams now, more than half of the clubs still make the playoffs (16). So it is not uncommon to have teams with losing records sneak into the playoffs. In fact, in just the last 10 seasons, there have been nine teams make the playoffs with more losses than wins.
But the East is so bad this season that there are five teams with losing records on pace to make the playoffs. The Boston Celtics, with a 12-15 record, would be the Atlantic Division champions and would be the fourth seed in the East if the season ended today.
The absurdity of the Eastern Conference outside of the Heat and Pacers can be seen in the domination by the Western Conference. So far this season, the West is 87-38 in head-to-head matchups with Eastern Conference teams.
At this point, maybe the NBA would be better off cancelling the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
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