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Conference Disparity


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Right now, it seems we're an era of extreme conference disparity in the major sports.

In the NHL/NBA, the West is seen as a bloodthirsty minefield of death, while the East is a mediocre collection of not-good-enough teams.

In the NFL, we're back to NFC IS STEEL CAGE OF DEATH, AFC NOT SO GREAT like 20 years ago.

And of course, 49ers/Seahawks and Blackhawks/Kings seem to tower over everyone else in their respective leagues (Spurs/Thunder not quite the same in the NBA)

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The NBA is the most jarring one since it's entirely geographical whereas the NFL and NHL are more coincidental than anything. Clearly in the NBA more talented players prefer to play in the west than in the east. It's not impossible for an eastern conference team to beat a team from the west, of course, but the NBA playoffs are notoriously more intense in the West where the deep end of the talent pool resides.

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The NBA is the most jarring one since it's entirely geographical whereas the NFL and NHL are more coincidental than anything. Clearly in the NBA more talented players prefer to play in the west than in the east. It's not impossible for an eastern conference team to beat a team from the west, of course, but the NBA playoffs are notoriously more intense in the West where the deep end of the talent pool resides.

I doubt it's that players prefer the west over the east - after all, LeBron and Melo have willingly chose to stay in the east, and there's already rumors of Durant going back home to DC in 2016. IMO, the Eastern Conference has simply for whatever reason had more incompetent general managers and less patient fanbases, consigning most of its teams to the treadmill of mediocrity.
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The NBA is the most jarring one since it's entirely geographical whereas the NFL and NHL are more coincidental than anything. Clearly in the NBA more talented players prefer to play in the west than in the east. It's not impossible for an eastern conference team to beat a team from the west, of course, but the NBA playoffs are notoriously more intense in the West where the deep end of the talent pool resides.

It seems almost coincidental in the NBA as well. The glamor markets of the East (Chicago, New York, Miami, Brooklyn) outnumber those in the West (Los Angeles x2). The smart front offices in the West far outnumber those in the East. It's almost hard to find a well-run organization in the Eastern Conference (Indiana, maybe Atlanta and Boston), but they're everywhere in the West.

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it is not so much coincidence or players (in pros at least) prefering to play in west vs east, it's a lot because typically you build to compete against the teams you see most often, which would be your conference opponents. If a few of them get good, and the rest of the conference builds to compete with them, that brings them up as well. If you're in a weak conference you're not always needing to keep a step ahead of the competition, which in turn isn't always doing as much to catch up to you.

College is kinda different because I'm sure there's great players who only want to play in the SEC because of the recent success there and how playing there might increase their pro prospects, however there's great players who choose to play near home, who choose oregon because Nike, etc, so it's hard to say.

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Yeah, the NHL's West had to build around beating Detroit's four-line possession attack, which has set the tone for the conference having good puck possession and defense. The East is more star-laden, less deep. I do maintain, however, that the West benefits from more low-interest markets where it's easier to build a quality team at your own pace and attract free agents who run from bright lights like cockroaches, which is what hockey players are trained to do practically from birth.

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