League Is Rigged: Unfair Bias Against Western Conference

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cuckooroller
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The present structure of the League in Conferences, and in Divisions, has been and remains essentially unfair.

All teams should have the same shot at gaining the best record, and the consequent great advantages accruing from the tie-breakers that directly lead to the HCA leading into the only true season, the post-season play.

The present structure of the League leads to an obvious weighted disparity in the basic treatment of the various teams according to the Conferences that they belong to. It is a question of fairness, and the League is obviously not interested in being fair to the Western Conference.

The non-equality in treatment between the two Conferences is directly reflected in the Strength of Schedule. The most immediate indication of this unequal treatment is given by looking at how many times each team must face teams above .500 during the year.

So, let's take a look, at just the major contenders of the two conferences, in decreasing order of games with teams over .500, for the present season:

Los Angeles - 46

San Antonio - 44

Dallas - 44

Miami - 42

Oklahoma City - 41

Orlando - 39

Boston - 38

Chicago - 36

I repeat, it is a question of overall fairness. Here we have a favored Conference that plays cupcakes, while the Western Conference is fed a diet of hard tack!

We are presently tied with Chicago and attempting to gain a tie-breaker with them.

Wouldn't it be nice if we were not penalized to the tune of having to play 10 more games against tough teams, while they get fed cupcakes!

I have maintained for years that the structure in Conferences must be done away with. I repeat this call to overall fairness.

Everybody should play each other, though it would involve alternating years to even out the home-away factor, an equal number of games during the year. No more cupcake schedules for the eastern elites. Five games should be added to the regular season, permitting everybody to play each other three times. The top sixteen at the end of the season get into the playoffs, regardless of geographical considerations. If you have just one Eastern team and 15 Western teams, well, that would be just tough titty!

Strike a blow for fairness! Abolish the treatment of the Western Conference teams by the League as second-class citizens subordinated to the hegemony of the League and their favored Eastern teams.

gastank
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Posts: 1824
votes: 28

Making everyone play each other isn't fair neither - you can't ignore geography. Travel considerations make such a schedule unfair for the coast teams like us & Boston, and easier for the central teams like Chicago. Back at the start of the season when our blistering start had people talking about the Bull's 72 game record, Phil pretty much dismissed the possibility saying that the travel for being a coast team was too tough to be able to pull it off.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
Location: Italy
votes: 114

Gas, we all have to play all of the teams. You could just schedule differently. If, for example, you have to go to Boston, and that year is the year you have to play them twice in Boston, you just stay in Boston for two games, and so on, for the other eastern teams. There is a way to get around your correct objection, and it would certainly be a lot less unfair than the present situation.

A further example: Two middle-american teams, but different Conferences.

Chicago - total cupcake schedule - plays only 36 over .500 games - Eastern

Minnesota - second-class non-elite - eats hard tack! 48 games over .500 games

Western

No, I am just not buying the travel thing. It is a question of the League favoring Eastern Conference teams.

gastank
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Posts: 1824
votes: 28

Say the league only had 3 teams, Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls, and each team played each other twice (one away, one home).

Lakers: cross continent to Boston, half continent to Chicago

Celtics: cross continent to LA, half to Chicago

Bulls: half continent to both.

Lakers and Celtics will spend 50% more time traveling than Chicago does.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
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votes: 114

^The League isn't made of only three teams. So, what you are saying is that it is fantastically fair that not only Chicago travels less, but that they are also heavily advantaged with perenially cupcake schedules just because they are one of the League's favored sons, an Eastern Conference team. No, I simply totally disagree with your viewpoint. It is unfair, and obviously so to the Western Conference teams.

As I previously stated, you obviate the extra travel by traveling only once to each eastern (or western) franchise city, and if you have to play them twice away from home you do them in sequence. We already have to go there once anyway. You just schedule differently, and you lengthen the road trips for everybody.

In any case, there are middle-american teams in both Conferences. Only those in the Western Conference are heavily penalized however. It is simply not fair that one team, for example Chicago, gets to play ten cupcakes, while we get ten servings of hard tack, and all of those games go into a total computation which is supposedly equal and leading to a determination of HCA in the post-season. Let's say they wind up with the HCA over us by one game, but they got to play ten cupcakes, and we chewed on ten nails. That is total bullcrap, and you should know it as well (unless you are working in the League office)!

PlzO
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Posts: 2233
votes: 47

Cuck, this is one of my arguments against Rose being the MVP.

Lakers 46 vs the Bulls 36... that's a ridiculous gap in quality opponents, and the Bulls play in the weakest Division in the league. This Bulls team is nothing more than the "Utah Jazz" of the Eastern Conference...A good team, but totally overrated. I agree that location matters, in fact Phil Jackson himself made a point about how his Bulls benefited greatly from being located in Chicago (middle of the map) and playing in the East. It's bologna, but there's no real solution to balancing out the powers without mirroring the discriminatory BCS.

...And you know who would be appointed head Chairman...

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
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votes: 114

Well, not really the Jazz! They are a good team, certainly comparable with the other top tier teams in the East, however, they should not have the record they have respect to the Lakers, and nor should the other teams have it either. They all played much easier schedules than we did.

I just gave a valid method of rectifying the situation. You do away with the Conferences. Everybody plays everybody an equal number of times. As far as which teams get into the playoffs, well, the sixteen better teams regardless of geography.

Hollinger can kiss my butt! He is smart enough to contrive a very biased statistical model, but not smart enough to figure out why it is total bullcrap.

PlzO
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Posts: 2233
votes: 47

It's a reasonable "throwback" idea but realistically couldn't happen. All sports eventually resorted to "divisions" because it keeps more teams in hunt, which is good for ratings. Baseball used to have the best records of each league go straight to the World Series, but soon adopted the idea of 8-team "playoffs" and the introduction of the "Wild Card". It made things more interesting by keeping more teams involved.

In fact, Baseball is considering subdividing even more, adding another Wild-Card team so there would be a guaranteed mini-playoff game for 4th place. That idea might not come to fruition, but it shows that simplification is not the direction any sport is heading towards.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
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votes: 114

^My solution would change absolutely nothing in the number of teams remaining in the hunt! There would still be sixteen post-season teams. However, you would not have such aberrations as a Division winner with a record of, let's say, 29 - 53 just because the other four teams are even more crap than they are! I like meritocracy. The best teams go forward, the other can jump in the toilet until such time as they get their act together and become competitive.

As far as simplifications, and its not being the road followed. Well, I suppose it depends. I can't talk about baseball because I have no respect for their business and stopped watching them in 1998. However, I used to be a huge boxing fan. That is, until they decided to unsimplify things so that now you have about five or six different champions for each weight class. I totally no longer have any interest whatsoever in boxing! They unsimplified themselves right into total irrelevance.

4lakers
Laker GM
Posts: 2882
Location: Los Angeles
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votes: 55

I agree - I would love to get rid of the conferences and divisions. One NBA and let's see who is the best. The top 8 go to the playoffs and that is it. Also, get rid of the 30 team NBA. That is too damn much. 24 teams would be better. Get the talent level so high on the 24 teams from the pool of the 6 teams eliminated and every game would be exciting and a good matchup. No more Timberwolves and other crappy franchises and so forth. Put the Clippers to rest in peace once and for all and now is a golden chance to let the Queens of Sactown go down the toilet. Too many teams.

The only good thing about us playing so many good opponents is that we will be more tuned up for the playoff run. We had to go through a trial by fire - the Bulls went through a trial of marsh mellows over a fire.

PlzO
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Posts: 2233
votes: 47

I agree.

But the NBA is a business, and Stern is a douchebag.

Edit: And yes, Boxing has way too many sanctions. And of course, this is more a business move than it is about giving legitimacy to the sport. More cash cows waving a belt around = more ratings and revenue.

kickslick
Posts: 2050

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votes: 16

This is a good thread. Feel sorry for Minny all of a sudden.... Sad

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
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votes: 114

Well, I suppose that I should state the unsaid, the consequences of this unfair system. That is, rewarding Eastern Conference teams for mediocrity, and punishing Western Conference teams that are absolutely meritorious of gaining the playoffs.

The League spin-doctors, who, for me, completely missed their avocation in politics, will look you in the eye, with a straight face, and tell you that this artificial construct of having Conferences and Divisions is not at fault. They will tell you that it is all cyclical. Well, if you artificially construct an unfair system, then that is an argument that you can make, however it is, for me, valid only if the system upon which it is based is essentially unfair and lends itself to this sort of unequal treatment of the franchises. In response to the spin-doctors, I would personally refute the validity of their argumentation because their argument is based on a false premise, that is, that this artificial system is equitable. It is obviously not true. It is discriminatory!

The Western Conference has simply had better, more intelligent administration of the franchises, and this has obtained for many years. As far as the cyclicity of following this system goes, well, it is getting even worse now than it has ever been. On a whole, the Western Conference teams have an ever increasing gap in win-loss respect to the Eastern Conference.

As recently as the 2007-2008 campaign we saw the consequences of this unfair system even more starkly than usual. We had a favored son, an Eastern Conference team, actually be rewarded by the League for being a piece of crap. I speak of Atlanta, Eastern Conference team, that was rewarded with marketing, extra games due to its being in the playoffs, etc., and not to even mention the question of player remuneration accruing for playoff qualification to the haves and have-nots of the League, and the reason for this, well, because already playing in a totally cupcake Conference they managed to have the fantastic post-season qualification for a record of 37 - 45! That year there were only 5 Eastern Conference teams that qualified for the post-season with winning records, and this in a cupcake Conference. Who knows what their records would have been had they actually had to compete with the Western Conference teams on an equal playing field, with an equitable cupcake-hardtack game ratio! I doubt Atlanta would have broken the 30 win benchmark had that been the case.

I can just imagine the father of a small son, Golden State fans, trying to crawl up on a mirror to explain to his young son that everything that he is being taught in school about common sense, and about fairness, is simply a bunch of hogwash. What can you say to that small son, with tears in his eyes? You show him another small son, an Atlanta fan, jumping around in glee because he is the beneficiary of a discriminatory system. He can thumb his nose at the young Golden State fan. The father obviously must explain to his son that the League considers him less of a fan, less worthy, second-rate. His aspirations for his more worthy team just don't count!

In 2007-2008 every Western Conference team, just to get into the playoffs, had to win more than 50 games. I am absolutely sure that Golden State looked at Atlanta, and asked themselves "why, in the world, on what planet, by what measure of fairness, does our team that registered a regular season record of 48 - 34, in a much tougher Conference, be penalized also monetarily by not even making the playoff cut in favor of a crap Atlanta team, and losing money on the proposition?"

As a point of information, had Golden State not been discriminated against by the League (they are the geniuses that excogitated this discriminatory system, therefore, theirs the responsability for perpetuating discrimination) in 2008, had they been a favored son in the East, well, they would have been the 4th seed overall, even with the HCA in the first round! Golden State was certainly not the only Western team to get the screw job by the League. Portland got screwed as well. Philadelphia got the benefits, got into the playoffs, with a worse record than Portland, and Portland got the unpolished, knotty shaft right in its nether parts.

As usual, this situation persists again this year. What are you going to say to a team like Houston, if it doesn't make the cut in the Western Conference, when they see a loser like Charlotte, raking in the money, going to the post-season while they are just discriminated against because they are not a favored Eastern Conference team!

All these reasons are the reasons why I want the cupcake-hardtack ratio to be even among all teams in the League. The system artificially creates a substratum upon which some teams are favored creating a reward system for mediocrity, and better teams are punished simply by virtue of an unfair, artificial construct, the Conferences.

I wonder how long it will take the Western Conference teams to finally figure it out. Sooner or later, I expect to see a new rally cry come out of the western fanbases. "Woe is us, damn the torpedoes, we are screwed because we are west, we are the new slaves working for the eastern plantation owners, so just resign yourselves, bend over, and put on the K-Y Gel!"

kickslick
Posts: 2050

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votes: 16

Cuckoo, prayer prayer

Exactly.

Will rep you later though Very Happy

DOBERMAN
Casual Laker Fan
Posts: 179
votes: 0

I see what you're saying Cuck, but I have a small issue with your logic.... The NBA sets the regular season schedule well in advance of the regular season and therefore they have no way of predicting who will be over/under the .500 mark. I mean, yes, you can predict that the "bottom-feeder" teams (Cleveland, NJ, Wolves, etc.) will struggle and will prob be below the even point, but at the same time you always have teams who no one expected to do well. I personally did not expect PHX, HOU, MEM, and especially PHI to be at (or over) .500 due to their injuries / rebuilding but here we are with less than 10 games to go and they are.

On the same token you have teams that "should" be over such as Utah and NY but they are not. Same logic applies here.

In anycase I hope you guys see what Im trying to say Very Happy

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
Location: Italy
votes: 114

There is nothing wrong with my logical exegesis of the situation. Certainly, I see what you are trying to say. It is a variant of what the League spin-doctors would say.

What I am saying is that the structure in Conferences is implicitly fallacious and founded on a false premise, and that it almost always lends itself to this sort of discrimination. I can even hypothesize the contrary, that is, let's say that it is the Eastern Conference that is dominant, and if I was a fan of one of the top teams of the Eastern Conference, I would be picking a bone with the same thing, the structure in Conferences because in that case it would be the Western teams to have the cupcake treatment to the detriment of the Eastern Teams. It is the artificious segregation of the 30 teams into two semi-autonomous groups that directly create the problem. Therefore, I say do away with it. Remove this artificial separation. Have every team play each other three times a year. No more cupcake schedule for anybody. No more favoritism for anybody. Everybody gets a much closer shot at having a truly equal treatment among the franchises. In this manner any attempt to predict from year to year which teams will be better, or worse, or stay the same, would be a total waste of time, it just would not matter, because everybody would have to play each other team three times. It would be much more fair than the present situation.

GhostNugget
Laker GM
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Location: Northridge, CA
votes: 16

The East, when traveling west, gains hours while the west traveling east loose hours.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
Location: Italy
votes: 114

^Yes, they are called Time Zones! I fail to understand what you are driving at with this observation.

XiaoFeiDao
Big-Time Laker Fan
Posts: 913
votes: 3

Cuckooroller,

You are a good thinker, pay attention to details. I wonder how many people would even notice and care about the current system flaw. Kudos to you.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
Location: Italy
votes: 114

^Appreciated. I like to think that I can put two and two together, and get four.

kickslick
Posts: 2050

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votes: 16

lol

And with regards to the L not being able to know who might play well or suck before the season, that's absolute BS. Over a decade of dominance ought to count for something! Evil or Very Mad West punked East since MJ left and the new age Celts arrived. And even then, over the course of 13 years, only two-three ( I forgot..... ) East teams won the title. And the records of the team speak for themselves during these years AS AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE. East still is a top heavy team. But West still boasts of the most depth.

blndlfty01
Big-Time Laker Fan
Posts: 960
votes: 6

As much as I would want to see the disintegration of conferences and have each team play each other 3 times, I just don't see the League and the NBA Players' Association wanting to do this. The expenses to travel cross-country for teams will increase and players will just hate the toll of traveling more.

Instead of doing away of the two conferences, the league should get rid of divisions. The Lakers are the only team over .500 in the Pacific and the Bulls have 20 more wins than the 2nd place team in their division, the Pacers. This will get rid of the stupid tie breaker rules and have the best teams ranked accordingly in the playoffs.

Also, this conference bias would be easily solved if the team cut down on the number of teams in the league and evenly disperse the talent. Get rid of 2 to 4 under-performing teams hold a lottery draft for their players.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
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votes: 114

^I'm not too sure that the travel costs would increase. Remember we already have to travel twice to middle-american teams in our Conference, near the Great Lakes, Texas, etc. and we would lose some of those transfers with the cutting down of the games against those teams. Will have to do a bit of calculation, but somehow I just don't think it would be that much more, remembering that for the most eastern teams, the ones now in the Eastern Conference when we would have to play them twice on their floor, we would not make two trips to those cities, we would just make one, and play the games in sequence.

blndlfty01
Big-Time Laker Fan
Posts: 960
votes: 6

^The money lost in travel may not be as much but the revenue lost in playing a horrible team across the country is quite significant. The Lakers usually have no problem with this as they almost always sell out arenas. But when the Clippers go to Cleveland, they'd be fortunate to break even in profits. Having mid-level teams play other mid-level teams more often will be to the detriment of the NBA.

That's not to say that I don't agree with you like. I definitely like the idea of an even playing field. How about the League cut back on the number of teams, restructure and populate the two conferences before every season, taking geography and the previous season's record into account?

cuckooroller
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votes: 114

^If you follow any of my posting, then you know that I have been promoting those very ideas for a long time. However, I am attacking just this problem at the moment.

For the rest, and to give a fast summary, I think the League should be contracted to 24 teams, and that the remaining too small demographics should be located to venues that support them population-wise. As far as moving the teams around, well, sooner or later you wind up with the same situation as now. It is the structure in Conferences that screws the pooch.

However, I realize from a lot of the responses, that there are a lot of people that simply like discriminatory systems. It is rather sad. These people should have to explain it to the poor little Golden State fan with tears in his eyes, and then see how much they support this system! Explain to him that he is just second-rate by being born on the wrong side of the tracks while the swells on the eastern side are just blowing raspberrys at him and because they are priviledged people, that they are just better than he is.

DOBERMAN
Casual Laker Fan
Posts: 179
votes: 0

kickslick wrote:
cuckooroller wrote:
^Appreciated. I like to think that I can put two and two together, and get four.

lol

And with regards to the L not being able to know who might play well or suck before the season, that's absolute BS. Over a decade of dominance ought to count for something! Evil or Very Mad West punked East since MJ left and the new age Celts arrived. And even then, over the course of 13 years, only two-three ( I forgot..... ) East teams won the title. And the records of the team speak for themselves during these years AS AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE. East still is a top heavy team. But West still boasts of the most depth.

So the league is unfair because the West has stronger teams? lol. The East dominated during MJ's era, then the West dominated, and now the power is shifting towards the East again. Its not something to cry foul over because the league does not control the strength of each conference.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
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votes: 114

^Yes instead, it is something to cry foul. The League established the structure of Conferences knowing full well that it is a potentially discriminatory structure. That is their responsability. They could have not done it. They could have opted for a fair structure. This is the consequence of their actions. It is obvious that the present situation is extremely unfair to the Western Conference. Hypothetically, it could be the Eastern Conference to be at the disadvantage, but the argument would remain the same. It is an unfair system. It was unfair when it was farted out by the League, and it will remain unfair as long as it exists.

DOBERMAN
Casual Laker Fan
Posts: 179
votes: 0

So are you irritated with the fact that Western teams play .500+ teams more often because our conference is stronger or are you not pleased with the fact that you have weak teams making it to the playoffs from the East when stronger Western teams are left out?

Like I've said before regarding the power shifts: Just wait a few years until the East gets tougher and our schedule will get "easier" since we will have more sub .500 teams to play against.

cuckooroller
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votes: 114

No, I am irritated on principle by discrimination. This is a structure that promotes discrimination. I like fair play. I like an even playing field for every franchise. This should not be a revolutionary idea!

I want the Conference structure abolished because that is why the system is discriminatory.

Everybody should have the same shot as every other franchise, every year! That is fair, and this is not.

I would be perorating this cause even if it was the Eastern Conference to be dominant. It is simply an unfair system.

blndlfty01
Big-Time Laker Fan
Posts: 960
votes: 6

Quote:

So are you irritated with the fact that Western teams play .500+ teams more often because our conference is stronger or are you not pleased with the fact that you have weak teams making it to the playoffs from the East when stronger Western teams are left out?

Like I've said before regarding the power shifts: Just wait a few years until the East gets tougher and our schedule will get "easier" since we will have more sub .500 teams to play against.

Quote:

No, I am irritated on principle by discrimination. This is a structure that promotes discrimination. I like fair play. I like an even playing field for every franchise. This should not be a revolutionary idea!

Totally agree with cuck on this. The argument is not a matter of throwing a tantrum because the West has a tougher schedule. It's quite understood that the power shifts back and forth every decade or so, but it doesn't make it fair. As much as I want to see the Lakers win every championship I want them to win on an even playing field. I don't want an East team to win the championship and a West fan arguing that they won because they didn't have to face a much tougher playoff schedule.

vinny808
Die-Hard Laker Fan
Age: 26
Posts: 1876
votes: 14

Call me a conservative but I like East vs West. There's just too many history behind it. I like the clashes, the rivalries. And no, I would not want to face the Celtics in the first round of the "New Order Conference."

Besides, how can one accurately predict the strength of next year's teams? In the West, 3 playoff teams from last year have fallen while another three have risen. The same happend to the East. The opponents the Lakers challenged this year may be due to the random fact that the opponents they challenged simply got better. Who is it say in a "New" conference, there will be an equal strength in opponents for every team? That is certainly not possible. Even in a "new" conference, every year, some teams will have a schedule advantage over others.

Plus, although the Lakers challenged more .500 teams this year over their Eastern counterparts, who is to say the Lakers had the worse schedule? We did not consider other factors when determining difficulty of schedule which should have included: difficulty of road trips, amount back to back games, # of times in a season where team plays 4 games in 6 nights, etc.)

All these factors must be considered when determining difficulty of schedule and cannot base it on amount of .500 teams alone, which may be generated due to the random rise and fall of teams in a season.

This season, in my opinion, the Lakers have had one of their easiest schedules compared to other seasons in the past. For one, they have one of the fewest back to back games out of all NBA teams. I don't blame their current record due to # of .500 teams but due to THEIR LACK OF EFFORT. Lakers were given a fairly easy schedule in the begining of the season, and if you take a look, Lakers have many of their losses due to medocre teams: Jazz, Suns, Pacers, Bucks, Clippers, Sacramento, CLEVELAND (OMFG). Had the Lakers taken these teams seriously, or even won 3 of the games mentioned above, we would not be having this discussion. Bottom line, the Lakers are in the position they are in now because of effort, not schedule. If you ever watched a Bulls game, (I have watched many), these guys play with passion, intensity, and do work on both ends of the court. The Bulls have played this way for the entire season, and deserve the position they are in now.

Another question to ponder: If # of .500 teams played was a significant factor affecting a teams chances of making it to the playoffs, shouldn't Spurs, Lakers and Dallas have fewer wins then Miami, Celtics, Orlando? That fact that Spurs, Lakers, and Dallas have challenged more .500 teams and have the 3 of the 4 best records in the NBA indicates that the amount of .500 teams is not as significant as we think. Many many other factors are involved.

cuckooroller
LTB HOF Silver
Posts: 12411
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votes: 114

^Will respond later. Just an observation as to the last paragraph. You don't allow for the possibility that the teams that played more good teams are simply better teams overall, but that the fact that they are basically tied with the top tier eastern teams means that they were dragged down there to this virtual tie, rather than being ahead record-wise simply because the eastern teams were playing creampuffs at the same time we were playing real teams.

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