Keeler: NBA’s East is least

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

In the NFL this season, the NFC East was more like the NFC Least and now it appears the NBA has the Leastern Conference.

In case you haven’t looked at the NBA standings lately, I can assure you if you have a favorite team in the East they have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs — that’s how bad almost all the teams are.

Of course, at the top it’s Indiana and Miami. The Pacers just beat the Heat this week in their first matchup of the season. There’s no question that will be the two teams in the Eastern Conference finals (can we just go ahead and play it?).

Indiana looks really strong right now, and the Pacers just might be the team that keeps the Heat from the three-peat.

However, as far as the rest of the conference is concerned who knows how that will shape up. Right now Atlanta is in third in the conference at 11-11. Yes, that’s .500 for the mathematically challenged.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for my favorite team, the Boston Celtics. The Celtics lost a coach, three old guys in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, and point guard Rajon Rondo is still recovering from his torn anterior cruciate ligament. It was supposed to be a bad year, and many fans were hoping the Celtics would get a lottery pick.

It turns out the hire of Brad Stevens has been a good one, and in the mighty Atlantic Division, the Celtics are in first place with a sterling 10-14 record.

The Washington Wizards and their 9-11 record are currently sixth (start saving money for those playoff tickets now Wizards’ fans). In front of them are the Charlotte Bobcats (10-12), with the Detroit Pistons (10-12) right behind them in seventh.

The Chicago Bulls, once again without Derrick Rose, are bringing up the rear of the playoff teams right now.

There’s still a long ways to go — the season is only around 25 percent over, but I don’t know that many of these teams will get that much better. Two of the teams that are currently on the outside looking in are the Brooklyn Nets (I bet Pierce and Garnett wish they were still in Boston now) and the New York Knicks. The two teams have a combined 13-29 record.

I’m not sure exactly why the Eastern Conference is so bad, but one would think at least a few teams might eventually make their way to .500. I’m all for parity, but this takes it to a whole new extreme.

The Western Conference is much tougher with three really strong teams at the top: Portland (not sure what to make of them), San Antonio and Oklahoma City. There are 11 teams that are at least .500.

I will say if things continue the way they are now, I like the winner of the Eastern Conference (that would be either the Pacers or the Heat) to win it all. They should certainly have a much easier path to get to the NBA Finals.

If nothing else it’s shaping up to be an interesting season in the NBA, and for once everybody in the East has a chance to make the postseason.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd