How bad can you be to grab a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Pretty Bad.
If the playoffs were to start today, four teams with records under .500 would make the cut: the Washington Wizards, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Atlanta Hawks, and the New Jersey Nets.
If that's not bad enough, there is even a race for these playoff spots among teams with losing records. The Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks are only 2.5 games out of the playoffs.
The Miami Heat, a team with only 11 wins, is only 14 games back. That's how ugly the Eastern Conference is.
Now if you shift to the Western Conference.
You will see that if the postseason started today, then two teams with records over .500 would not make the playoffs: the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trailblazers.
If these same two teams were in the Eastern Conference, they would easily make the playoffs as of right now. The Nuggets would be in fourth place and the Trailblazers would be in sixth.
In the Western Conference, the eighth-place team is 16 games over .500. In the Eastern Conference, the eight seed is 11 games under .500.
The Eastern Conference is a weak league that probably will not improve in the near future. Maybe the Nuggets and Trailblazers should think about a team move.