Portland Trail Blazers Ask if They Can Join the Eastern Conference

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 4 2013 4:04 PM

Portland Trail Blazers Ask if They Can Join the Eastern Conference

It's easy to win in the East.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Three cheers for whoever runs the Portland Trail Blazers' social media operation for this tweet:


The joke, for those of you who aren't NBA regular-season addicts, is that the Eastern Conference is full of garbage teams. My Washington Wizards are currently in third place in the East with a 9–9 record. There are 10 teams in the Western Conference with a better record than that, followed by two 9–9 teams. It's totally ridiculous.

I've seen a few people casting around for ideas to either reform the way the playoffs work or somehow otherwise deal with the situation. But as best I can tell, the only way to fix the persistent—and worsening—imbalance in the conferences is to totally ditch the basic structure of North American sports and move to a promotion-relegation system like they use in Europe. In the short term, obviously, the decisive factor in team success is the quality of the players. But in the longer team, the decisive quality in team success is the quality of the owners and managers. The East is just jam-packed with owners who are really good at squandering financial resources (Knicks, Nets) or top draft talent (Orlando, Cleveland), and there's no way to fix that.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.