The Eastern Conference – A two-horse race

As a basketball fan, is there a sadder sentence to read than “Derrick Rose is out for the season”?

2013-11-22-rose-injured

(Photo: Steve Dykes, USA TODAY Sports)

Unfortunately, Rose only made it 10 games into the season before a torn right meniscus and subsequent surgery ruled him out for the rest of this season. Back-to-back rehab on career derailing knee injuries during the prime of a promising career must be devastating to Rose. It’s also upsetting from a fan’s point of view. Not only because we don’t get to watch D-Rose tear up the court and complete a storied comeback, but also because the league lost a legitimate contender the moment he was declared done for the season.

Charles Barkley summed up the state of the East “If you make an All-Star team out of the rest of the players on the East, you still wouldn’t beat the Pacers or the Heat”.

Going into the season, the Eastern Conference had 3 legitimate contenders (Indiana, Miami and Chicago), with no clear standouts. In the playoffs, it was widely predicted that those 3 teams would make the conference semi’s meaning two of those teams would face off. Then if all went to plan, 2 of these 3 teams would clash in the conference finals. Now it seems most likely that the Pacers and the Heat will lock up the 1 & 2 seeds and not face each other till the Conf. Finals, robbing fans of a classic playoff series this post-season.

No other teams have emerged as legitimate threats to take out the East besides Frank Vogel’s Pacer squad and the LeBron-lead back-to-back champs down in South Beach. Both New York teams have stumbled out of the gates and are looking far from championship calibre. One month into the season and 13 out of the 15 teams in the East look like no shot of taking down the 2 Beasts of the East. At the moment, the East has 11 out of the 14 worst records in the league.  With Chicago essentially  out of the mix, this year’s East playoffs look to be a foregone conclusion up until the last series, which will hopefully produce another match-up for the ages.

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