You said in the interview that the Hawks would be on the fringe on making the playoffs if they were in the Western Conference. Is it me, or is saying that a little unfair and not quite accurate? While the West has 9 good teams that could beat anyone, the last 7 teams are so bad that only Washington in the East has a worse record. Every other team in the East besides the Wizards have better records than the West's # 10-16. So while the Western conference is difficult, each team in the West has 3-4 games for each of the 7 lower teams that are 90% locked. The Hawks in the West would have 21-24 very winnable games.Compare that to the East, where there is no major fall off besides going from Orlando to the Hawks. Only Washington in the East is a 90% winnable game. Charlotte-New York, while certainly winnable for a team like the Hawks, is more like 60-80% winnable. Let's say 70%. The Hawks would then have 24-32 fairly winnable games, although these teams can be killer at times. Also, besides the Lakers, the East has the top 3 teams. That yields 9-12 very unlikely games (ATL won 2). Being in the East, the Hawks only got to have 12 of the 24 90% winnable games from the West.
That's a good point and one about which I likely allowed myself to be a bit flip given the format. Still, I think my position is a fair one. The Hawks have fairly similar records against playoff (11-13 vs. East, 8-8 vs. West) and non-playoff teams (17-9 vs. East, 9-4 vs. West) from both conferences.I don't think there's enough difference in the difficulty of the schedules (ESPN.com gives the Hawks the 3rd most difficult schedule but there's little difference but 27 teams are within one-hundredth of a point of each other so I'm not sure that's statistically significant.) to assume that the Hawks would be a safe bet to make the playoffs in the East. They'd have to play 3 games better just to have a half-game lead for the final spot.
The West is too deep. We likely wouldn't even sniff the playoffs in that conference.
Bret---I thought you were right on the money---It's no sin to state where we believe the team to be---the error would be to state something different from your conviction---
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