It’s no secret that the Western Conference and Eastern Conference currently lack parity. But this year might have the biggest disparity yet.
We broke this down by looking at the 15 players who received All-NBA nods. Per our research, 12 are on rosters in the West while just three are under contract in the East.
The league took measures to remedy the All-Star Game, altering the process so that the exhibition match was more exciting. But even with the new rollout of captains drafting their teammates, it certainly does nothing to change the competitive balance of the conference schedules and which teams make the playoffs.
The West has had more stacked rosters for the past twenty years. But all five of the All-NBA 1st Team selections from last season are in the West for the first time in over a decade (2007-08) now that LeBron James has switched conferences.
DeMar DeRozan, who was named to the All-NBA 2nd Team last year, will play outside the East for the first time in his career next season. As such, the only players who received the honor last season who will return to the conference are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Victor Oladipo.
Of course, neither Embiid nor Oladipo project as MVP candidates next year. Antetokounmpo seems like he could make the jump, though there is plenty of room for growth.
It’s fully possible that Kawhi Leonard, now in the East, could return to full health during his first campaign with the Toronto Raptors. If so, he’s a prime candidate for All-NBA 1st Team due to his remarkable skill on both sides of the ball.
There are some in the East who could receive an All-NBA nod next year but didn’t last season at least in some part due to injury include Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward as well as New York’s Kristaps Porzingis.
Other players who may emerge as candidates include Ben Simmons, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Blake Griffin and perhaps even Kevin Love now that he’s the leading option for Cleveland.
Otherwise, however, it’s possible that we just see a major talent imbalance between the two conferences. We saw something similar in 2015-16 when the only players who made All-NBA selections from the East besides James were Andre Drummond and Kyle Lowry.
But since the 2005-06 season, our research shows that the West has always had more players make All-NBA than the East. The closest we’ve seen since then was 2006-07 when the breakdown was eight from the West and seven from the East.
During the 2008-09 season, the East had more All-NBA 1st Team players (James was joined by Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard) than the West had. But the only other All-NBA selection was Paul Pierce and the other 11 players were all from the West. This trend is far from new, even if this season seems more drastic than ever before.
Alberto del Roa contributed research to this report
DunkWire, Evergreen, Top, Al Horford, Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Goran Dragic, James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kemba Walker, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Klay Thompson, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo