The West has been known as the much deeper conference for quite a while, and with good reason. Good teams with winning records were not making the playoffs. In contrast, the bottom seed or two of the East would have records below .500 and still make it into the playoffs, to get slaughtered by the elite of the East. Our very own Hawks taking Boston to seven games is the closest upset I can think of in comparison to the upsets in the West such as Golden State over Dallas or San Antonio, again, over Dallas. Well, I think the times are changing. Think about the power shift that has occurred recently. With the Carmelo and D-Will trades, two elite players have come to the East from the West with little current production given in return. Let's look at the current all-stars and see where the future lies.
PG: Derrick Rose, Chicago, 22 years old
Rajon Rondo, Boston, 25 years old
SG: Dwayne Wade, Miami, 29 years old
Ray Allen, Boston, 35 years old
Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 29 years old
SF: Lebron James, Miami, 26 years old
Paul Pierce, Boston, 33 years old
PF: Amar'e Stoudemire, New York, 28 years old
Chris Bosh, Miami, 26 years old
Kevin Garnett, Boston, 34 years old
C: Dwight Howard, Orlando, 25 years old
Al Horford, Atlanta, 24 years old
PG: Chris Paul, New Orleans, 25 years old
Deron Williams, Utah/New Jersey, 26 years old
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 22 years old
Manu Ginobli, San Antonio, 33 years old
SF: Carmelo Anthony, Denver/New York, 26 years old
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City, 22 years old
PF: Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 34 years old
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, 32 years old
C: Yao Ming, Houston, 30 years old
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles (Lakers), 30 years old
Kevin Love, Minnesota, 22 years old
Obviously, two of the Western All-Stars have now moved to the East. Will any more switch conferences? Who and where? I doubt any more blockbuster trades will occur. No more switching sides until free agency (Yes, Chris Paul, this will be your circus, and your circus alone).
Let's compare ages here. Six of the Western All-Stars are in their thirties. Yao's career is pretty much over, but he will be voted in every year if his name is on the ballot. Duncan is starting to show his age. I don't think Manu has too much left in the tank. Dirk, Kobe, and Pau have a few good years left, but their level of play isn't getting any higher. Compare to the East where no one besides the Boston Three are in their thirties. After those three, Joe Johnson, D-Wade, and Amar'e are the old-timers. Crazy to think about.
Let's look at the future. There are some good, young players in the West that are already showing they can be great. Durant and Griffin are great. Love has a lot of potential, but the lack of play around him could make him one of those guys that puts up great numbers on bad teams. Westbrook has a little bit left to prove in my opinion, but he is playing at a high level pretty early in his career. Guys who might break through include Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Stephon Curry. Most of the others are complete toss-ups at this point. Favors and Cousins could be great, they could be busts. Bledsoe, maybe? Does anyone really see DeJuan Blair as an All-Star? There are some solid players like Lamarcus Aldridge, Monta Ellis, or David West. But I think the East is deeper.
Compare this to the East. Some of the dominant players in the East (Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose) are 26 or under. Horford, Rondo, and Bosh are all 26 or under as well. This doesn't even include some of the next crop of stars such as John Wall or Brandon Jennings. Guys on the cusp include Josh Smith, Andrew Bogut or Danny Granger. The East is stacked. From top to bottom, it now has better players and soon, better teams.