Before the season I mentioned that, as usual, the Western Conference is much better than the Eastern Conference. Something else rather obvious is worth mentioning: Most of this year's best players are in the West.
LeBron James is the best player on the planet, but you can make an argument that the next best five or six players in the league are all in the other Conference, especially if we are using regular season output as a barometer. With Dwyane Wade slightly slowed by injuries, and Derrick Rose out, the MVP voting order would probably look something like this if the season ended today: James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, James Harden.
We can debate which stars have had a better year, but looking at the All-Star rosters gives a more sobering big picture: The Western Conference is just so much more loaded up top.
Listen, I love Wade as much as anyone, and Carmelo Anthony is having a very good year. Both those guys could be potentially better than any other player during the playoffs. But in terms of superstars carrying the load during the regular season, it's mainly the stars out West. James and Tyson Chandler are the only Eastern Conference players to rank in the top ten in Win Shares. And Brook Lopez has the second highest PER in the Eastern Conference. That's pretty much all you need to know.
So let's give props to the aforementioned Western Conference stars, as well as guys like Russell Westbrook, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol. They are all playing at a higher level this year than just about anybody in the Eastern Conference - with one big exception.