Detroit was a beast when Byron Scott was a player. Boston and Philadelphia, too. And Chicago later in his career.
But the Eastern Conference is now clearly inferior to the West, the latest sampling a 106-96 Lakers victory Tuesday over the Pistons.
The Lakers might be the best East-West barometer out there. They are 4-0 against the East, 1-13 vs. the West.
"It would be nice if we were in the East right now. We'd be right there," said Scott, the Lakers' coach.
The Lakers would be only three games out of a playoff spot. Brooklyn (7-9) is currently eighth in the East.
"The last couple of years, teams that get to the playoffs in the East at the sixth, seventh and eighth spot, sometimes even five, have losing records," Scott said.
Nick Young couldn't resist discussing it (of course). A personal plug came with it.
"The West is tough. Every night, it's an All-Star [game], really," he said. "That's why it's so tough to pick the All-Star team. Got so many people to choose from. According to myself, I think I should be an All-Star."
The Lakers' three-game East trip continues Wednesday at Washington (11-5) and concludes Friday at Boston (4-11).
Pau Gasol might not be the only free agent the Lakers miss.
Jodie Meeks had a career year and parlayed it into a huge raise, leaving the Lakers last July for a three-year, $19.5-million deal with the Pistons.
He more than quadrupled the $1.6 million he made while averaging a career-high 15.7 points and 2.1 three-pointers last season.
But Meeks, 27, can't show his new team what he can offer. He hasn't played this season, and the Pistons are desperate for his outside touch and underrated driving ability. He's eager to be medically cleared soon after sustaining a stress reaction in his back in mid-October.
"It's kind of frustrating, wanting to be out there to help out," Meeks said Tuesday. "This was a good situation for me. It still is."
Meeks signed very quickly in free agency, before the Lakers met with Carmelo Anthony and the agent for LeBron James.
The Lakers eventually might have re-signed him, like they did in giving Jordan Hill two years and $18 million, but it was hard for Meeks to say no to the Pistons' immediate offer.
He still stays in touch with Kobe Bryant, sending him occasional text messages.
"Especially a couple of weeks ago when they were struggling," Meeks said. "I just encouraged him to try to keep his head up. He said he appreciated it. Kobe is a guy who's always fired up about any little thing. He's played well. I'm happy for him."
Scott hadn't yet been hired to coach the Lakers when Meeks left but he remembered his reaction when it happened.
"It was simple. It was, 'Damn,'" Scott said. "I like the way Jodie played. He was always known as a catch-and-shoot guy but I saw him increase his game last year."
When: 4 PST.
Where: Verizon Center.
On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 5-13, Wizards 11-5.
Record vs. Wizards (2013-14): 0-2.
Update: The Wizards are playing solid basketball, though their record is a little deceiving with several victories against well-below-.500 teams. Regardless, point guard John Wall is off to a great start, averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 assists. The Wizards completed a two-game series sweep of the Lakers for the first time ever last season.