Just how bad is the Atlantic Divison?
Nearly one third of the way into the season, the Nets are looking like an abject failure, currently sitting at 9-19, good for 4th place in by far the NBA's weakest division, and trailing 4 other teams in the race for the final playoff spot in the East.
Despite that level of mediocrity, the Nets are only 3 games out of the lead for the Atlantic Division, which would gain them the #4 seed.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation put together a great graphic showing just how bad the Atlantic has been, based on margin of victory. Or, in this case, margin of defeat.
This chart also shows just how much better the Western Conference is overall. All three WC divisions have a higher point differential than all three of the Eastern Conference divisions.
Another cool note: The Detroit Pistons are currently 14-16, putting them 10 games behind the Indiana Pacers, current Central division leaders. If the Pistons were in the abysmal Atlantic, they'd be in first place by 3 games. Maybe more, since they might play a few more awful teams.
In this case, it's just a bit of a coincidence. Some intentionally bad teams are in the Atlantic, as well as some injury-ravaged teams, with Brooklyn and New York. This year is making a great case for abandoning divisions and conferences, and just taking the top 16 teams to make the playoffs.