The NBA's Western Conference is highly competitive and of its three divisions, the Southwest is the one full of the most talent.
Of the five teams within that division, three made the postseason last year. Even more impressive, four teams finished over .500. Nothing against the Pacific or Northwest Divisions, but the Southwest has a talent level that is hard for any division in the NBA to match.
Best of all—thanks to the equal revenue sharing legislated by the new CBA—each of these five teams has a legitimate chance of contending for the playoffs in 2012-13. Not every team will make the postseason, but each will certainly put up a fight.
Keep in mind, the Southwest is home to the Dallas Mavericks, just two years removed from their first NBA championship. Now that Dirk Nowitzki once again has a pretty reliable center in Chris Kaman and a good supporting cast on top of that, there's no reason to believe that the Mavs won't once again make some noise this season.
Of course, being that this is the Western Conference, Dallas making the playoffs out of the Southwest is anything but guaranteed. In fact, the final Southwest standings may have the biggest surprises in the entire NBA.