The first quarter of any given NBA game is rarely definitive. So as we come upon those "if the playoffs were today" thoughts, it's important to keep things in perspective.
Because if the playoffs were today, the Los Angeles Lakers would be out and the Minnesota TImberwolves would be in. Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks would be on the verge of missing the playoffs, and the New York Knicks would have the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
While some of these teams will remain on their current paths, it's unrealistic to believe that things won't change, as reality and the law of averages allow more familiar teams to get back in the playoff picture.
But as it stands prior to Dec. 11, here are the playoff seedings, with a breakdown of what has brought each team to this point.