Now that we're roughly more than a quarter of the way through, the league is settling into some kind of order. If your team is bad now, they're likely going to stay that way. If your team is good, you can take comfort in their probable continuation of the trend ("Woo! Probable continuation!" says no fan).
But what about the muddled middle? Between squads like Dallas, Minnesota, Milwaukee, and Houston, it's hard to know how the lower playoff seeds will shake out. It will take a bit longer to learn about these kinds of teams, especially the ones that have slogged through without the help of a superstar.
The Lakers continue to present a challenge to prognosticators, in part because they hail from the muddled middle. L.A. is also complicating the scene because of the talent it boasts. It's hard to tell a sleeping giant from a dead one.