If you let your imagination loose when thinking about the midseason title chances for each Eastern Conference playoff contender, it's easy to get caught up in what could happen from now until June. Hope is a funny thing that way; it's sort of infectious, and it has a tendency to make us conflate what's possible with what's probable.
But when you really start to think critically about what's most likely to happen in this year's championship chase, it's pretty clear that only a handful of teams have any real shot at adding the NBA's most coveted piece of hardware to their trophy cases.
That'll come as a blow to fans of teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Those clubs are all in playoff position at the moment, but none have any realistic chance to win a ring.
And when you get down into the numbers, it's interesting to note that even a team with as much hype and marquee talent as the New York Knicks has less than a 10 percent chance of being the last squad standing this spring.
Just getting to the playoffs is tough enough, but in order to go all the way, teams need the proper mix of star power, defensive prowess and coaching acumen. As you'll see, that's an exceedingly rare combination of ingredients.
Prepare for a dose of reality. We've crunched the numbers, factored in the variables and embraced cold objectivity. Here are the title chances for each Eastern Conference playoff contender.
*All stats accurate through games played Jan. 31, 2013