Although it seems like the case every year, there are actually more reasons than ever to get psyched for what's sure to be a phenomenal slate of Western Conference playoff games this season.
Every potential matchup has its own built-in intrigue and if you're into storylines, put on your reading glasses—there are enough here to fill a few volumes.
A handful of potentially scary first-round matchups for the West's top seeds are just the beginning. As the playoffs roll on, potential upsets and late-developing dark-horse contenders could also take center stage.
And we haven't even gotten to the ultimate wild card: the Los Angeles Lakers. What if Kobe Bryant and Co. suddenly start firing on all cylinders? Who knows how much damage they could do this spring?
Go ahead and watch the Miami Heat run a one-horse race in the Eastern Conference if you want—everyone knows there'll be eight thoroughbreds charging toward the finish in the vastly more competitive West.
Here's a primer on the biggest reasons to be excited for this year's wild West playoff showdown.