The only teams that matter are the ones that get in and, unfortunately for some, that number is limited to eight.
So I won't waste much time discussing the teams that won't make the playoffs, but I will salute them all, and wish them well until next year.
Minnesota, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Sacramento, the other Los Angeles team, and the Houston Rockets will not be blessing us with their presence this year.
In fact a couple of those teams, namely Minnesota, and Sacramento, have no way of making the postseason unless hell froze over.
The other teams are close, but due to multiple factors such as, coaching, lack of talent, team chemistry, and youth, they will finish in the bottom half and just miss the playoffs.
The eight that will make it are familiar, because every team, save one, was there last year. Phoenix is the only newcomer to the bunch.
I'm sure that most people have a variation of this list, but let me know how yours may differ from mine and where you would place the teams. Let the show begin.
Utah is familiar with this spot, because it's where they finished last season, en route to an early summer.
I have said before that the Jazz did not make any significant roster moves in the offseason, and that is why they inherit this seed.
Jerry Sloan and a strong core of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Paul Milsap, and Mehmet Okur, will keep the Jazz competitive and in contention throughout the season.
In the end though, the other teams in the West added parts that vastly upgraded their rosters, and left the Jazz faced with the prospects of having mirror seasons.
The eighth seed is not even guaranteed for the Jazz, because there are teams such as Houston, Memphis, and possibly Golden State, waiting to benefit if the Jazz should falter.
A return to the up-tempo style should benefit Phoenix and help them return to the playoffs after missing last season.
They will be an offensive machine with the venerable Steve Nash leading the way. The frenetic pace plays to the athletic Suns' talents, and with a healthy Amare Stoudemire you can't go wrong.
However the same problems that have plagued Phoenix in the past will continue to plague them this season.
Namely, the Suns play no defense, at all. For them to possibly move up a place or two, that will have to change, and that's not likely to happen.
Nash may be the worst defensive point guard in the NBA, and their other superstar, Stoudemire, doesn't seem at all interested in the defensive aspects of the game, unless it's blocking a shot.
This seed could change depending on the health of Stoudemire, and forward Grant Hill. Both have shown a tendency to get injured, and the Suns could not afford to lose either player.
Chris Paul will keep New Orleans in the hunt on the strength of his marvelous skills. Paul is arguably the best point guard in the league, and the addition of Emeka Okafor, gives Paul a legitimate post threat.
The Hornets probably have the talent to be placed a few spots higher, but they are known for failing to compete under pressure.
A sixth place finish will probably pit them in a rematch with the Denver Nuggets. Would they be able to respond to the whipping they received from Denver last season?
It's now or never for the Mavericks, and owner Mark Cuban, sensing the urgency, made some moves that should upgrade their roster and keep them in the chase for a top playoff spot.
The biggest one was getting Shawn Marion, who should improve Dallas on the boards and on defense.
He is also another wing player that can get out on the break, and provide an easy outlet to point guard Jason Kidd, who just signed a contract extension himself.
Dirk Nowitzki remains one of the premier players in the game, and forward Josh Howard is as good as they come.
With Jason Terry providing instant offense off the bench, the Mavericks could surprise some teams, and move up a little higher.
That will depend on a commitment to defense, an area that has hampered Dallas in the past.
Portland is a team I feel could finish as high as second and will drop no lower than fourth. In a word, the young Blazers are loaded.
Their roster is filled with talent from top to bottom, but most of those players are young and somewhat inexperienced.
Their core of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden gained valuable experience in the playoffs last season, and the addition of guard Andre Miller should help center them.
For Portland, the sky is the limit and if it can manage to blend that talent with some chemistry, they could be knocking on the doors of the their top competitors.
Their main struggles will come on the defensive end, and in trying to find minutes for all of their talented players.
Somehow, I get the feeling that finding minutes for players of this caliber is not really a bad problem to have.
Chauncey Billups and his crew are back, trying to capture the same magic that propelled them into last year's No. 2, and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
This year's edition is a little different with the departure of Dahntay Jones, and the addition of Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson.
Denver will miss the defensive presence of Jones, but Afflalo is more athletic and more of a scoring threat.
Lawson will give Billups a blow, and his quickness will represent a drastic change of pace for the Nuggets.
They will run and run some more with Lawson in the game, taking advantage of his tremendous speed, strength, and vision in the open court.
Carmelo Anthony could be the best small forward in the game, and if J.R. Smith continues to develop, he could become one of the league's better shooting guards.
Denver shouldn't slip much from last year and remain a threat to capture the Western Conference throne.
The Spurs feel they have revamped their team, and are ready to challenge the Lakers for Western Conference supremacy.
On paper they have a pretty good argument, starting with the addition of forward Richard Jefferson.
Jefferson brings an athletic dimension to the Spurs that they have been missing for quite some time. He is able to shoot from distance, defend, and is good in transition.
Dejuan Blair may prove to be the steal of the draft, and adding Antonio McDyess is sure to keep the Spurs competitive in the post.
The question with the Spurs is the same one that's asked every year. Injuries have been something that has side-tracked the Spurs for the past couple of seasons.
In order to take advantage of their improved roster, key stars like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker have to stay healthy.
If the Spurs can manage to avoid the injuries, they can keep the Lakers in there sights, and possibly set up a much anticipated showdown in the spring.
In a perfect Laker universe, the boys from Tinseltown would win upwards of 70 games, challenge for the best record ever, and cruise through the playoffs.
None of that may happen, but in the real world, the Lakers are still the class of the Western Conference.
An already great team added one of the game's best defensive players in Ron Artest, and were able to re-sign forward Lamar Odom.
The Lakers can hurt you in many ways with Kobe Bryant leading the pack, and Pau Gasol nipping on his heels.
If Andrew Bynum can stay healthy, they have the best center in the conference, and their bench players can come in waves.
Their young bench benefited from last year's run to the championship, and the experience should help them going forward.
History is there for the taking for the talented Lakers, can they live up to their own huge expectations and grab it. The whole world awaits the answer.