As exciting as college basketball and March Madness always is, there is nothing like the NBA—especially during the playoffs.
It is pure entertainment watching the best athletes in the world compete for several weeks in hopes of claiming the coveted Larry O'Brien Trophy.
For NBA fans, it was a stressful offseason with the potential of a full-year lockout, but fortunately, the owners and players came to their senses.
Here is a power ranking of the 10 teams most likely to win this year. Enjoy.
Technically, it was a major upset when the Spurs lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, but many saw this coming because the Spurs are an aging team.
Manu Ginobili is still a potent scorer, but the most obvious reason for San Antonio's decline is Tim Duncan. Duncan averaged a career low 13.4 points per game last season. Without more scoring from their leader, it will be very difficult for the Spurs to win another NBA championship.
The addition of swing-forward Kawhi Leonard is promising, as he is a skillful all-around player who can make an immediate impact.
Atlanta has consistently made the playoffs, but has failed to show they can make an NBA Finals appearance.
The Hawks have many talented players such as scorer Joe Johnson and the athletic Josh Smith.
The most important piece to the puzzle for Atlanta to find more success is young Jeff Teague.Teague only averaged 5.2 points per game in the regular season last year, but showed his talents in the playoffs, averaging 11.8 points per game.
If Teague manages to secure more playing time, Atlanta could improve, but the Hawks are still a team a few players away from going deeper in the playoffs.
Last year, the Grizzlies became the fourth team in NBA history to beat the No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to a more talented Oklahoma City Thunder team, but pushed them to a tight seven-game series.
It is important to remember this historic playoff run was accomplished without one of their star players, Rudy Gay. Gay is one of their better defensive players and provides nearly 20 points per game.
If Memphis can re-sign key role players Marc Gasol and Shane Battier, the Grizzlies could make a run deep into the playoffs again.
Rajon Rondo appears to be staying this year, while the Big 3 are likely in one of their final years as a trio.
Jeff Green needs to perform up to expectations to validate the trade that shipped bruiser Kendrick Perkins away.
Simply put, there are many questions surrounding this Celtics squad.
Supposedly, Rajon Rondo is a sensitive fellow (based on President Obama's critique). If Obama got in his head, the constant trade rumors will likely have an even more damaging effect.
If the Celtics do not acquire a big-name free agent in the middle like Tyson Chandler, it will be very difficult for Boston to return to the finals. Experience does count, though, which is why the Celtics still have an outside chance at the title.
New York lost in the first round of the playoffs last year, but expectations are high for the 2011-2012 season.
The Knicks have plenty of talent, and the duo of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony will surely improve with more experience playing together.
A healthy Chauncey Billups in the playoffs will also be a great help.
New York will be an exciting team to watch, but they are still a few players—and possibly a different coach—away from reaching the finals. Does anyone actually believe Mike D'Antoni's style of basketball translates into true playoff success?
However, if the Knicks get Chris Paul during the year, New York will become one of the favorites to win.
Dallas will have a very difficult time repeating this season. They are in jeopardy of losing two of their most important players in Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler.
This team is not getting any younger, especially Jason Kidd. It is hard to imagine Kidd playing as well as he did in the playoffs last year.
J.J. Barea is an exciting spark plug for the team, but he is too small to be a legitimate starting point guard.
Dallas still has a chance, though, because of Dirk Nowitzki.
Derrick Rose will only continue to improve, which is bad news for opposing teams. However, every star needs help.
Chicago is a great team, but needs help at the shooting guard position.
Their defense is clearly one of the best in the NBA, but at times, they are too dependent on Rose to create offense. A solid 2-guard could take pressure off Rose.
Until they acquire a legitimate scoring threat, it will be hard for the Bulls to win an NBA championship.
Carlos Boozer needs to play better as well.
Watching the Lakers implode last year was surprising for many fans. Andrew Bynum embarrassed himself in the playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.
However, the Lakers still have Kobe Bryant, who, at times, is still the best player in the NBA. If Kobe and Pau Gasol can improve their chemistry, Los Angeles is still one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
New coach Mike Brown will have to be prepared to coach a player with a strong personality. Ultimately, Kobe's health will be the key to the Lakers' postseason success.
Two things will happen by the end of this decade: Kevin Durant will win an MVP award, and Oklahoma City will win an NBA championship.
They will definitely be in the hunt this year. There is too much talent on this team not to make an impact in the playoffs.
Everyone knows what Kevin Durant can do with the basketball, but it is more important that young players like Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden continue to develop.
As Westbrook develops more into a pure point guard, this team will become nearly unstoppable on offense. Harden showed flashes of brilliance in the playoffs and will likely receive more playing time over Thabo Sefolosha.
Thunder fans have reason to be excited for the 2011-2012 season.
As much as it pains me to place this team at the No. 1 spot, the Miami Heat are the favorites to win next year.
The Heat did not start gelling hot until the second half of the 2010-2011 season, and their chemistry will only improve throughout this season.
If LeBron James allows Dwyane Wade to take over games in crunch time, Miami will be a difficult team to beat in a seven-game playoff series. Wade has shown in the past that he can take over a game when it counts the most.
LeBron showed his signature struggles late in the fourth quarter and displays a tendency to fade when his team needs him the most.
If Miami acquires Steve Nash or Tyson Chandler, this team will be nearly unbeatable.