Sweet-shooting Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the best record, an unmatched home-court advantage, and the understanding that means nothing now.
"We had a great home record and did some historic things, but that doesn't get you any extra points in the playoffs," Curry said.
The Warriors (67-15) were the NBA's best this season. LeBron James has been on top before, though never in Cleveland. And don't forget the Spurs, even though you have to look far down the West standings to find them.
When the NBA postseason opens this weekend, there will be plenty of championship contenders but perhaps no clear favorite.
"I got no idea who's going to win the championship. This is the most convoluted I've ever seen the NBA as far as, I've got no idea," Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said.
With James gone from Miami, so are the days of penciling in one half of the NBA Finals matchup. The Heat reached the last four Finals, winning two of them, before James returned to Cleveland last July.
The Cavaliers don't even have the best record in the Eastern Conference, finishing in second place behind Atlanta. But they have rolled through the second half of the season so easily it's hard not to consider this No. 2 as the one.
"We have an opportunity to do something special and that kicks off this weekend," James said.
The Cavaliers start Sunday against Boston, a familiar foe for James and the one that ended his last postseason in a Cavaliers uniform.
The playoffs begin today with four games: Washington visits Toronto in the opener before the Warriors, 39-2 at home during the regular season, host Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
After that come two short trips: Milwaukee travels to Chicago and Dallas heads to Houston.
On Sunday, Atlanta hosts Brooklyn, Portland visits Memphis, and the Los Angeles Clippers welcome San Antonio for the opener of what appears to be the marquee first-round series.
The Spurs overwhelmed James and the Heat in last year's Finals. They ended up with the No. 6 seed after losing in New Orleans on the final night of the regular season.
"We'd love to have been in the 2 or 3 seeds — whatever it may be — and started at home," the Spurs' Tim Duncan said.
The NBA could extend the season by a week in 2015-16 to build in more rest for players, but there will be no changes to the playoff or draft lottery format.
Commissioner Adam Silver said owners felt they shouldn't touch either until after the new media deals begin in 2016, which will create a huge jump in revenues and make the salary cap soar by more than $20 million to possibly $90 million. They want to see how that affects free agency and trades before touching the draft.
"Once again on the draft lottery we agreed to continue looking at it, but it seems highly unlikely at this point that we're going to make a change for next season," he said.
Silver is committed to reducing the number of times teams have to play four times in five nights or on back-to-back nights. He thinks ending the season a week later next year could help, and says a decision should be made by early May.
He says owners also had their first serious discussion about the playoff format, after Oklahoma City missed the playoffs in the West with a 45-37 record that would've been sixth-best in the East.
He said there was also discussion of a play-in tournament in which an undetermined number of teams would play for the No. 8 spots.
... Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is recovering after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery.
A hospital statement says Abdul-Jabbar, 68, had the surgery on Thursday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Dr. Richard Shemin, who performed the surgery, says the former Lakers and UCLA star is expected to make a full recovery.