April 12 -- The general managers weren't the only ones to try their hands at some preseason predictions. Among the most egregious: Utah and Milwaukee would finish last in each conference, while Phoenix, Philadelphia, Orlando and Chicago would make the playoffs. Here was how NBA.com editors saw the league shaping up in 2003-04:

NBA CHAMPIONS
Los Angeles Lakers - 67%
San Antonio Spurs - 22%
New Jersey Nets - 11%


MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers - 44%
Kevin Garnett, Minnesota- 33%
Tim Duncan, San Antonio - 11%
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia - 11%


CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Actual rank in parentheses

West
1. San Antonio Spurs (3)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (4)
3. Dallas Mavericks (6)
4. Sacramento Kings (2)
5. Minnesota Timberwolves (1)
6. Phoenix Suns (13)
7. Houston Rockets (7)
8. Portland Trail Blazers (10)
9. Seattle SuperSonics (13)
10. Memphis Grizzlies (5)
11. Golden State Warriors (12)
12. Los Angeles Clippers (14)
13. Denver Nuggets (8)
14. Utah Jazz (9)
East
1. New Jersey Nets (3)
2. Detroit Pistons (2)
3. Indiana Pacers (1)
4. Philadelphia 76ers (10)
5. Orlando Magic (15)
6. New Orleans Hornets (6)
7. Boston Celtics (8)
8. Chicago Bulls (14)
9. New York Knicks (7)
10. Cleveland Cavaliers (9)
11. Washington Wizards (13)
12. Toronto Raptors (11)
13. Miami Heat (5)
14. Atlanta Hawks (12)
15. Milwaukee Bucks (4)