The Miami Heat have been running away with it this year, even before The Streak, they had the Eastern conference wrapped up - a division they did not win a year ago.
Last season the Chicago Bulls finished top, only to see their season implode when their most dangerous player Derrick Rose suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the opening play-off series.
They never recovered, allowing the Philadelphia 76ers to claim an improbable victory, underlining just how important Rose was to the Bulls.
It was taken as pretty much a given that Rose's rehabilitation would take a long time, most of the season - but Bulls fans had the hope that if they could just make it to the play-offs, Rose would return and provide them with the x-factor they had been missing.
It has not been quite that simple. And the whole of Chicago is getting a little restless.
Rose was declared healthy over a month ago by the doctors, in general terms, but there have been mixed messages about his fitness in the present day, not least from the player himself.
Rose has been unable to set a return date, and the play-offs have tipped off without him, and he remains conspicuous by his absence.
The Bulls are currently tied 1-1 in the series against the NBA's newest franchise the Brooklyn Nets. Which way the tie will go at this stage is anybody's guess.
It appears the Bulls are reluctant to risk him, or Rose is unwilling to risk himself, one or the other, perhaps a bit of both - but it is the possibility of the second which is angering fans.
Haters have criticised him on Twitter for failing to get back in a Bulls jersey, with one crazed fan already deciding to sue him. Perhaps it is the unrealistic hopes placed on American sportsman in the light of the NFL's Adrian Peterson's miraculous recovery from a similar injury in a matter of months, that suddenly all top athletes are expected to be able to do the same.
Rose most recently said that his return lies 'in the fate of God', which appears to indicate simply that he has no idea when it will be.
All he, and the Bulls fans can hope is that they progress past the Nets, and D-Rose can make a stunning comeback for the next series. If not, then the extra recovery time for the following season will allow him to hit the ground running, and is probably the wisest move rather than making any rash moves.
image: © Keith Allison