Like many NBA fans, I pretty much snoozed through the NBA regular season and figured I'd wait until the NBA Finals to wake up and watch the Golden State Warriors play the Cleveland Cavaliers for the championship. My plans have changed, however. Some interesting developments have taken place that lessen the chances of a Warriors/Cavs meeting in the Finals. That would still be my first choice for an NBA Finals match-up, but that's now far from certain.

Like other dinosaurs, the Raptors will be extinct

The Toronto Raptors had the best regular season record in the NBA Eastern Conference, but I doubt their guard-driven offense will get them beyond the second round of the playoffs.

The Boston Celtics had a real shot at getting to the Finals before a knee injury shut down Kyrie Irving. Boston will have their hands full getting past the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

Who knew 'The Process' was so long?

The most interesting team in the playoffs this season is the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers come into the playoffs riding a 16-game winning streak. The most recognizable names on the Sixers' roster are Ben Simmons, Joel Embidd and JJ Reddick. Embiid is recovering from a broken facial bone and likely won't be ready for the 76ers' first game against Miami. There is no timetable for his return, but with or without Embiid, the Sixers look to have enough to get past the Miami Heat.

A playoff series win could give them confidence and make them a tough opponent in a second-round match-up against the Cavs. Also, the playoffs can be a coming out party for a host of relatively unknown 76ers.

Some things go according to plan

Out west, it was nice to see the Minnesota Timberwolves make the playoffs after a 14 year drought.

Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns make a nice foundation, but the Houston Rockets, led by possible MVP James Harden, figure to be too much for the Wolves.

The San Antonio Spurs, have been depleted by the loss of Kawhi Leonard and are outmatched by the Steph Curry-less Golden State Warriors.

To me, the most interesting team in the West is the New Orleans Pelicans.

Anthony Davis is probably the least appreciated superstar in the game. If Boogie Cousins did not go down with an Achilles injury, this team would be even more fun to watch. The Pelicans have three ex-Bulls contributing for them. Rajon Rondon is doing an excellent job at point guard and Nikola Mirotic and E'Twaun Moore have combined to average 28 points per game for the Pelicans. I look for the Pelicans to take out the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.

In a noisy series, Thunder drown out the Jazz

If there is a more generic team in the NBA than the Utah Jazz, I can't think of any. The fact that they nailed down the fifth seed in the Western Conference behind rookie, Donovan Mitchell is a remarkable achievement. Still, I think Russell Westbrook leads the Thunder past the Jazz by force of will. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, it will be refreshing to watch NBA games where both teams want to win.