In today's Per Diem, John Hollinger notes (Insider) that there's a small chance something really outlandish will happen in this year's playoff seedings.
The Lakers and Clippers are candidates to finish with the ninth-best record in the West, but make the playoffs anyway, because of a rule that has never been invoked. Hollinger writes:
It's possible that the Spurs, Mavs, Grizzlies, Rockets, Blazers, Nuggets, Thunder and Jazz could all finish with better records than any team in the Pacific Division ... but one of them would miss the playoffs anyway, because division winners are guaranteed a playoff spot.
It's not likely, according to Hollinger's just-launched 2011-2012 playoff odds. But it's usually nowhere near likely, and this season it's at least imaginable.
If that somehow does happen, brace yourself for a reignition of the Lakers/Clippers/David Stern conspiracy theories that were out in force at the start of the season.