Time was the key to a championship was having three stars to rely on. Then came the Pistons and the Spurs, and it soon dawned on NBA decision-makers that chemistry can still trump talent. With the NBA salary cap preventing teams from spending their way to the Finals (see Knicks, New York), brains, not money have become the NBA's most important commodity.
Sports Illustrated's NBA Preview issue (Oct. 24) explores the importance of chemistry, from the pivotal role the controversial Ron Artest plays in making the Pacers a title contender to what players would form a dream team good enough to topple the Spurs.
As always, though, SI breaks down each team and takes you inside the locker rooms to tell you players are most likely to shape the coming season.