The consensus is that the first champion of the post-MJ era will arise from this elite group. Here is how I see the NBA Final Four shaping up:
In the East, Indiana and New York battle it out in a seven game series before the Knicks prevail. Sprewell makes everyone forget about the coach-choking incident back in Portland by scoring 40 points in Game 7, becoming the most popular man in New York since Frank Torre.
In the West, Utah and Houston will meet in the conference finals, but Pippen will miss Mike too much and the Rockets will fold in five games. Looking into my NBA Finals crystal ball, I foresee the Knicks in six. Malone and Stockton will tear it up in a few games before New York triumphs and gives the league a big boost by having the nation's biggest media market win the title.