Chris Sheridan of the AP seems to think so:
[T]he 2005 playoffs will unfold with several of the NBA’s superstars sitting on the sidelines wondering how they missed out on one of the most wide-open chances for a championship in decades.
Yes, decades. Because for the first time since the late 1970s, there is no clear-cut gigantic obstacle needing to be overcome.
Recent playoffs always began with challengers knowing they might face the daunting prospect of facing O’Neal and Bryant… in the years prior to that had to go against Jordan, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson…
Uh… Remember 93-94? No Jordan? Wide open, Hakeem won his first of two back to back rings, any of this ringing a bell?
On the basis of the fact that no other team has won a championship since 1982, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that one of the Bulls, Celtics,
Lakers, Pistons, Rockets or Spurs will win.