Hailed before the season as arguably the best NBL roster ever assembled, Sydney Kings are claiming underdog status in their semi-finals showdown with Melbourne United.
Melbourne will enjoy home court advantage in the best-of-three series starting on February 28 after defeating Perth Wildcats 81-70 in overtime to secure a second-placed finish.
The minor premier Wildcats, separated from Melbourne and Sydney only by percentage, will host Brisbane Bullets.
While it is the Kings' first playoffs berth since 2013, the harbour city franchise's supercharged roster - led by former NBA champion Andrew Bogut - meant an end to the drought this season had been seen as a virtual fait accompli.
Along with Bogut, the Kings boast former league MVPs Jerome Randle and Kevin Lisch in their back court plus Boomers stalwarts Brad Newley and Daniel Kickert.
Coach Andrew Gaze declared on the eve of the season it was arguably one of the strongest squads in the league's history.
But Bogut, who on Sunday night capped a superb first season back in Australia by being crowned the NBL's Most Valuable Player, says the Kings will have their work cut out for them against the well-drilled defending champions.
"I honestly think it's a coin flip in both series," Bogut told reporters on Monday.
"I think Brisbane are more than capable, even though they're heavy underdogs, of snapping a game in Perth just because they shoot the three ball so much. If they get hot they could definitely steal a game.
"Our series with Melbourne is similar, it could go either way. They're very well coached, they've played together longer than us.
"If you're looking at it on paper, it probably nods towards them as being favourites just because they've been together longer.
"You can't teach experience and we've learned that the hard way throughout the season."
Bogut's team had endured 10 successive losses to Melbourne before finally snapping the streak with a 97-85 victory at Qudos Bank Arena earlier this month.
Noting the growing rivalry between the two teams, Bogut talked up the Kings' big-game experience.
"We have a lot of guys - Kevin Lisch, Jerome Randle, myself - that have been in big games and made big shots throughout their career," Bogut said.
"We should continue to do that.
"You might get unlucky in a series - you might lose on the buzzer, guys might have foul trouble, injuries could rear their ugly head. That's the good and the bad of a playoff series. Anything can happen."
Australian Associated Press