Now that the dust has settled on the 2012 season, Marvin Lewis has once again locked himself in his tower to torment his poor drawing board. It's become a rickety thing, with its wood wearing thin and its wheels broken, but as long as its master can see his own handwriting on the caked chalkboard, it will do.

He stares at it now and wipes the chalk dust on his shirt. He narrows his eyes and shakes his head. There's still something missing. A deep sigh emerges from him and he sets the issue aside momentarily. He flips the drawing board over to its other side. It creaks painfully, but flips nonetheless. On it are written sketches of the rest of the division, each team listed with many details about them, and Marvin steps back to take it all in.

He hates this part-comparing his team to others-yet he values its prudence enough to force himself through it every year. Typically these comparisons worry him and distract him from his own flock, but this year feels better. The others find themselves with salary-cap difficulties and will be perhaps weakened as a result. "Easy, Marv" he tells himself, "you've thought this before only to have underestimated the resiliency of your foes." He sits back down and crosses his arms.