As an avid sports fan, there are very few times in the year that excite me as much as late April.

The NFL Draft occurs every year around this time, which to me symbolizes the start of the football season.

While I'm not afraid to admit that I will sit down down and watch 90 percent of the selections of the draft, that is not why the end of April gets my blood pumping.

The event that amps me up is the NBA playoffs.

There may be a lot of people that disagree with me, but in my opinion, the NBA playoffs provide the most exciting 40 days in the sporting world.

The Major League's playoffs are cool, the NFL's are great and March Madness is fantastic. But none of the above come close to matching what the NBA provides, and that's because of one, and only one, reason.

It isn't that there is a game basically every day or that the NBA has the most recognizable superstars, but rather the NBA playoffs reign supreme because, unlike any other sport, it's the only portion of the season that matters.

In every other league around the world the regular season holds some sort of value, but in the NBA it holds none.

Sixteen out of 30 teams make it every year, and there is always a team that makes the playoffs that wasn't even good enough to finish .500 on the season.

Every single team that makes the postseason in the NBA knew they were going to make the playoffs before the season even started. The regular season is just a formality, it's 82 games of useless nonsense. An unexpected injury may change things up a bit, but for the most part we all know the final outcome.

With all this said, that predictability doesn't come into play once the playoffs start. Anything can happen once the sun starts to set on the month of April.

We've seen No. 1 seeds get stunned and we've seen four and five seed showdowns become instant classics, never to be forgotten by the viewers who sat there and watched.

And everything I just mentioned, all of that was just the first round. Once again, unlike any other sport, every round is exponentially better than the last.

Once the Conference Finals roll around, every single game, whether you're a fan or not, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and it seems that at the end of every game when the buzzer sounds, that basketball is in the air with the entire fate of the game riding on whether it finds its way into the hoop or not.

And then there's The Finals, which is basically seven scheduled Super Bowl games in the span of 15 days.

Even last year's five game thrashing of the Thunder by the Heat was awe-inspiring. As a Thunder fan, while the series was a tough one to stomach, it was still a really entertaining series that had everything you could ever ask for in a game or games to crown a champion.

I don't know how they do it. Maybe the whispers of the NBA being scripted are true, but so is the WWE and yet I still enjoy that, so I guess I should stop wondering. All I know is that the NBA playoffs are great.

For anyone who doesn't like basketball, it's probably because you watched a regular season game. If you're looking for something to pass the time until baseball heats up or football kicks off, follow my lead. Sit down and watch some playoff ball, I promise you won't be disappointed.

— Troy Provost-Heron is a freshman in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached tprovost@utk.edu.