Anthony Davis said nailing down top spot in the Western Conference was "a small milestone" for the Los Angeles Lakers after his standout performance against the Utah Jazz.
The seven-time All-Star arrived from New Orleans last year with the motivation to drive the Lakers towards championship contention.
After six years of despair at missing out on the postseason, the Lakers are firing again, with Davis and LeBron James driving them forward.
Davis scored 42 points and had 12 rebounds in a 116-108 win over the Jazz at Walt Disney World Resort, making certain of the top seed in the West.
"It's an honour for the organisation," Davis said. "We haven't made the playoffs for a long time. It's a small milestone in what we're trying to accomplish. We have a long way to go, but we're definitely going to enjoy it.
"No-one knew before the game - players-wise we never talked about it, but to do something like [securing the top seed] has been a long time coming for the Laker Nation.
"We try to be the best version of the team we can be. It's a good feeling.
"Obviously we're not done. We've still got a long way to go, but it's a good accomplishment for our organisation."
The Lakers were last NBA champions in 2010, and their most recent playoff appearance resulted in a first-round sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.
A tepid showing against the Toronto Raptors in their previous outing last week, resulting in a 107-92 defeat, had the Lakers fired up for their latest game.
"I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win," Davis said.
"Even though I was making the right plays, I still had to be aggressive.
"I didn't like the way I performed [against Toronto] and we didn't like the way we performed as a team.
“It was a collective effort to come out and be more aggressive, shoot the ball. We shot poor last game but wanted to come out and keep shooting, knowing we're going to find our rhythm.
"Everyone was more aggressive tonight, hence why we got the win. We played a lot better."
Sealing top spot with games to spare allows the Lakers to think about strategy for the playoffs, and could allow coach Frank Vogel to look at his options in the coming fixtures.
As Davis said: "We still want to go out and win every game but we want to sharpen our tools as well."