The hype has hushed. The media is muted. This week marks the beginning of the most anticipated NBA season since peach baskets were used instead of nets. More story angles than a Russian novel. New villains. New uniforms. Bold predictions.
The ride starts in Boston for the Heat vs. Celtics and ends in a secret location to be named in June. Bust out your Orville Redenbacher, sit back and prime the HD TV. But first, a shift in thinking. Before you jump into the season, think about these 10 things:
1. Kobe Bryant won't be the most exciting player in L.A.
Notice I didn't say best or most clutch player. Kobe will be those, for sure. I said "exciting," which involves the slippery concept of potential. This year -- shocker of all shockers -- the most exciting player in Los Angeles will play for the Clippers. His name is Blake Griffin, and he's going to make the Worst Franchise in Sports watchable. Don't worry, the Clippers will alienate him by March and trade him for Luke Walton or somebody worse, but for a few months -- you won't want to miss him and think about what he could do... for a real team.
2. Phil Jackson will coach another year.
Phil came amazingly close to calling it quits after his Lakers repeated in the spring, but at his first news conference back from his cabin in Montana, the big guru indicated that he'd think about another season after 2010-11. Now, I'm not saying he will coach the Lakers again -- but I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a year off then finds some high school basketball team -- perhaps from a poor Indian reservation -- and coaches for the love of the game. No, that's not a joke.
3. The Heat won't make the NBA Finals.
I've gone back and forth all summer about the Miami Heat and...