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Five things I'm looking forward to... NBA edition

With the announcement that we may finally have an NBA season starting Christmas day - I can start thinking about important stuff again. Instead of wasting my time twitching over twitter feeds at 2am, posting about BRI and "system issues", or watching every available snippet of video with John Wall playing in meaningless pick up games - I can actually start to look forward to NBA basketball.

The Wizards have an intriguing team this year - and I'll be posting my "Five things I'm looking forward to.... Wizards edition" soon - - - but looking at the bigger picture, there are some compelling plot lines and entertaining stories to watch coming out of the League this year.

There are lots of things I'm dying to find out. Will someone finally get tired of his smack talk, and smack Kevin Garnett upside his head? Which GM will be crazy enough to pick up Gilbert Arenas when Orlando uses the amnesty clause on him? Will there be any fan backlash, specifically at Phoenix (Sarver), Cleveland (Gilbert) or Charlotte (Michael Jordan) over the lock out? Can Blake Griffin repeat as slam dunk champion by jumping over the front hood of a Smart Car?

After the jump - the top 5 things I'm looking forward to

5. The Rookies
Can't wait to see the new Rookie class. Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Jan Vesely, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Kenneth Faried and JIMMER! Can anyone seriously tell me that they are not excited about watching the Turkish Bull wreck havoc inside for the Jazz? Or whether Kyrie's 300 minute Duke career sufficiently prepared him to lead the Cavaliers? Can Jan Vesely dunk his way to Rookie of the Year; or will Kemba or Derrick Williams get enough playing time to take the hardware? Can Jimmer actually play significant minutes in the NBA, or is he just a one-trick pony? How many times will Charles Barkley call him Bismark?

4. OKC and Memphis
Two teams that have been built through the draft, creative trades and smart Free Agent signings. Is this the blueprint for building a winning team? Is this a blueprint that Wizards and Cavaliers should try to emulate? Minnesota has tried it, and has utterly failed for 5 years. In the case of OKC, it seems to be working - But is it really just a pipe dream that small market teams can actually compete with LA, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Boston and New York. Can the Thunder take the next step? The Grizzlies knocked off the Spurs in the first round of the Playoffs last year - Can they build on their playoff success? I will be watching both teams intently - because both teams may hold the key to the Palace of Success for the Wizards future...... or it might just be the key to the outhouse

3. Mike Brown-nose
Will Mike Brown run onto the court screaming at the referees to protect Kobe? Will he cry foul whenever someone touches his star? Will he gush and fawn over Kobe, like he did over LeBaby? Will the Lakers be able to score more than 85 points a game running Brown's offense? Do the Lakers have enough for one more push, or will they disintegrate once again come Playoff time, like the Cavaliers did under Brown? Can Kobe's ankles, knees and fingers hold up during an extremely tough, compressed schedule - with an average of 4 games per week and lots of back-to-backs and some back-to-back-to-backs? Either way; heroic effort by Kobe for another ring - or the team breaking down into a rubble of old worn out knees and bitter infighting and bickering - it will make for good entertainment.

2.Oh boy. A whole year of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard rumors
No, really! Some of the rumors will be so stupid as to be amusing. Like the "Chris Paul (or Dwight Howard) to New York Knicks" rumors - already dispelled and proven to be impossible by John Hollinger..... but you know that rumor will persist like mould spores - just waiting to burst forth again. Which big market team will garner the most Dwight Howard trade rumors? Los Angeles? Chicago? New York? Boston? Brooklyn? Dallas? (My bet is LA) Because you know that the national media will completely ignore the fact that most of those teams have no tangible assets that Orlando would actually want in trade.... and that teams with cap space, young assets and high draft picks like the Clippers, Indiana, Washington, Houston and Utah will be completely ignored. But like I said - it makes for good fun reading even if it makes me laugh and groan at the same time.

1. Superfriends
Can somone..... ANYONE, please shut them down in the Finals again! Please, make my year, AGAIN ! Say what you will about the mercenary trio, if nothing else they ARE good TV. Whether you root for them, or against; they provide the same kind of tense drama that the Israelites and Philistines must have experienced when David confronted Goliath. (Interesting that the Dead Sea Scrolls describe Goliath's height as "four cubits and a span", or about six feet, eight inches tall). I'll be watching to find out if there is someone with enough skill with the "rock" to knock this team of giant egos down a peg or two.

What are your most compelling story lines for this year? Which teams will you be watching? Which players?