The Celtics and Lakers feel like everyone's pick to play for the NBA title, with most thinking that with a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers will reverse last year's result for its own "Remember the 80s" title. The rivalry is fine, but even 4 months after the Finals, it is lame and predictable.There you have it: Rockets over Magic. I just can't bring myself to pick either the Lakers or the Celtics, let alone both. Maybe that contrarian notion is blinding me to the obvious reality, but I actually think that the Rockets can win the West -- and the Magic can win the East.
I'm not just being contrarian as I pick the Rockets to beat the Magic for the NBA title. (Hey: it's like "Remember the 90s!")
The new "Big 3" is Yao, T-Mac and Ron Artest, who won't win MVP (that will be Chris Paul), but certainly will qualify for consideration by being the piece that earns Houston the title in the West. And I love analytics-driven Rockets GM Daryl Morey -- numbers win championships!
In the East, the aging Celtics can't possibly play with the same sense of mission as a year ago. (SO due for a bad injury, right?) Meanwhile, Orlando has a "Big 2" and a "Big-ish 4": The East's best post player (Howard); its best sidekick (Lewis); its best 6th man (Turkoglu); and, now, its top perimeter defender (Pietrus).
(The only other thing to point out is that this is one of the most interesting and compelling rookie classes in years: There is Greg Oden. There is Mike Beasley, who was an even better college player -- and NBA prospect -- than Kevin Durant. There is No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose. There is Spanish import Rudy Fernandez. There is D-League draftee Mike Taylor. And that doesn't even count players like Eric Gordon or Brook Lopez who could instantly contribute.)
Suggest your own Finals picks, award winners, players to watch and storylines to follow for the season through the Comments.