There hasn't been this much anticipation for an NBA season since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were ballin' in the mid-80's.
The Los Angeles Lakers were tired of getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons so they acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
The Miami Heat might not get to the eight titles Lebron James was hoping for, but they have a very good chance at repeating this season.
The Boston Celtics lost Ray Allen, but they brought in a nice group of guys to add some depth to a team that was one win away from competing in the NBA Finals last year.
The Oklahoma City Thunder made a surprising move shipping James Harden to Houston, but it made them that much better for the future and they are still good enough to compete for an NBA championship this year.
The San Antonio Spurs still have the old three coming back to go with a nice mix of youngsters to help get Tim Duncan one more title before he hangs it up.
These five teams have the best chance to win it all this season, but teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers are close to taking the next step to be real contenders for an NBA title.
Sorry New York.
Lebron James finally proved all the doubters wrong last year. He dominated the postseason and led Miami to their second career title in franchise history.
This year the competition got that much better.
The Lakers got significantly better. The Celtics added depth. The 76ers now have the low-post threat they desperately were missing last year. The Pacers had Miami on the brink last year and are now have that playoff experience they needed.
With all the improvements in the NBA, it is still the Heats title to lose.
Lebron James is clearly playing in a league of his own and no one is going to stop him. We saw the same thing with Jordan when he finally won his first NBA Championship, is it possible James can go down the same path?
Okay, I know I am getting carried away, because I don't think we will see anyone as great as Jordan for at least another 50 years.
However, James has taken over the league and if anyone says he is not the best player in the league they are drinking too much haterade. They are still made about some decision he made over two years ago. It's time to get over it and respect the player James is.
Miami's toughest foe this year won't be from the East. It will be from the boys in Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Lakers are throwing out the best starting five in NBA history, on paper. We all know teams don't win for what they do on paper, but what they do on the court.
I think it is safe to say this team will get it done on the court. A lot of people are saying it will be tough for them to gain team chemistry in their first year playing together.
The main reason why they will adjust easily is because they all have different roles. Steve Nash is the playmaker. Kobe Bryant is the aggressor. Pau Gasol is one of the most skilled big men in the game with his great passing ability and can open up the paint by knocking down the open 15-18 ft. jumpers. Dwight Howard is the clean up man. Metta World Peace is in there to do everything except deliver peace on the court. He's the enforcer.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be back to their championship ways this season and will give Kobe Bryant a great chance at ring number six.
The Lakers toughest foe this year will be coming from the Thunder bunch.
James Harden might be gone, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are still in town. Durant and Westbrook learned a lot after losing to the Miami Heat in five games last season. They will come back even stronger.
The Thunder knew they were going to lose Harden after this year so it was a great move for Oklahoma down the road. They acquired Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, plus two-first round draft picks to go with another second rounder. K-Mart should fit in just fine and Lamb has a chance to be a solid player down the road.
Oklahoma beat the Lakers in the five games last year because they were far more athletic. Things have changed this year. Westbrook will runs laps around Nash, but the addition of Dwight Howard is going to help out the Lakers tremendously inside.
The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs are arguably the two deepest teams in the NBA. They both have some old legs on the court and injuries could be a big concern for fans in Boston and San Antonio.
The Celtics had a busy offseason. They acquired Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and re-signed Jeff Green. Rajon Rondo is one of the best playmakers in the NBA. He is now the leader on the team and the Celtics will go as far as Rondo takes them. Boston is much better now with Terry and Lee at the two. They lost the shooting of Allen, but Terry is fourth in most three-point FG's made and is a career 38% shooter from deep. Adding Lee is huge for the Celtics defense.
The Spurs are a team that everyone is sleeping on.
Just like last year.
Nobody had San Antonio having the best record in the Western Conference last season.
Just as long as Gregg Popovich is their Head Coach, this team will continue to be one of the best in the league. Since Phil Jackson retired after the 2010-11 season, Poppovich became the best Head Coach in the league.
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan are all proven veterans, but the guy to pay attention to this year is Kawhi Leonard. He had a good rookie campaign, but expect him to take significant strides in his sophomore campaign.
These are the five teams that will be playing for the NBA Championship this year.
I see the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat playing in June for all the marbles. Miami will repeat as NBA Champions because Lebron James is simply that great. The Lakers might have the best lineup in the league, but having the best player on the planet will be the difference in the NBA Finals.
Get your popcorn ready because the 2012-13 NBA season is underway and no one has been this excited for a season in least two decades.