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I thought it would be prudent to narrow the about-to-tip-off NBA season down to haiku form; among other things. Let’s see how these go:

Welcome back, D-Wade
No repeat for KG’s team
LeBron for MVP

Deron Williams is great
Chris Paul is incredible
Neither team wins it

Can T-Mac survive
The rigors of a season
Yao and Artest, too

Kobe might be tired
He likes synchronized swimming
The Gold was worth it

Rookie of the Year
Derrick Rose or Greg Oden
What about Mayo

Knicks will be better
Not so much for the Grizzlies
Bobcats will fail Brown

Thank you. I’ll be here all season. Here are some more traditional predictions. Individual:

League MVP – King James

Rookie of the Year – Oden

Sixth Man – Rodney Stuckey

Defensive PoY – Artest

Most Improved – Jeff Green

Team predictions:

Eastern Conference Finals – Boston over Philadelphia

Western Conference Finals – Houston over LA (I know, I know. The Rockets have to stay healthy to even entertain this notion. Getting out of the first round of the playoffs helps too. Maybe I’m just star-struck by their collection of talent).

NBA Finals – Houston over Boston in seven.

OK, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’d say it would take some spectacular events for the season to play out out the way I’m predicting, but I’m tired of reading about how the Los Angeles Lakers are going to beat the Boston Celtics (or the LeBron Cavaliers), so I thought I’d try another outcome. Granted, I’m using the Celtics, but they are clearly still the class of the Eastern Conference, LeBron or no.

However, don’t be surprised if Orlando tries to upset the balance of power in the East. While they don’t have the guards the Sixers and the Celtics do, these teams don’t have Dwight Howitzer — AKA, the best center in the East — either.