Frankly, I can't really find words to articulate how excited I am that the NBA season is be upon us. It seems like it was ages ago that I experienced the greatest Suns' moment in my life (Dragic single-handedly destroying the Spurs) followed by one of the worst (J-Rich, I love you, but you have to box-out). Oh yeah, and the Lakers won another title despite Kobe going 6-24 in a crucial Game 7. Harumph.
Regardless, I cannot remember a more compelling offseason. The landscape of the NBA (and Phoenix) has been so outrageously altered that, as of right now, we basically have no idea what to expect this season.
The list of intriguing storylines is endless. Here are some of the more prominent threads of conversation popping up:
1. Can the Miami Heat put it all together and win a title?
Of course this is #1. There was no other option.
Pat Riley may have changed basketball forever this past summer. If this Heat squad is able to work out all the kinks and dominate the league, you better believe NBA GM's will take notice. The "Era of the Superteam" will be upon us.
And to all the fine folks in Phoenix, I'm sorry but the Suns will never stand a chance in that sort of environment. Let's hope the social experiment crashes and burns (it won't).
2. Can Dwight Howard truly become unguardable?
If anybody stands in the way of the Talents in South Beach, it's D-12.
When this video was released during the summer, eyebrows were collectively raised around the league. If Dwight Howard has finally committed himself to learning some legit post moves (from somebody not named Patrick Ewing), he suddenly becomes one of the most dangerous players in the league.
Certainly, the Magic become the team in the East that can upset the Heat. Tell me, who is going to guard Dwight?
Udonis Haslem? Like him, but he's too undersized.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas? That has already failed in the past.
Joel Anthony? Seriously?
3. Can Kevin Durant and the Thunder take the next step?
Oklahoma City surprised everybody last season exploding for 50 wins, grabbing a playoff spot, and putting a scare into the Lakers in their first round series.
What did they do to follow it up? Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook only led Team USA to gold in the FIBA world championships for the first time since 1994.
The Durantula is improving at a ridiculous rate, and may already be one of the top-3 players in the league at the tender age of 22. The youngest scoring champion in NBA history, Durant is without question one of the favorites to win the MVP trophy coming into the 2010-2011 season.
Alongside him, Russell Westbrook has been steadily proving the doubters wrong, and may already be one of a top-10 point guard in the NBA.
With an absurdly young core of Durant, Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and #11 draft pick Cole Aldrich, the Thunder may be the only team in the West with the potential to unseat the three-time defending Western Conference Champions Lakers.
4. Is the Phoenix Suns poor preseason a precursor of things to come?
This is the question that scares me the most.
Throughout the summer, I was fully convinced that the Suns' had made enough moves to replicate last season's success. After all, they were as deep as they had ever been and, last time I checked, Steve Nash was still on the team.
However, after a string of absolutely horrible preseason games, culminating with an atrocious destruction at the hands of the Nuggets' B-team, it may officially be time to start getting worried.
The doubts are starting to creep in. Hell, even Steve Nash sees what is happening. Hopefully, Alvin Gentry can find some way to right the ship.
5. Will Carmelo Anthony be traded?
At this point, it seems like Carmelo leaving the Nuggets is a foregone conclusion. The questions now are when will it happen and where will he go.
If Denver learned anything from Cleveland, Toronto, Phoenix, etc. last season, it was that if your superstar is disgruntled and publicly complains about wanting to leave, you probably should get something for him while you still have the chance. Otherwise you're left with a roster featuring J.J. Hickson or Andrea Bargnani.
What storyline interests you, the SB Nation reader, the most coming into the 2010-2011 season? Feel free to post your own below!