The starting five: Your five-minutes guide to the 2008-2009 NBA season

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 27, 2008 at 8:34 am •  Published: October 27, 2008
The NBA season tips off Tuesday, and 2008-09 will be the first season Oklahoma City can call its own. Here are five storylines to get you ready for the year.

1. How will Oklahoma City play off the court?

The Washington Post’s and ESPN’s Michael Wilbon called Oklahoma City the Green Bay of the NBA when the Hornets played here for two seasons. But Hall of Famer Charles Barkley called the state a vast wasteland.

So now that the NBA is in town for good, how will Oklahoma City be received across the country?

Much of the reason city leaders started down this NBA road was to raise the profile and image of Oklahoma City.

The Thunder’s 41-game home schedule starts with Wednesday’s season opener. We’ll see if it helps.

2. A Celtics dynasty in Beantown? History could be in the making at the Ford Center Nov. 5.

The Celtics won their NBA record 17th championship last season and are the early favorite to represent the East again in the NBA Finals.

A repeat would give Boston its fourth dynasty. The Celtics had their first dynasty from the late 1950s through the late 1960s. They also ruled the NBA in the mid-1970s and the early to mid-1980s.

The Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are back, and Boston’s only major loss came when forward James Posey defected to New Orleans.

Boston led the league in point differential last season, winning by an average of 10.25 points, and was the league’s second best defensive team, yielding 90.25 points per game. That mix will need to return to Boston if the Celtics are serious about repeating.

3. Can superstar Chris Paul become champion Chris Paul?

He led his franchise to a 20-game improvement and won Rookie of the Year in his first season in Oklahoma City. But Chris Paul didn’t become an NBA superstar until his Hornets returned to New Orleans for his third season and he had one of the most magical seasons by a point guard in recent memory.

Now, entering his fourth season, Paul is trying to go from superstar to champion. Led by Paul, the Hornets took the league by surprise last season, winning a franchiserecord 56 games before losing to San Antonio in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.

Continue reading this story on the...