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The Starting Five: Your guide to which players and coaches to keep an eye on

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 28, 2008 at 2:36 pm •  Published: October 27, 2008
Five most exciting players

  • LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers: Combines Karl Malone's size with Michael Jordan's skills. As close to unstoppable as it gets.

  • Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Parents will someday tell their children about the day they saw him drop 81.
  • Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets: Has made the things he did OKC look ordinary compared to what he does now.
  • Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns: Suns a little less run, but he's still every bit the fun.
  • Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat: Don't blink. He's nicknamed “Flash” for a reason. And he's healthy so look out.
  • Five breakout players

    • Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers: Durable and has gotten better each season. And with Jermaine O'Neal gone, it's his team now.
    • Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers: Should benefit the most from Elton Brand's arrival.
    • Andray Blatche, Washington Wizards: Inconsistency has stunted his emergence. This could be his year.
    • Al Thornton, Los Angeles Clippers: Strong candidate for MIP — Most Improved Player.
    • Randy Foye, Minnesota Timberwolves: Last season's injuries prevented him from building on a solid rookie season.
    Five new coaches

  • Larry Brown, Charlotte Bobcats: What? You didn't really think he was done coaching did you?
  • Scott Skiles, Milwaukee Bucks: Maybe Skiles can get them to play some D and end the underachieving.
  • Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks: Stephon Marbury's no Steve Nash, Zach Randolph's no Amare Stoudemire and rookie Danilo Gallinari's no Shawn Marion — Good luck.
  • Terry Porter, Phoenix Suns: Expect to see a lot of the Detroit Pistons in Phoenix's play calling.
  • Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat: Did you know: he's the NBA's youngest coach and its first Filipino-American head coach.
  • Five rookies to watch

    • Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers: Yep, technically he's still a rookie after missing the 2007-08 season.
    • Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: Playing at the Ford Center on March 18.

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