Five most exciting players
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Mark your calendars.
- Michael Beasley, Miami Heat: Has future perennial All-Star written all over him.
- O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies: Will make watching the Grizzlies bearable.
- Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers : Deadly scorer who can finish strong at the rim and shoot it from deep.
- Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers: Makes the Sixers an instant contender in the East.
- Baron Davis, Los Angeles Clippers: Clips could be better with Davis and Marcus Camby than with Brand.
- Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers: Cavs now have championship expectations after adding their best point guard since Andre Miller in 2001-02.
- James Posey, New Orleans Hornets: A big key to a deep playoff run in the Big Easy.
- Ron Artest, Hoston Rockets: Could he be their missing piece to a title?
- Luke Ridnour, Milwaukee Bucks: Still could be a solid point guard but Bucks gave away Mo Williams for peanuts.
- Jamaal Magloire, Miami Heat: Miami needs a center. Magloire's not him.
- Kwame Brown, Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars has earned the benefit of the doubt. But he's testing it.
- Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard needs help down low, not more outside shooting.
- Dahntay Jones, Denver Nuggets: Jones and Chris “Birdman” Anderson combined don't make up for losing Marcus Camby's defense.