1. The Lakers won’t be a superteam (unless you count the ’10-’11 version of the Miami Heat as a superteam). The Lakers will be very good and very scary by the end of the season, but a superteam (as in the ’95-’96 Bulls), no. They’ll need too much of the regular season to get acquainted and to figure out how to stay healthy. I suspect by season’s end, one or more teams will be tanking to stay out of the Lakers side of the bracket, though.
2. Jeremy Lin will be among the league leaders in assists. And I thought this BEFORE the trade that brought James Harden to Houston. The Rockets run a very point guard friendly offense full of high pick and rolls, which Lin excels at (this offensive system made Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic look like the second coming of Nate Archibald at times last season). I figured with Kevin Martin spotting up, and a roll guy, Lin would rack up assists. With Harden replacing Martin, Linsanity could lead the league.
3. The Knicks are in for a very long season. It’s rarely a good thing to have a lot of players on your roster over the age of 27, which is the age many players peak. So what do we think of the Knicks who have an entire posse of players over the age of 37? Not very much. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler will keep the Knicks competitive and they may make the playoffs again, but it’ll only be because the rules stipulate that the Eastern Conference send eight teams to the postseason. Few fans will confuse this bunch for a real playoff team.
4. Houston will make the playoffs. The Harden deal is only the beginning. They need frontcourt help and have cap space plus young players and draft picks to deal. Utah has a logjam emerging in its paint with Kanter, Favors, Jefferson and Millsap, the last two of whom are UFA’s at the end of the season. I’d imagine that the Rockets are already making offers for Millsap, though the Jazz would probably like to deal Jefferson.
5. Indiana will be an elite team. No, not oh, they’re good, elite, but elite as in we will spend evenings in January wondering aloud if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals will take place in Conseco Fieldhouse (or whatever they call it these days). The Pacers are deep, talented and balanced (top 10 on both sides of the ball). The Pacers played at a 53 win pace last year. With most of the Eastern Conference taking a step back, Indiana could win 60.