The 2012-2013 NBA season is setting up to be one of the best of all time.
The trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets is the perfect start to what could be a wild and unpredictable season.
There are plenty of plot lines to make this season as interesting as ever.
Kobe Bryant now has the team to finally catch Michael Jordan in his quest for six NBA championship rings. We get LeBron James in his first post-NBA Championship winning season. The lack of talk about LeBron being or not being a winner will make this one of the best seasons to date.
Well, there is that and the fact that this season will actually start on time.
With plenty to watch for, this NBA season should be great, and here is why we are in for one of the most exciting NBA seasons ever.
Getting lost in the shuffle this offseason is Anthony Davis. He is not getting near the publicity he should be entering the NBA.
We haven't seen a talent like this since LeBron James, and this year could be the start of one of the best careers of all time.
Davis should make an instant impact.
Remember, he is a gold-medal winner. Playing on the Olympic team gives him a huge leg up on the incoming rookie class. Not just that. After practicing against the best talent the NBA has to offer, a normal night against an NBA team might already seem like no big deal to him.
His time could very well be now.
Davis has the skill set to be one of the all-time greats to ever play the game of basketball. We get to track his progression beginning this season.
It's not just about Anthony Davis.
Yes, he will likely win the Rookie of the Year, but there is a ton of talent in the 2012 NBA draft class.
Michael-Kidd Gilchrist is starting his quest to be the next Gerald Wallace. Bradley Beal could be the next-generation Ray Allen. Dion Waiters may end up being Dwyane Wade-like.
Damian Lillard could be the next great point guard in the NBA, Harrison Barnes the next great small forward.
That's just to name a few. There are potential stars in this class, which has the potential to be the best rookie draft class ever.
The NBA has instituted a new anti-flopping rule to be in effect this season.
You are listening, Manu Ginobili, right?
Hopefully this will limit the amount of flops we see in a typical NBA game.
While it will be tough for referees to catch it during play, one would hope that the ramifications would be enough to stop NBA players from flopping.
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
I would prefer to see suspensions handed out as well, but this will have to do.
You have to love how the Denver Nuggets are built.
They can go at least 10 players deep and can field a team to match up with any team on any given night.
Sure, they have no true go-to guy, but this team is built part speed, part defense, part offense, part depth, and part sabermetrics. How will their pieces translate onto an NBA floor?
The Nuggets roster is put together as well as any team in the league.
If they can win without having a true NBA Superstar, we could be seeing the start of a league-wide trend in the NBA. If the Nuggets go deep into the playoffs and possibly into the NBA finals, teams may start building for depth and signing and trading players using math equations.
New York may have a battle of basketball supremacy on its hands now.
No longer will we see empty seats in New Jersey as owner Mikhail Prokhorov (and Jay-Z) finally put another basketball product in the state of New York.
While they didn't land Dwight Howard, the Brooklyn Nets did field a team that can compete on a nightly basis.
More importantly for them, they have a team that can compete against the New York Knicks.
This year will mark the start of what will be a long-standing rivalry in New York, and we get to witness it from the beginning.
Take out the Orlando Magic and there is a good reason to watch every team in the NBA this year.
Sure, the Charlotte Bobcats won't be very good, but who won't turn on the NBA League Pass to watch how Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist develop?
The Cleveland Cavaliers post-LeBron era looks very promising led by breakout candidate Kyrie Irving.
DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings are worth watching for the fact that Cousins is just as likely to put up a 20 point, 20 rebound game as he is to be ejected.
Even the Detroit Pistons are back on the basketball landscape.
This doesn't happen often, but the league is filled with promising young teams and talent.
Only four point guards have won the MVP since they started giving out the award. Consider this season as the start of a change.
With big names like Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and plenty of others, the NBA has never seen this kind of depth or talent at point guard before—many of which are capable of winning MVP awards.
Every night we will get to see a great matchup from the most important position on floor. The NBA is lucky to have so many quality point guards in the league, and so are the fans.
This one is going to be fun.
Ray Allen spurns his former team the Boston Celtics and more money to join the rival Miami Heat.
Jabs have been thrown back and forth since, leading to what could be the next great rivalry in the NBA.
We won't have to wait long to see how this unfolds, as the Celtics face the Heat in round one on opening night.
Never before have fans of long-suffering franchises been this excited for an NBA season to start.
The Golden State Warriors, once healthy, will feature a center for the first time in what seems like ever. They also have the talent to make the playoffs for the first time in what seems like ever.
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to get healthy themselves. Once at full strength they will be a nice story. They boast a team that will contend for a playoff spot. Not to mention, we have the comebacks of Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko to watch unfold.
The long rebuilding process that the Toronto Raptors have endured might finally pay off. With a healthy Andrea Bargnani, a stud point guard in Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors can expect to contend for the playoffs.
The Washington Wizards, when John Wall gets healthy, have a team that will be much improved too.
And now it's even exciting to have "Nets" on the front of your jersey!
There are fan bases whose suffering from losing will be ended, all of which leads to...
With the depth in each conference now, we are going to get playoff-type battles in the regular season.
There are at least 12 teams fighting for a playoff spot in both conferences, and it just might not be settled until the final night of the regular season.
The big race is in the Western Conference, where there are going to be multiple teams with playoff talent fighting for the chance to play either the Lakers or Thunder.
The depth of teams in both conferences is substantial, and it will make for some great late season drama.
Just look at all the big-name players on new teams this season:
Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ray Allen to the Miami Heat.
Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jeremy Lin to the Houston Rockets.
Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets.
James Harden to the Houston Rockets.
Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.
Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Clippers.
OK, maybe not the last one, but there is not a dull storyline listed above. Each new acquisition will be more exciting than the next.
Plenty of drama and questions surround the key free agents-to-be.
We just saw the fall out of James Harden in Oklahoma City. Who will be next?
Dwight Howard hasn't made up his mind about where he wants to sign his max contract. Is he going to ask for a trade after the first time Kobe Bryant yells at him?
Will Chris Paul be on his way out if the Los Angeles Clippers don't progress as they are supposed to?
Will Stephen Curry injury himself out of millions of dollars?
Will Andre Iguodala be happy with fewer touches?
Is Andrew Bynum really capable of handing a team on his own? Is Philadelphia the right place for him long term?
Will Josh Smith play up to his potential now that millions of dollars are on the line?
What are the Utah Jazz going to do with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap? This could all lead to a trading frenzy that could swing a championship.
Every expiring contract has its own enticing storyline.
Even if you hate them, you have to admit that it's going to be fun to watch how they all come together this season.
The Lakers added Steve Nash, who is at his best with the ball in his hands, to a team that has Kobe Bryant on it. How is Mike Brown going to make that work?
Dwight Howard is in L.A., but for how long?
The bench is in question too. They added Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks, but is that going to be enough?
Will there be enough touches to go around to make Kobe Bryant happy?
Plus, there is always a chance that Metta World Peace goes Metta World Peace on everyone. Plenty of talent, plenty of storylines.
It's going to be exciting to watch the drama in Laker-land unfold this season.
No longer will we have to go through a season wondering if LeBron James will ever win an NBA title. He has one!
Now, the question is how many will he get?
This season will prove if this is indeed the start of the Miami Heat winning not one, not two, not three, not four, but as many NBA Championships as they hoped for.
If LeBron thought the Heat had targets on their back before, now, as defending champs, their targets just got a whole lot bigger. And his team got that much more interesting.
I don't remember ever before being this excited for the NBA Finals this far away from them.
The likely matchup, right now at least, is the Los Angeles Lakes versus the Miami Heat.
Who is not going to be interested in watching that?
Watching as LeBron looks to start a collection of titles while stopping Kobe Bryant from catching Michael Jordan with six rings has capability of being one of the greatest Finals matchups of all time.
While any Finals that feature either the Heat or Lakers will be entertaining, it doesn't stop there.
Watching the young Oklahoma City Thunder back in the Finals would be thrilling.
The Boston Celtics have re-tooled, blending a nice combination of youth and experience. Plus, it's always exciting to have a historic franchise like that in the Finals.
The once disdained San Antonio Spurs seem to have turned their hatred around and now have become likeable veterans trying for one last ring before Tim Duncan and company hang it up.
While a Lakers-Heat Finals is the dream matchup, at least there are plenty of others that can make it a compelling Final.