In just five short days, all of the hype, speculation and anticipation will finally be put to rest. We'll get to see what we've been itching for in the past 131 days: a meaningful NBA game.
Well, kind of meaningful. As the Cavaliers have shown in 2010 and 2009, the regular season doesn't hold much weight in the long run. We'll probably have another 10 or 20 burning questions heading into the postseason, but that's another article for another day.
But this year's regular season will be a little more intriguing than most. What else would you expect after such an eventful summer?
The storylines ooze with more drama than a reunion follow-up episode of Teen Mom. How will the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade duo co-exist in the final seconds of a close game...and do they have a chance of winning 70 games?
Does Kevin Durant's dominant run in the FIBA World Championships set the stage for him to become the new face of the league? And can the Thunder really make a run at the best record in the Western Conference?
If the Lakers win their third consecutive championship, how high do we rank Kobe Bryant on the greatest players of all-time list?
And what about the Celtics? Could a team whose starters played 210 of a possible 240 minutes in Game 7 of the Finals have one of the deepest benches of the league in 2011?
Most of these questions will hang over our heads the entire season, but they ultimately won't be answered until the postseason culminates in June. In the regular season, individual players have more of a chance to shine than the team.
Last season treated us to Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans battling for Rookie of the Year, the chase for the scoring title between Kevin Durant and LeBron James and breakout seasons from guys like Aaron Brooks and Josh Smith. This year will be no different.
So what players have the most momentum heading into 2011? Who will leave their impact on the season and what guys will ultimately matter more than others after 82 games? These questions and more will be answered in this week's power rankings: the top 50 players in the NBA.