You know the story lines. Your familiar with the drama. Shy of being stranded on a deserted island the last four months, you know the Heat and Lakers are a lock for the finals come June.
Or are they?
Miami's opening night loss, Cleveland's win over the Celtics and other early games have some analysts rethinking how the season will play out. Maybe the other 28 teams should actually take the court this year after all.
How will your team stack up this season? Let's take a look at some grades.
In three years Rondo may be the only player left on this aging roster.
This has to be the most entertaining locker room in the league with Shaq, KG, Pierce, Nate Robinson and Delonte West running around protecting his pot of gold.
This could easily be the most athletic roster in the NBA.
Unfortunately, this distinction does not come with any automatic wins. Doug Collins is thinking playoffs. Elton Brand is thinking he should have stayed in LA.
The Knicks are finally showing signs of being a real team since Patrick Ewing Sr. put a jersey on.
Raymond Felton should enjoy a career year, Amare Stoudemire could win MVP- and the Knicks will continue to play zero defense and once again miss the playoffs.
Overpaid for Travis Outlaw. Hired Avery Johnson who the Mavs couldn't wait to get rid of. Missed out on John Wall in the draft.
Who cares, this will still be the most improved team north of South Beach.
Like the doctor said the day Sam Cassell was born, it's gonna get ugly.
Watching Jose Calderon shoot free throws and Demar DeRozan jump is always fun though.
Chicago once again climbs to the top of the Central with the additions of Boozer, Korver, Watson and Brewer.
The real question will be: can Luol Deng make it through 82 games?
Beer town dished out big "bucks" in the off season to keep John Salmons and bring in Drew Gooden.
The question is, why?
Darren Collison is the answer to the Pacers point guard prayers. Roy Hibbert could ascend to an all-star level and Danny Granger could lead the league in scoring.
Or, they could remember that they're the Pacers and continue to disappoint.
Time will tell what direction the Cavs decide to go this year. Sell off Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison to a contender or try to add pieces themselves?
Anybody got Shawn Kemp's number?
"Deeeeeetroit Basketballlllll" used to strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams.
Today, it's used as an alarm clock for the remaining fans at Auburn Hills.
Who really believes Erik Spoelstra makes it past New Years coaching this team? The NBA won't allow it. A Pat Riley-Phil Jackson finals TV ratings would just be too high to pass up.
How long until Dwight Howard demands a trade south?
Rashard Lewis is NBA's most overpaid player and Vince Carter is quickly joining cousin T-Mac as a shell of his former self.
Jameer Nelson needs to have an All-Star season, bad.
How long until Joe Johnson's new contract does Joe actually feel guilty for being so overpaid?
After getting embarrassed in the playoffs, Atlanta made lots of moves to improve such as.............
John Wall will be rookie of the year, Andray Blatche should continue last seasons surge and Flip Saunders shouldn't have to worry about losing half the roster again this season.
Now if the Wiz could only make Gilbert Arenas disappear....
You make it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and respond by losing your starting point guard and center through free agency and trades, with the big acquisition being Kwame Brown.
Really excites those season ticket holders don't it?
Yeah, the additions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake are nice, but the best move by a Laker this off season was Sasha Vujacic getting Maria Sharapova to commit her life to a third string point guard.
Yes, this means Jack Nicholas will no longer be the prettiest face on the Staples sideline.
The Clips, like Halley's comet, show up every 75 years.
With Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Baron Davis on the floor together, this could be that year.
Love the new Uni's, the acquisition of David Lee and that 13-year-old kid Curry.
Have to wonder though, did they give up on Anthony Randolph too early?
Is the Sun's run finally about to set? Goodbye Marion and Amare, hello Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick!
Should still be fun to watch. For the first three quarters at least.
Demarcus Cousins could be the steal of the draft. Great young core with Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans.
This team is building the right way. Sacramento however, like Rome, wasn't built in a year.
America's sweethearts. The anti-Lakers and anti-Heat.
Unfortunately, with no low post presence OKC will continue to look up at those two teams.
Big Al Jefferson is the happiest man in basketball after his trade out of Minnesota.
Deron Williams will only confirm he's the best point guard in the league.
Maybe Carmelo Anthony will say "You know what, we've got a good team, a great coach and I like the challenge of being 'the Man'."
NBA purists can dream can't they?
Does Marcus Camby ever age? He looks and plays younger than Greg Oden.
As nice a player as Batum is, hard not to imagine Durant in that three spot....
Michael Beasley could be the best trade of the off season. K-Love's a double double machine and Wesley Johnson is fashionally-challenged.
And that's all the T-Wolves insight you probably care to hear.
Brendan Haywood is now a $55 million eighth-man, thanks to Mark Cuban.
This generations playoff choke artists are loaded for one more Jekyll-Season/Hyde-Postseason before the old geezers start to fall apart.
Part of me wants to see Jason Kidd and Dirk get that ring, but I just couldn't stand the inevitable smug look on Mark Cuban's billion dollar face.
Not so long ago, this was a Western Conference finals team.
Then they got Emeka Okafor. Seriously dude, look like you want to be on the court for one game.
Trevor Ariza should help Chris Paul want to stay put. A likely return to the playoffs should help even more.
Yao's back! For half of the back-to-backs, that is.
Luis Scola gets better every year. Aaron Brooks is a three-machine and Shane Battier still terrifies small children with his grin.
Tony Parkers last year in Texas? Tim Duncan finally washed up?? Manu Ginobili getting reconstructive nose surgery???
Probably no to all three, but San Antonio's championship window is quickly closing.
Shhhhhh don't tell anyone, but the Grizz have one of the best starting units in the league.
The bench quickly relinquishes them back to normalcy as a team.
How long until Memphis ships (Marc) Gasol for Kwame Brown and a couple first rounders?