That ol' train is roaring down the line, and we're banking hard into another season of gambling and basketball. First, let's lay a few lines down and see where this gets us:
NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Derrick Williams +350
Ricky Rubio +800
Hmmmmmm.... this is tough. At first glance, I would say no way is Williams going to get this, because the Wolves aren't going to run the type of offense that is going to feature him (I'm thinking Love is going to be getting Hogg Points all year long). But look at the rest of that rookie class: Enes Kanter is +500, as is Jimmer Fredette. Ugh. Neither of them has a chance in hell. But then, in order for Williams to do well, Rubio's going to have to get him the ball, which should boost his own totals. There's no way you take Rubio to win rookie of the year, unless they base that award on "number of re-donkey-kong passes he throws between his legs". He's likely to get tired in the second half of the season and they'll likely be out of contention before that anyway. So, Williams? Sure, I guess. Why not?
Kevin Durant +400
Isn't this free money? Look at the other guys at +400: Derrick Rose and LeBron. Ok, Rose has a shot... but the Bulls won't be as good this year as they were last year, and I don't trust him to be able to lift the entire team. And LeBron? HA HA HA, Wade won't let him win the MVP. He'll take it away like a parent takes away a child's toy. So doesn't Durant make the most sense? He's the clear points leader not only on the team but in the Western conference. And the team keeps getting better... this could be the year that the Thunder go to the finals. Oh, maybe the Lakers will knock them off... oh wait, who is the coach again? WRONG CHOICE.
Miami Heat +250
I know. It pains me too.
Look, I went at this thing from every possible angle. I considered a fellow blog who mentioned that the Clippers at 50-1 was a decent long-shot, being that they are a team on the rise and could swing a mid-season trade. Or the Magic, who could get hot in Dwight's last year and make 20-1 look like a steal.
But let's be honest. This is Team Stern. The two favorites to win the title this year are Miami and the Lakers. The Bulls are not far behind. Stern still believes that the way the NBA grows stronger is if the same 4-5 teams keep making deep runs year after year. Parity is his enemy. He likes the little guys to put up fights, but he knows that the big stars are what get the big ratings. He'll have the Heat in the championship again if it kills him. Same with the Lakers... they are aging and will be coached by a buffoon. But do you know how popular Kobe is around the world? Instant Finals ticket. I'd love to sit here and say "MEMPHIS HAS GOT A SHOT IF THEY STAY HEALTHY", but they don't. Sorry. David won't let them.