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The Nba Is Here

Well, the NBA season starts tonight (can you feel the excitement?) and much of the media coverage has focused on all of the problems facing professional basketball. While I enjoy referee bashing and Isaiah Thomas jokes as much as all true sports fans, this year should actually be an interesting one for the league. Aside from the (very real) possibility of Kobe Bryant going to Chicago or Dallas--and thus completely upending current playoff forecasts--the most compelling story is the Boston Celtics. While the addition of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen may not bring a championship, the very thought of Boston teams triumphing in the three major professional sports is enough to make anyone sick. The rest of the Eastern conference is still pretty dull, however, although Gilbert Arenas and the hometown Wizards mights surprise some people if they can stay healthy. And, if you haven't already, be sure and check out Mike Wise's profile of Agent Zero in last weekend's Washington Post Magazine.

Still, the power resides in the West, where San Antonio and Phoenix will probably (once again) face each other in what will be (once again) a de facto NBA finals (with the Spurs winning). Beware of the Rockets and Jazz, though. Speaking of the Rockets, I came across this recently and almost pulled my hair out. I'm all for using statistics to judge the worth of players and teams, but it sure seems like the Billy Beane's of the NBA are a long ways away from discovering formulas that make any sense whatsoever. If this is the best they can do, we might as well stick with intuition.

--Isaac Chotiner