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Wake up, dust off your finest Jordans, throw on a pair of sunglasses and tell the world to deal with it, because the NBA is finally back on your television tonight. Three games featuring five playoff teams from a year ago, including the defending champion Golden State Warriors, return us to the hardwood. So much has transpired this offseason, it can be easy to get caught up in it. Such is life in the 24/7/365 NBA, if you allow it to be.

We can only say and think so much about basketball, however, without there being any games. Before the first tip-off of the season (Cavs/Bulls or, if you prefer, Hawks/Pistons, tonight at 8 pm), let’s spare a thought – not necessarily a prediction, though there will be more than a fair share of those – to each franchise, in alphabetical order. Some of them may be painfully obvious or extremely misguided, because I guess I don’t think about the Minnesota Timberwolves nearly enough. Anyway, best of luck to the following teams, especially the Knicks. Those dudes are gonna need it.

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Courtesy of vinclusive.com

After months of agonizing anticipation, during which we filled time with other allegedly important sporting events and Mad Men binges on Netflix, the 2014-’15 NBA regular season begins tonight. A three-game slate eases us back into basketball this evening, and there are many important questions surrounding each team, the answers to which will dictate the course of the season. How will the new-look Cavaliers fit together? For how much longer will Rajon Rondo remain a Boston Celtic?  When will Kevin Durant return from injury, and what will he look like? [Insert literally anything] Derrick Rose? What about Kawhi Leonard’s contract situation and “the Spurs way”? Is the triangle a total crock of grade-A bull fertilizer, spread below the floor of Madison Square Garden ahead of the stadium’s demolition and the subsequent establishment of an actual garden in its place?

All that, we will know in due time. What we won’t know is what we don’t think about. Let’s take a moment to consider the impossible, that which could never conceivably happen in today’s National Basketball Association. Then let’s never think about any of these things again.

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Kobe

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The Mamba is back. The king has returned to his throne in Los Angeles, and not a moment too soon in one of the tightest Western Conference races we have ever seen. In the first-ever real battle for the city’s heart, Kobe has staked the claim that the Clippers “will be the Los Angeles team when I’m dead and gone.” Even with his legendarily freakish, near-sociopathic work ethic, questions linger about his effectiveness returning from a serious injury at 35 years old. Meanwhile, in the dreadful Eastern Conference, major Internet forces are making light of Jason Kidd’s coaching style. Also, Carmelo Anthony is not an effective LeBron-style point-forward, so who can run an offense with him in it?

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Courtesy of Antigua Observer

Courtesy of Antigua Observer

#thereturn managed to last almost two months before it quickly became #therelapse, albeit in a different knee. The downfall of Derrick Rose spells trouble for the Chicago Bulls and for Luol Deng’s future there, and the Eastern Conference becomes significantly weaker as a result. Meanwhile, Kobe inked a two-year contract extension which may limit Carmelo Anthony’s prospects of escaping Dolan-land for a contender in the summer of 2014, and his capricious comrade J.R. Smith surprisingly starred in a shoe commercial which serves as one of the best examples of self-deprecating humor you will ever see. Also, Chris Webber just gets basketball and makes an absolute farce of sports media pregame coverage in proving it.

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Hey, these guys haven't played a minute together this season!

Hey, these guys haven’t played a minute together this season!

My church had a potluck (Make something that could possibly be tasty and bring it so you can eat things that are definitely tasty—I’m sure somebody needed that explanation) Sunday night. I wore my Lakers t-shirt. I think I wore it because they played Sacramento that evening (Yes, that’s true–they even won!). Anyway, people kept asking me “OMG Jordy are you a Lakers fan?!!?!!? Each time, it took me a minute or so to realize that I WAS WEARING A LAKERS SHIRT. Of course they’d ask me if I was a fan of the team!

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Clips

The final installment of the TwH NBA preview brings us way out west, to the Pacific Division. Standing in the shadow of Kobe’s territory, the Clippers look to win over the Staples Center fans with one of the most appealing one-two combos in recent memory. The Warriors will be looking to firebomb opponents with 3-pointers from every angle, but will that reliance doom them come playoff time? Also, what about Steph Curry’s ankles? Boogie Cousins is one of the most polarizing figures in a basketball town with a history of polarizing figures (and some pretty good basketball). Can he keep a cool enough head to flash the Kings back a decade? And finally, will anyone willingly watch a Suns game who does not live in the greater Phoenix market?

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