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SONY DSC

Happy New Year, ladies and gentleman of the NBA-watching populous. It’s that time of year again, when we use the descent of a magical disco ball in New York City as a metaphor for new beginnings.

We celebrate with copious amounts of alcohol and kisses at midnight. But New Year’s is really all about turning a new page. It’s an arbitrary day to do so, but plenty of things in life are arbitrary. So why not decide to improve your life the same day you hang a new calendar in your kitchen?

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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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LBJ

I love the game of basketball for its subtle artistry and the supreme level of skill necessary to exceed at it, not unlike being a musician, a physician or an astronaut. In no other basketball league in the world is the competition greater, obviously, than in the National Basketball Association. These people are the absolute best of the best, and the webs they weave nightly, from Kyrie Irving’s magisterial through-the-legs assists to Ray Allen’s legendarily perfect follow-through on a jump shot, can drive a fan up the wall with wonder, reducing him or her to an adolescent curiosity in which questions become essentially rhetorical. With the NBA preseason right around the corner, the time has come for everyone with a voice to chime in with predictions and perspectives. We at TwH are no different.

We (I) will break down each division, listing the teams in the order in which I believe they will finish the regular season. There will be plenty of room for dispute, as there always is, and from the start I must concede that this is an imperfect art. There are far too many variables involved in an 82-game season to know everything, but we will do the best we can with what we know now. Sometimes it may only take a gut feeling to push one team over another. Prepare for anything. And so we begin, in the Atlantic Division.
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