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By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Can somebody help me out?

We need a reason not to cheer and I'm having a hard time finding one with the NBA season tipping off this week.

Last season, it was easy. You had the Miami Heat and their fans and then you had everybody else rooting against them. It couldn't have been simpler.

This season? Not so.

LeBron James got his title and many of us just bit our tongues and turned away. Like it or not, give the guy a ton of credit because he's The Man, no question about that.

But he and his teammates kind of ruined it for the rest of us. What do we do now?

James may never win another NBA championship, but he doesn't have to. He exorcised those demons in a big way and will likely do it again. Tell me, would you be surprised if James and the Heat win a couple more trophies? I wouldn't be at all.

Last year, we had two great storylines as the NBA season opened up.

The first, obviously, was the fact the season didn't start until Christmas Day because of the NBA lockout. And, instead of the usual 82-game regular season, we only had 66 games crammed into a few months (quite frankly, I enjoyed it more because every regular-season game meant more, but team owners didn't care for it).

And the second storyline was James and his quest to answer his boast about winning a title in South Beach.

This season, we have:

The latest Dream Team - the Los Angeles Lakers - with the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, looking to make Showtime live again.

And the Nets finding a home in Brooklyn after being stuck in the swamps of Jersey for so long.

(LeBron is still a story, just not nearly as big of one this season, and so is the quest of the seemingly ageless Tim Duncan trying to win another title with the San Antonio Spurs. But more on those later).

The Lakers will be on TV all the time, Nash will be an MVP candidate (as will Kobe Bryant and Howard) and we'll be sick of the whole thing within a month.

And when the Lakers aren't on the tube, the Nets will be. So get ready for countless videos of downtown Brooklyn and stories of what having pro basketball means to the folks there. This, too, could prove to be nauseating after a short while.

The secondary stories, LeBron and Duncan, also will get shoved down our throats while a better story like what the Thunder are doing in Oklahoma will continue to be ignored because it's being done in Oklahoma, not New York. That's not right, but it is what will happen.

Hopefully, something will come along that nobody expected and it will grab the headlines away from the Lakers, and Brooklyn, and LeBron. That would be great.

But until it does, and don't hold your breath, get ready for a huge helping of Nash and Kobe.

To wrap all of this up, we can't have an NBA preview story without a prediction of who wins the championship, could we?

Of course, anyone familiar with my prognostication record in this space would laugh at the thought, but we'll give it a try regardless.

The last two teams standing will be the Lakers and the Heat. OK, OK, that's not exactly going out on a limb, I get it. And I hope it doesn't turn out this way.

But sometimes even the obvious choices are sometimes even obvious to me.

The catch: The Lakers, in perhaps Kobe's last hurrah, slow down LeBron and Dwyane Wade and win the championship in a wild seven games despite being an underdog.

You can't say you read it here first that the Lakers are going to win it all, but if I can get any prediction right, maybe it will be this one.



Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

Copyright 2012