Season starts tonight; I'm going to make a bold prediction that San Antonio will beat Portland. Also I figure, given the evenness of the year and all, that San Antonio won't win the championship. Instead, I'll take Dallas for best record in the West, followed by Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Lakers, and New Orleans in roughly that order. In the East I have Boston (beyond the obvious, I think Rajon Rondo is better than people think) followed by Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, Washington, Orlando, and Miami. Obviously, a Bulls-Lakers deal for Kobe could change that, though the current asking price of Gordon, Deng, Thomas, and Noah seems clearly too high.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.