John Hollinger's Western Conference forecasts are up at the ESPN site. It's Insider-only content, but he's going with what I imagine will be the controversial idea that Houston will finish number one ahead of San Antonio and Dallas (numbers two and three respectively). His argument rests, in part, on the fact that last year's scoring differential predicted 57.4 wins as opposed to the 52 that the team actually got, so he sets that as the baseline. What's more, he says, "the addition of more players who can create their own shot is going to be a huge benefit to the offense, which was excruciating to watch last season." And, indeed, despite his reputation as a ball hog, Steve Francis was a pretty efficient scorer last season.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.