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And what about Oklahoma City – are the Thunder for real? Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s NBA analyst Paul Jones gives us the skinny:

Miami Heat
Already loaded with stars, Miami now has championship swagger to add to its mojo. Just 27 and already in possession of three MVP awards, LeBron James is a man in his prime. This season, King James’s court includes Dwyane Wade (22.1 ppg) and former Raptor Chris Bosh (18 points, 7.9 rebounds per game), plus the addition of veteran outside shooter Ray Allen – the NBA’s all-time best three- point shooter, who comes to the Heat via the Boston Celtics.



LA Lakers
LA’s Kobe Bryant finished second in league scoring last year, with an average of 27.9 ppg, before bowing out to the Thunder in five games in the conference semi- finals. There are a lot of hard miles on the 34-year-old Bryant’s frame, but he’s made no secret of the fact he’s seeking one more ti- tle, which would tie him with the great Michael Jordan, at six. The off-season additions of veteran Steve Nash, who averaged 10.7 assists per game last season; and three-time de- fensive player of the year Dwight Howard (14.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 steals, 2.2 blocks with Orlando) make the Lakers a significant threat.

Also watch: In 24-year-old forward Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City boasts the league’s leading point- getter last season (28 ppg). “They’re young and hungry,” says Jones.

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