Best coach: Doc Rivers, Celtics

Knows how to get the most out of his players and appears to have Boston positioned for yet another Atlantic Division title. The return of Jeff Green and addition of Jason Terry gives him new pieces to play with.

Best player: LeBron James, Heat

Silenced critics by capturing his first NBA title in three tries and grabbing MVP honors. Arguably the most versatile player in the league. Creates matchup nightmares.

Best scorer: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks

People can question whether the combo of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire can get it done, but no one can deny the Knicks forward can fill it up. His career average of 24.6 points per game ranks fourth among active players.

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Best rebounder: Joakim Noah, Bulls

Energetic center is relentless on the glass, snaring an average of 9.8 rebounds per game last season, including 242 offensive rebounds.

Best defender: Kevin Garnett, Celtics

The 17-year veteran is showing he still has a lot left. All-NBA defender for the 12th time in his career a season ago with his long frame, in-your-face style and menacing scowls.

Best sixth man: Ray Allen, Heat

After the backlash he's received from the fans he spurned in Boston by taking less money to sign with the Heat, you've got to figure the sharpshooter is dead set on getting another ring or two before he retires.

Should have retired: Brendan Haywood, Bobcats

Mavericks waived the 11-year center via the amnesty clause (was owed $27 million on the final three years of his deal). Averaged just 5.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 154 games with the Mavs.


1. Miami Heat: If Miami's roster is better from top to bottom than it was a season ago, why wouldn't the Heat be poised for a lengthy postseason run?

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2. Boston Celtics: When you still have Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce to go along with Jason Terry and Jeff Green, they'll be saying, "Ray Allen who?" soon.

3. Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose is the key and they'll only go as far as he'll lead them. But you also have to like their rugged frontcourt.

4. Indiana Pacers: Indiana won't be sneaking up on anyone this season and the Pacers have a legit star in Danny Granger, who can play with anybody.

5. Brooklyn Nets: Scoring shouldn't be an issue for Avery Johnson's revamped crew. However, interior defense could be and that might hinder them.

6. Philadelphia 76ers: As long as Andrew Bynum, their prized offseason pickup, plays in a bulk of their games, the Sixers will be in good shape.

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7. New York Knicks: Health is going to be the main question surrounding the Knicks all season, given the age of their roster. But experience won't be a problem.

8. Washington Wizards: With their potentially explosive young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington could cause a few matchup nightmares for opponents.

CONFERENCE FINAL: Heat over Celtics

NBA FINALS: Spurs over Heat