Five story lines to watch
3. Will fans regain trust in officials after the Tim Donaghy betting scandal?
4. Will Kevin Durant emerge as the league's next multiskilled superstar?
5. Will any team challenge the Spurs-Mavericks-Suns troika in the West?
Rookies worth watching
Kevin Durant, SuperSonics: Second pick in draft will score right away, but efficient shooting and solid defense might have to wait.
Al Thornton, Clippers: Plenty of shots available on Western also-ran.
Teams on the upswing
Rockets: New depth and up-tempo style make Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady happy.
Celtics: No depth, but they might not need it with new star power.
Likely to disappoint
Warriors: Postseason aside, they played like a .500 team last season.
Heat: Ailing Dwyane Wade and too-old, too-heavy Shaquille O'Neal mean title days are past.
Raptors: Too many of their players are due for slight drop-offs.