In the admittedly way too early look at the upcoming season, Ian Thomsen has the Lakers and Celtics as the top seeds in each conference.
No other team in the East appears capable of matching Boston in focus. The Pistons or Cavaliers may yet improve in that area, but — provided they remain healthy — the Celtics aren't likely to slip so long as Kevin Garnett is setting the example. Rather than slide back, they may actually improve as a unit in their second season together (this assumes that defensive assistant Tom Thibodeau returns).
Yes, let's assume that Thibodeau returns and never speak of it again. I haven't heard anything to the contrary.
One person looking forward to repeating is Eddie House.
"I want to come in and be better than last year," said House, who averaged 7.5 points and 1.9 assists in the regular season. "I need to be better with my ballhandling and I am concentrating on that a lot. Knowing the offense better will help me make better decisions because I know what I am seeing better.
"We all have a lot of motivation. I won't say pressure, but when you win, you have a target on your back and everyone is coming at you. But that's something we are used to, because everyone was coming at us last year. We've seen everyone's best and we just have go out and match them."
Team USA is off to a good start. Not off to a good start: Nike's print campaign. They cavedto whatever pressure it was that they were getting. Too bad. I'll bet Addidas wouldn't have caved… because they've got some sack (remember… size 14. Anything is possible).