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By: Alex Shultz

The National Basketball Association season has finally arrived, and there is plenty of intrigue surrounding all the familiar faces in new places around the league. Basketball fans at school are excited for what is to come over the next few months.

“I am eager to see how the Heat is going adjust to having three superstars,” senior Lucas Angell said.

Although the Heat’s personnel changes are widely considered the biggest story of the offseason, there are plenty of other teams worth checking out.

“I want to see how all the great additions and big setbacks play out for teams such as the Knicks, Suns, Celtics and Wizards,” senior Jay Jung said.

Enough with the speculation, though. Are you looking for all the answers to your burning basketball questions? Read on to find out who should win each award for the 2010-2011 season, plus a look at which team will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy when all is said and done.

MVP—Kevin Durant

Now that LeBron James is sharing the spotlight with Dwyane Wade in Miami, it is unlikely he will have a shot at winning his third straight Most Valuable Player award. Voters want someone who individually leads his squad to greatness—not someone who may or may not be the best player on his own team. So who is the new favorite for the award?

“Kevin Durant will win MVP,” senior Justin Staley said.

Last season, Kevin Durant brought the Oklahoma City Thunder out of the doldrums of the Western Conference and ended up leading the league in scoring. I expect him to improve on his breakout 2009-2010 campaign en route to his first MVP.

Rookie of the Year—John Wall

There are slim pickings for Rookie of the Year—the award is between John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner and Blake Griffin (listed as a rookie because he did not play in a regular season game last year).

Cousins’s minutes may fluctuate in a crowded frontcourt featuring Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and fellow rookie Hassan Whiteside, so he will not win.

Evan Turner faces similar problems. He has to compete for minutes alongside Andre Igoudala, Louis Williams, Andres Nocioni and Thaddeus Young. That leaves Griffin and Wall. While Blake Griffin should play well, he is coming off major surgery that could take time to adjust to. John Wall is healthy and the unquestioned point guard in Washington, so he should win the award.

Defensive Player of the Year—Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard owns the Defensive Player of the Year award until someone takes it from him. He is the most dominant center in the NBA and should once again be amongst the league leaders in blocks and rebounds this season.

NBA Finals Prediction— Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers in Seven Games

Although the Miami Heat is the pick of most fans to win the NBA championship, they will not end up taking the title this season. Miami does not have any depth at point guard or center, and they lack any presence off the bench other than sharpshooter Mike Miller. That is going to come back to hurt them come playoff time.

Boston still has their own “Big Three,” and although Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett appear to be aging, they are still proven commodities. And let us not forget Rajon Rondo, who is arguably the best player on the team now. The Celtics added Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal to bolster their options at center, and they also brought in Delonte West and rookie Avery Bradley. Both players are strong perimeter defenders.

The Lakers made some nice moves to stay competitive, bringing in Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and a few others. They have what it takes to make it back to the Finals, but this time around, the Celtics will get revenge for last year’s defeat.

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