Most observers believe there are three teams that can win the NBA championship this season: the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers. The San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics are slightly on the outside looking in, and the Los Angeles Clippers are the closest of the long shots.
But that doesn't mean curiosity doesn't abound this season. Several teams will be must-see TV because of their plethora of young talent or because of offseason moves they made to get to the next level. Fans and pundits alike are downright giddy about the potential of these young clubs. But do they deserve the praise and fanfare? Even my own ESPN The Magazine picked the Denver Nuggets to win the Western Conference.
So I decided to ask a longtime NBA scout to critique five young clubs and perhaps predict where some of them might finish in their conference, and whether he believed or didn't believe the hype.