Will LeBron James and Kevin Durant meet in the NBA Finals? (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The 2011-12 NBA season is finally here, something that just a month ago seemed like a pretty unlikely scenario. for the first time in quite some time, both local teams have a chance to be in the national spotlight this year.
Mike D'Antoni's New York Knicks have added Tyson Chandler to a team that already featured Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, putting them at the top of the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Avery Johnson's New Jersey Nets will be pushing all season to acquire the league's best center, Dwight Howard, from the Orlando Magic.
Will either team find their way to the Eastern Conference or NBA Finals? How about picking up any of the league's major individual awards?
We asked a few of the SB Nation New York writers to submit their preseason predictions for not only who will be playing for a title in June, but also which players will be the award winners.
Chris Celletti - Kevin Durant
He scores 28 points a game in his sleep, and I think the youth of the Thunder makes them a big player in the Western Conference in a season with such a crazy busy schedule.
Jeff Freier - Kevin Durant
Will lead the league in scoring and his team will have the best record in the West.
Ryan Jones - Chris Paul
Making the Los Angeles Clippers relevant? That's a tall task worthy of the league's top individual award.
Rookie of the Year
CC -Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is the most NBA-ready prospect who was picked in this past draft, and is probably already the most talented player in the Bobcats' backcourt. I'm not sure it'll translate to many wins, but I expect big numbers from the former UConn Husky.
JF - Kemba Walker
He's from New York, so why not?
RJ - Ricky Rubio
Most Improved Player
CC - DeAndre Jordan
He's already a really good defender. With Chris Paul now running the show for the Clippers, Jordan's offensive numbers should go up drastically. If he rebounds just a little bit better, this could be his award to los.
JF - Toney Douglas
RJ - Austin Daye
The third-year forward from Gonzaga is a matchup nightmare and could easily double his point output of 7.5 from last season.
Sixth Man of the Year
CC- Lamar Odom
The best Sixth Man in the NBA just went to the defending champs. Odom should get some easy baskets playing off Dirk Nowitzki, and he still does all the little things.
JF - James Harden
Primed for a big season.
RJ - Jamal Crawford
The veteran chose the Blazers over the Knicks not just because he got to be closer to home (he's from Seattle) but because he will get a chance to fire away all year in Portland. That will lead to his second career Sixth Man honor.
Coach of the Year
CC - Scott Brooks
As I mentioned before, I think the Thunder are primed for a big year. They should win their division and are primed for a deep playoff run.
JF - Doug Collins
The 76ers will win more games than people think.
RJ - George Karl
Not much is expected from the young Nuggets, but Karl will get them to out hustle teams during the shortened 66 game season.
Western Conference Finals
CC - Thunder over Mavericks
JF -Thunder over Lakers
RJ - Thunder over Clippers
Eastern Conference Finals
CC - Heat over Knicks
JF -Bulls over Heat
RJ - Bulls over Heat
CC - Heat over Thunder
JF -Thunder over Bulls
RJ - Bulls over Thunder