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Average fan’s guide to the NBA

Haven’t had time to really start following the NBA yet? If you’re a casual fan and you want to sound smart at the bar, bring up these storylines.

1. Feeling hot? Miami won the free agency lottery by pairing LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Dwyane Wade.

They’re sure to sell out every arena they play in. But they’re going to have to be a lot better than they were Tuesday if they’re going to really contend.

2. Don’t forget ... Despite the coronation of the Heat and the fawning over the Celtics, it’s Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic who’ve been to the last two Eastern Conference finals.

3. Hurtin’ in L.A. The biggest obstacle in the way of a third straight Lakers championship is health.

Starting center Andrew Bynum is out until December after offseason knee surgery, and Kobe Bryant is dealing with chronic knee and hand issues. All bets are off if he can’t stay healthy.

4. Spur of the moment Can Tim Duncan lead San Antonio to a fifth title in 13 years? It’s possible, given his track record, but we wouldn’t bet on it. That window’s all but shut.

5. OK in?OKC Most 21-year-olds spend their summer enjoying official adulthood. Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant spent his leading Team USA to gold at the world championships in Turkey. He’s the odds-on MVP favorite.

6. Their first rodeo The Rookie of the Year race is likely to come down to the last two No. 1 overall picks: Washington point guard John Wall and newly healthy Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

 
 
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