By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

Let's say you're caught at the water cooler, on the barstool or during a first date, and the subject of the new NBA season comes up. You must have an opinion on at least two subjects:

(1) LeBron James:
Just say: "This kid can't possibly live up to his own, horribly mismanaged expectations."

(2) Kobe Bryant:
Just say: "I'm not talking about it until there's actually something to talk about."

Otherwise: Use the list below to ensure that you present the trendiest angle possible to co-workers, buddies and the all-important "significant others":

WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT IN THE NBA
Category Hot Not Hot
Controversy Kobe catcalls Star non-calls
"What?? No call??"-type scorer
Paul Pierce

Yao Ming
Break-out All-Star Gilbert Arenas Tim Thomas
Hardware lock Alonzo: Improved LeBron: Rookie
Arena distraction Free giveaways "Jiggle Cam"
Hot (even though they stink) Cavs Clippers
Impact acquisition Antoine Walker Raef Lafrentz
Prep-to-pro worth props Eddy Curry Tyson Chandler
Is it a contract year?
Kenyon Martin

Antonio McDyess
Trade bait Kwame Brown Latrell Sprewell
Arena music Pharrell Ashanti
Skill for wannabe 10-day-contractors Can you play defense? Can you play point?
NBA factory Brazil Argentina
Second-wind vet Reggie Miller Calbert Cheaney
Growth stock
Jonathan Bender

Vince Carter
Jersey Carmelo's "Nuggets 15" D-Mile's "Cavs 21"
Technical foul Jawing at sensitive refs Defensive three seconds
Early-season revelation LeBron ain't no MJ Heat suddenly good
Must-watch injury Shaq's toe Dirk's ankle
Role player Three-point SG Playmaking PG
Master strategist
Bill Cartwright

Randy Ayers
NBA Finals MVP candidate Gary Payton Chris Webber
Needs more pub Nene Amare Stoudemire
Owner Abe Pollin The Maloofs
Pat Riley Bumbling exec Bumbling coach
Friend-wowing fantasy-draft pick Zach Randolph Keith Van Horn
Nickname inspiration Playing style Puns or surname
Goal of offseason acquisition Depth Size
Soothing team presence Robert Horry Rasheed Wallace/font>
Foreign stud Manu Ginobili Peja Stojakovic
Frustrated star
Tracy McGrady

Allen Iverson
Sweatband Double-wide on head On bicep
Hairstyle Back to bald Unkempt
Requisite scoring punch Four-headed monster Three-headed monster
Fun to watch Mavs Celtics
Conventional pick for champs Spurs Kings
Contrarian pick for champs Anyone from the East Lakers

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.




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THE HOT LIST