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What's up in Western Conference?

If the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the Eastern Conference -- like, say, their neighbors the Milwaukee Bucks -- they'd be fourth, with an 11-12 record. Instead, the Kevin Love-led team is in the West ... where it's 11th. And just half a game out of 13th. Tough conference, eh? Which teams will come good?

Which team will win the Northwest Division?

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    37%
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    59%
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    4%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,790)

  • Which team will win the Pacific Division?

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      73%
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      27%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,402)

  • Which team will win the Southwest Division?

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      77%
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      19%
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      4%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,290)

  • Which team will win the Western Conference?

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      8%
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      25%
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      40%
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      17%
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      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 73,130)

  • Which of these teams has the best shot at making the playoffs?

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      27%
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      10%
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      28%
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      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 21,145)

Comment »

Howard to face Lakers as a Rocket

The hype surrounding Thursday's Lakers versus Rockets game has much more to do with last season's Dwight Howard-Lakers saga than what will happen in the first of four matchups this season between the two teams. Howard's former coach and teammates have been asked about his decision to leave Los Angeles for Houston -- leading Pau Gasol to say you have to "respect" his decision. What will happen when Howard faces his former team for the first time since signing with the Rockets?

Which team will win Thursday night's game in Houston?

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    76%
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    24%

Discuss (Total votes: 24,803)

  • Dwight Howard is averaging 17.4 points and 14.6 rebounds per game. How will Howard fare against the Lakers?

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      43%
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      39%
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      18%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,018)

  • Where do Dwight Howard and James Harden rank among the best duos in the NBA?

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      29%
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      46%
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      25%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,133)

  • What is your opinion of Dwight Howard?

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      27%
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      42%
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      31%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,080)

  • How far will the Rockets advance this season?

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      4%
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      19%
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      48%
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      21%
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      8%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,828)

  • Will the Lakers make the playoffs?

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      48%
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      52%

    Discuss (Total votes: 56,383)

  • Dwight Howard said he'd like to fight in UFC one day. What kind of fighter would Howard be if he trained seriously for it?

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      4%
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      12%
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      19%
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      24%
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      41%

    Discuss (Total votes: 31,308)

Comment »

Dwight Howard goes off in debut

It looks like all Dwight Howard needed was a change of scenery. Coming off a disappointing season with the Lakers, Howard answered at least a few of his doubters with a 17-point, 26-rebound performance in his debut with the Rockets. Howard dismantled the Bobcats, leading his team to a 96-83 victory and looking like he and James Harden were born to play together, but will he keep it up over the full season?

  • Is Dwight Howard a legitimate MVP candidate this season?

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      27%
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      73%

    Discuss (Total votes: 94,798)

  • How far will the Rockets advance this season?

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      4%
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      19%
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      48%
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      21%
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      8%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,828)

  • Who will benefit more from their pairing on the Rockets?

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      49%
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      51%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,759)

  • Who is the best center in the NBA?

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      13%
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      25%
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      50%
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      12%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,881)

Comment »

Bill Baptist/Getty Images

NBA 5-on-5: Houston Rockets

Is Dwight Howard's will play in a stable environment a must-see this season? Or are you more interested to see how James Harden's play will change with the addition of Howard? Is Jeremy Lin's role with the team the biggest question facing the Rockets? The NBA 5-on-5 guys had their say and now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

What grade would you give the Rockets' offseason?

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    67%
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    24%
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    5%
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    1%
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    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,229)

  • What is the biggest question facing the Rockets this season?

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      23%
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      21%
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      7%
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      10%
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      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,827)

  • Who is the Rockets' most intriguing player this season?

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      7%
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      65%
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      4%
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      24%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,799)

  • Which of these bold predictions by the 5-on-5 panel is most likely to come true?

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      19%
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      17%
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      31%
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      16%
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      17%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,727)

  • Prediction time: How far will the Rockets go this season?

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      3%
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      17%
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      43%
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      24%
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      13%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,611)

Comment »

The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard rally this offseason. Now, according to Bradford Doolittle's WARP-based calculations, the James Harden-led team also wins the title of best backcourt in the NBA. These rankings aren't without controversy, though; the Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors didn't crack the top 10. Do you agree with the analytics? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

Best NBA backcourts

Clippers

Clippers

Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford

Heat

Heat

Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen

Lakers

Lakers

Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks

Mavericks

Mavericks

Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris

Nets

Nets

Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Joe Johnson

Nuggets

Nuggets

Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Evan Fournier

Pacers

Pacers

Paul George, George Hill, C.J. Watson

Rockets

Rockets

James Harden, Patrick Beverly, Jeremy Lin

Spurs

Spurs

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green

Thunder

Thunder

Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson

Timberwolves

Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Jose Juan Barea

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Mo Williams

Warriors

Warriors

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Toney Douglas

Wizards

Wizards

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Glen Rice Jr.

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