At this time last year, I previewed the NBA season.
Along with trying to figure out which teams would flourish and which would crumble, I also made a pretty bold prediction on which two teams would make it to the NBA Finals.
To my surprise, I actually chose the San Antonio Spurs to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You don't believe me? Check out the Oct. 26, 2006 edition and you will see that I was right.
Picking two teams to represent the championship is about as hard as Advanced Calculus.
How I got the two teams correct is still an accomplishment I cherish.
So what can I possibly do for an encore?
How about I do it all over again and try to go 2-for-2?
I know the odds are very stacked against me, but that's the fun of making predictions.
I could look good and analyze to the best of my abilities on how every team looks, or I can look like a fool, which most of my staff already thinks.
Here are some questions that are probably burning in the minds of some NBA fans as the season prepares for its opening.
Can the Cavaliers make the Finals again?
The answer is yes. This team is in the Eastern Conference. Any team from the East has a shot of making it to the NBA Finals.
Not to take anything away from LeBron James and company, but picking the right team to represent the East is a crap shoot every single year.
It's not like the West where the usual suspects make a run for the championship.
James came into his own, taking care of the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
However, when it came to facing the San Antonio Spurs, James practically disappeared.
The Cavaliers want revenge, and they want to prove that it was not a fluke.
With point guard Daniel Gibson breaking through in the playoffs, don't be surprised if Cleveland can do it again.
What is up with Kobe Bryant?
In the off-season, it was either trade me or don't trade me.
Bryant has become one of the most complex characters in the league.
He has endured a lot of scrutiny with Shaquille O' Neal being traded away in 2004, to his rape accusation in 2005.
Now, Bryant seems like he doesn't know what he wants.
He has already cleaned out his locker, and it looks like he is looking for a home.
There's no telling what to expect from Bryant until the season begins - Lakers uniform or not.
Who will be rookie of the year?
Now that No.1 overall pick Greg Oden is out for the season, all eyes will be on the No. 2 pick, Kevin Durant, from the University of Texas.
Last year, Durant won every single collegiate player of the year award, the first for a freshman.
Scoring 25 points in his recent home debut in a pre-season game for the Seattle Supersonics, Durant could be the man when it comes to rookie of the year voting at season's end.
Can the Dallas Mavericks recover from last year's embarrassment?
The Mavericks finished the season with the best record in the NBA. They faced the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs.
Golden State shut out Dallas during the regular season series.
Many ignored that stat since the playoffs are a different story compared to the regular season. The Warriors did not get that memo.
In six games, Golden State upset the Mavericks and sent the No.1 team packing.
Chances are Dallas will be a threat again. They now have the perfect balance of offense and defense to be a threat to the Western Conference.
As a matter of fact, if you are in the Western Conference, you pretty much are a solid contender to win the NBA Championship, which leads me to my next question.
Can the San Antonio Spurs repeat?
Being that the Spurs have a habit of not being able to repeat, it's probably bothering them, and I'm sure they are determined more than ever to accomplish that this season.
However, with teams like the Mavericks, the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns coming closer every year, the Spurs may have their work cut out for them.
So who do I have as the two representatives for the 2008 NBA Finals?
Before I get to that, let me get to my sleeper picks.
In the East, I like the Boston Celtics.
After getting Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Ray Allen from the Seattle Supersonics, the Celtics are that much closer to achieving greatness as long as those two, along with Paul Pierce, stay healthy.
Keep an eye on Boston. They could definitely make some noise this year.
In the West, watch out for the Houston Rockets.
Steve Francis is back after playing for teams that were subpar, and he is playing alongside Tracy McGrady - whom he was traded for when Francis went to Orlando back in 2004.
Add a healthy Yao Ming to the mix and it could be a recipe for a conference title.
Now to determine the two teams that I think will make the Finals.
In the East I'm picking the Cleveland Cavaliers again.
Every year this team gets better, and I think this year will be when they are at their best.
For the West, I'm going with San Antonio.
The Spurs have too many good weapons and they are tired of being known as the dynasty that can't repeat.
In other words, I see San Antonio winning it all this season.
Everyone has a clean slate as the season begins, and time will tell if I get this right again, but whichever team you root for this year, I hope they do well, except when they are playing my team.
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org