The NBA will look pretty different this season: Kevin Durant is a Warrior, Derrick Rose is a Knick and three all-time greats – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett – have retired.
A flurry of changes over the summer were deceiving though, because when the NBA regular season opens in five days, a lot of things will be exactly as we left them.
If you're a betting type, take a look at this list of 10 safe wagers for the coming year.
1. The Cavaliers and Warriors will 3-peat in the Finals – LeBron James is the NBA Finals at this point. Book his 7th trip. As for Golden State, the team has four max level players in its starting five. And now they're angry from last year's championship loss. Who's betting against them?
2. Which brings us to Charles Barkley, who will bet against the Warriors because ... they're a jump shooting team. He already went in on the 2016-17 Dubs a few days ago. "They're going to still be shooting jumpers ..." And so it begins.
3. There will be at least one Snapchat scandal. I feel really good about this call. Nick Young is still in the league. D'Angelo Russell is still in the league. And there will be dozens of rookies (including Diamond Stone). Everything could go wrong.
4. John Wall will be an All-Star. Two summer knee surgeries? No problem. The Wizards point guard looked dynamic as ever in preseason action, slicing to the basket at will. There's no reason he shouldn't make his fourth All-Star appearance.
5. The Spurs will be great. Yes, the Big Fundamental is gone. There has been some rumor of San Antonio considering trading LaMarcus Aldridge. But don't forget about Kawhi Leonard and last year's 67 wins. Even if the Spurs regress by 10 wins, they're still very good.
6. Drake will attend games in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Toronto, at minimum. Did I forget any cities the rapper could potentially party in or claim as his own?
7. Carmelo Anthony will wear a ridiculous hat to a game. Melo has a slideshow on his own website titled "The 7 Best Hats Melo Has Ever Worn." He'll probably take 20 shots per night, too, but let's stick with one Melo prediction per listicle, shall we?
"@BrickbyBrick_MP: Is Carmelo one of the 50 greatest players of all-time?" MAYBE. BUT HIS HAT GAME IS THE G.O.A.T. pic.twitter.com/s3Mvy8hBt2— BLACK SABRE JR. (@ppolk72) June 17, 2015
8. Knicks fans will demand Phil Jackson be fired. If the Rose trade does not work out, or the Triangle Offense doesn't work out, or Melo plays like he's 32 ... there are too many scenarios in which New York fans might burn Jackson in effigy. After all, every Knicks fan is an amateur GM who thinks they could do a better job.
9. Russell Westbrook will give Kevin Durant the stink eye at every opportunity and barely deny it. No one in the NBA has a better mean mug than Westbrook. And Russ has all but admitted he's pissed at Durant for leaving the Thunder without speaking to him about it. But really, this is good news for everyone else. An angry, kamikaze Westbrook is the most fun kind of Westbrook.
Westbrook on Durant's comments this week: "That's cute. We're gonna worry about all the selfish guys we've got over here, apparently." pic.twitter.com/FLjzjAZgla— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) October 13, 2016
10. Fans will rabidly defend Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. At some point, some person somewhere will compare someone and/or something to Michael Jordan and/or the 1995-96 Bulls. What a mistake that will be. Even breathing MJ's name will be perceived as a grievous sin against the history of American sport. It will not be tolerated. And basketball Twitter will mete out justice.
MORE NBA: Brooks believes rest is key to success