After winning the championship four times in eight years, the San Antonio Spurs will host the Portland Trailblazers (without injured top pick Greg Oden) to launch another season of NBA basketball (8 pm/ET, TNT). The Rockets and Lakers (10:30 pm/ET) top off the opening-night doubleheader. Here former Pacers star Reggie Miller, who joins Marv Albert in the broadcast booth for the first game, weighs in on the new campaign.
TV Guide: If you knew on draft night that Oden would be out for the season, how would that have affected the Oden/Kevin Durant decision if you were the GM of the Blazers?
Reggie Miller: You're speaking to someone who would have taken Durant anyway. I know it's hard to find true centers, and I do love Greg Oden, but I'm an old-school guy who wants to win now, and Kevin Durant is more ready for the NBA now.
TV Guide: How close did you come to playing for the Celtics this season?
Miller: Really close. It was just such a unique opportunity. I would have played only this one particular year. Kevin Garnett is going to have an awesome season, because his enthusiasm is back. You give him some motivation and team him with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and I think special things could happen in Boston. I thought I could help with the younger guys and with the veterans. I decided my body could have done it, but it's just too much of a grind mentally.
TV Guide: After hearing the details of the Tim Donaghy officiating scandal, can you or viewers put it out of mind?
Miller: It's just such a black eye for the league, but they'll get past it. It will certainly mean more monitoring, but I don't think it's really fair to the rest of the officials. And fans certainly won't forget it. Officials never [have] a good day at the office anyway.
TV Guide: Is there a sleeper team ready to emerge?
Miller: With a healthy [Peja] Stojakovic, I like New Orleans, especially with Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler. And in the East — this is going to surprise you — there's a team that could be scary even with all the controversy, and it's the New York Knicks. They can rebound, pound it inside.... If they can get off to a good start, it'll help their confidence.
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