Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game five of the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Heat won 97-91
We sure don't miss you
Throughout this NBA lockout, we've seen more than enough of David Stern and Billy Hunter and everyone else involved in the fruitless labor talks. We want to see NBA basketball, but there are some things about the sport we miss more than others.
Do miss: Heat-Celtics
This was the NBA's most fun rivalry last season, with the ornery, old-school Celtics winning the first three regular-season matchups before the new-jack Heat took them out in the playoffs. We want to see more of that before Boston's Big Three breaks down and breaks up.
Don't miss: Bobcats-Raptors
Do miss: Dirk
Nowitzki's magnificent playoff run left us with a new appreciation of his extraordinary career. No longer is he the incredibly-skilled-but-too-soft star of the Mavericks. Now he's a true superstar with the heart of a champion. It sure would be nice to watch him play again.
Don't miss: Agent Zero
He used to be an explosive scorer with an endearingly goofy personality. Now he's not good and he's not funny. Gilbert Arenas, we miss who you used to be, not who you are.
Do miss: NBA debuts
It happens every year. Guys enter the NBA with a lot of hype and thrive immediately ... or get exposed. Either way, it's interesting, and there are a bunch of intriguing rookie guards we're wondering about now. Ricky Rubio (pictured) in Minnesota. Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. Jimmer Fredette in Sacramento. Kemba Walker in Charlotte. Can they hang or not? We want to know.
Don't miss: NBA farewells
It's often unsettling to watch great players at the tail end of their careers. We don't like to see them go out like Shaq did in Boston. It reminds us of our own mortality, and it sucks. But during the lockout no one gets older, including us, right?!
Do miss: Blake's dunks
Blake Griffin's rookie season was delayed a year by a knee injury, but for NBA fans it was worth the wait. The Clippers forward had 214 dunks, including this hellacious flush on Knicks victim Danilo Gallinari and not including his leap over a car to win the Slam Dunk Contest. How much longer will we have to wait to watch him dunk again?
Don't miss: Blake's free throws
When Griffin wasn't dunking, he was getting fouled. Only Dwight Howard shot more free throws last season than Griffin, who converted just 64.2 percent from the line, ranking 340th among NBA players. That's still better than Howard (59.6), but it's an area where Griffin needs to improve to become a superstar, as Karl Malone did eventually during his NBA career. Hopefully Blake is working on that in private because we don't miss seeing him clang foul shots in public.
Do miss: Kobe at work
Like him or not, Kobe Bryant is one of the most physically gifted, most skilled, hardest-working players in NBA history. But basketball greatness has a shelf life, and the lockout prevents us from seeing players who remain great, but won't stay that way much longer. That also includes Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett.
Don't miss: Metta at play
Let's admit it, Metta World Peace has been much more amusing during the lockout than Ron Artest was entertaining as a player last season.
Do miss: Southwest Division
The NBA's strongest division is all about good basketball. The Spurs, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hornets and Rockets all finished with winning records last season, going a collective 86 games above .500.
Don't miss: Central Division
Besides the Bulls, who finished with the NBA's best record last season, the Central was the home of ugly and boring basketball. The Cavaliers, Pistons, Bucks and Pacers went 86 games under .500.
Do miss: Thunder fans
No, this isn't the most sophisticated basketball crowd in the NBA, but the fans in OKC are loud, they love their team and they have a lot to cheer about. Plus, they look dang good in blue.
Don't miss: Celebrity fans
We get it. Celebrities are better than us. They can afford to pay $3,000 for courtside seats. Some, like Justin Bieber, are more rich and famous than the players. Can we lock him out too?
Do miss: Breakout stars
A funny thing happened when Portland's two stars, Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, were brought down by injuries. Another star emerged in LaMarcus Aldridge. Last season also saw the emergence of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and league MVP Derrick Rose. Who will going to bust out this season? Hopefully we'll know that answer before it's too late.
Don't miss: Major busts
Every time we see guys like Darko Milicic (pictured), Adam Morrison, Hasheem Thabeet and Kwame Brown, we don't shake our heads in awe at their basketball talent. We shake our heads in bewilderment that anyone ever thought they'd be NBA stars.
Do miss: "How much will he score tonight?"
Kevin Durant was the NBA's youngest scoring champ two seasons ago, then led the league again last season. Yes, the Thunder's star has been everywhere during the lockout, putting up ridiculous numbers at Rucker Park and in various exhibition games. However, we'd rather be asking this question about games where his opponents actually play defense.
Don't miss: "Where will you be next year?"
If we have an NBA season, Chris Paul (left) and Dwight Howard (right) will be getting asked this ad nauseam, as LeBron James was the year before he ditched Cleveland for Miami. Yes, it's interesting to think about superstars in new places, but we don't need to hear "no comment" every night until they become free agents.
Do miss: Miami drama
You may hate them and say you're sick of them, but judging by the NBA's monster ratings last season, you were watching LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The early-season struggles, the ups and downs, the arrogance and eventual comeuppance. It was great, unscripted drama that no reality show on TV can match.
Don't miss: 'Melo drama
All the Carmelo Anthony chatter last season turned out to be much ado about nothing. The Knicks weren't any better after they got him. The Nuggets weren't worse after losing him. Until 'Melo makes a big difference in the Big Apple, the lockout is giving us what we need when it comes to this overhyped star: a break.