Well, at least now we know why LSU coach Les Miles spilled his guts about wanting to play Jordan Jefferson.

Just a day after Miles proclaimed he would not be opposed to burning Jefferson’s redshirt to get him playing time the rest of the season — a move that made no sense to me at the time — the truth came out that Andrew Hatch is injured with a leg injury and Jefferson is now needed to be the team’s backup.

No one knows the extent of Hatch’s injury — and I mean that when I say it — NO ONE, because he is going to be looked at by a physician tomorrow and given a prognosis.

So until then, let’s not speculate on the severity of the injury.

But Hatch was seen on crutches on campus earlier in the day on Tuesday, so I’d say the chances of him playing Saturday are slim and none.

Also slim and none are the chances Jefferson will make the big impact a lot of people on message boards and such seem to think the kid will make.

Get real.

This time last year, Jefferson was facing the likes of Hahnville, East St. John and John Ehret. That’s a far step down from Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

I believe this kid has sky-high potential, but for the time being, he will only be successful operating on option runs and dink passes.

I’ll talk tomorrow about if I think LSU will overlook Tulane again this season after last season’s debacle in the first half.

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The NBA season kicked off last night and although only 6 teams played, I think a clear-cut favorite to win the NBA title has already emerged and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the Celtics.

But it’s rather the Lakers, who looked lights-out good, despite not shooting the ball terribly well, in a blowout win against the upstart Blazers.

Tell me a team who can deal with a lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

I know Odom isn’t starting, but he will still be on the floor in money-time, so he is still a “starter” in my eyes as I measure ‘starters’ as the people who play in the last 6 minutes of a game.

So it will be tough for anyone out there to beat the Lakers and barring an injury, you can pencil them in right now to win at least 55-60 games.

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Today marks the beginning of the season for my two teams of cheering interest, the Houston Rockets and the Hornets.

And I must say, it’s a fun time to be a fan of both as they are each projected to have a big impact on the way the West is won this season.

I’ll begin with the Rockets, because they made the big splash and got Ron Artest from the Kings.

Artest joins Tracy McGrady and Yao as the new “Big Three” and when you throw in smaller additions like Brent Barry and a new year of seasoning for stud power forwards Luis Scola and Carl Landry, the Rockets are deeper and more equipped to make a run, even if injuries ravage through their roster like they have in years past.

I predict 55-57 wins for the Rockets and if they have each of their big three available in the playoffs (and that’s a big if), then I see them winning two playoff series and becoming the second best team in the West behind the Lakers.

The Hornets made a lesser move, but a move that may have just as big an impact as they signed Finals hero James Posey to help guard the perimeter and cannon threes off Chris Paul’s penetration.

The Hornets also return all their gunners from last season like David West, Tyson Chandler, Peja, etc…

But what concerns me is the backup point guard position. The Hornets currently have Mike James as their backup. And that is absolute garbage. I just worry that if James will be ineffective early in the season if Byron Scott will play Paul more minutes.

And if he does, then I wonder if Paul will be able to handle it.

We have to remember that there was no offseason for Paul last summer as he played deep into May in the postseason before training for the Olympics and winning a gold medal.

But assuming Paul remains 100 percent, I see the Hornets slipping just behind Houston into the third position in the West.

The reason for that is simple to me.

The Hornets won the Southwest Division by one game last season over Houston.

And I think all things considered:

Artest > Posey by more than one game.

So I see Houston winning the division by probably 2-3 games with the Spurs and Mavs lagging close behind.

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With all of that being said, here are a few preseason predictions.

MVP: Lebron James – I see 29 points, 8 boards and 8 assists in this young man’s future

ROY: OJ Mayo – Will be Michael Beasley if the Heat make the playoffs, but if not, Mayo’s 20+ a game will win him the award.

Coach of the Year: Sam Mitchell – Will anchor the Raptors into the playoffs as the 2-seed behind Boston and just in front of Orlando. Jermaine O’Neal (if healthy) makes them a real force.

Best Newcomer: Elton Brand to Philly

Worst Newcomer: Baron Davis to the Clippers

First coach to get fired: Lawrence Frank

Number of times it’ll be rumored Larry Brown will leave the Bobcats: 4

Leading scorer: Kobe Bryant — 31.4 per game

Number of games T-Mac will play — 72

Number of games Yao will play — 80

Best rookie no one has ever heard of — Courtney Lee (Orlando)

Stephon Marbury will remain a Knick all season and have an impact.

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That’s all for me.

Enjoy hump-day!

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