1 Will Derrick Rose return to pre-injury form?Rose hasn’t played since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Game 1 of the first round of the 2012 playoffs against Philadelphia. Rose didn’t play at all last season — the disgruntled Chicago Bulls fans didn’t like that — and finally has confidence that he can be just as explosive as he was before the injury. 2 How effective will Kobe Bryant be this season?Bryant underwent Achilles tendon surgery in April and there is no timetable on when he’ll be able to play again without any restrictions. One of the NBA’s all-time greats, Bryant admits he’s out of shape. And at 35, it’ll be interesting to see if this Kobe Bryant can ever be the Kobe Bryant of old. 3 Is the Miami Heat poised for a three-peat?LeBron James said the Heat would win “not two, not three, not four, not five ... ” NBA titles when he left Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach three years ago. Other than the loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals, James has been dead-on with his prediction. And the Heat is the overwhelming favorite to win it all again. 4 Can Dwight Howard lead Houston to a title? Howard surprised many by leaving the storied Los Angeles Lakers via free agency to join the Rockets. Howard is still the game’s most dominant center. And if he can get totally serious about his game, utilize teammates James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin to the fullest, the Rockets can soar to new heights this season. 5 Will Jason Kidd succeed as a first-year coach with the ultra-talented Nets? When he looks at his roster, Kidd has all sorts of talent staring at him. With Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, the Nets have pieced together a star-studded lineup that Kidd has at his disposal. But how Kidd distributes playing time and manages egos likely will determine the Nets’ success.