Last season was the birth of a New York sports rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets had high hopes but everyone knew realistically the Knicks were the better team. Mikhail Prokhorov wasn’t accepting to be second fiddle to the Knicks for much longer. The Russian billionaire did not care about a luxury tax this offseason and got the best available players he can get for his team.
Some say the Nets now have the best starting five in the NBA, with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce the Nets are now a threat in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks have made moves of their own that they believe will get them over the hump. Let’s take a look
New York Knicks
Departures: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland
Additions and Re-signings: Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway Jr., C.J. Leslie
There’s no doubt that the Knicks have made roster changes, but have they improved their team? They added two veterans, drafted two offensive minded players, and brought back two key guards.
Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin make for one tough defensive duo, add in Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler to that mix and you have a fantastic defensive lineup.
I think the only departure the Knicks will miss is Copeland, who showed flashes of being a consistent offensive player in his rookie season. Kidd was physically unable to play at the end of the season and there was no way he could contribute over another 82-game season. He will now try to dethrone the Knicks as Atlantic Division champions and become the kings of New York.
Mike Woodson will likely start Raymond Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Carmelo Anthony, and Chandler. He will have an awesome second unit of Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Martin. Hardaway Jr. will probably see playing time also.
The Knicks have a very deep team but if Anthony and Smith go cold from the field again like the playoffs, will the whole offense shut down? Will Stoudemire finally give the Knicks a healthy season? Will Bargnani flourish in a bigger market now that he has a smaller role?
There are a lot of preseason questions for the Knicks and you have to wonder if last season was their best chance at a championship.
Departures: Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, C.J. Watson
Additions: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston, Mason Plumlee, and Jason Kidd as head coach
The Brooklyn Nets are all-in.
The Boston “Big Three” is long and gone but now Pierce and KG will try to bring that championship demeanor to Brooklyn. Jason Terry will battle, maybe physically, J.R. Smith as the best sixth man in town while Garnett will certainly have some words with MWP and ‘Melo.
Kidd’s starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett, and Brook Lopez is scary on paper. But as we all know, the game isn’t played on paper, just ask the Lakers last season. Since the Miami Heat created their super team, many teams in all the sports have tried to copy their success- the Lakers, Eagles, Red Sox, and Dodgers come to mind.
But while I think the Nets have a good mix of superstars, but you don’t win games on paper.
Whether or not the Knicks or Nets have the better team right now is debatable, but only one thing is for certain at the moment. That’s the fact that the Knicks and Nets rivalry might be the best in New York and all of basketball next season.
Both teams are gritty, talented, and have high expectations.
Basketball can’t come sooner in New York.