The Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks rivalry has definitely begun. By resigning Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Wallace, and acquiring Joe Johnson and Mirza Teletovic, the Nets have a team that can definitely compete with, if not be better than their cross-river rivals.
First, lets look at the pieces added by both teams this offseason and which team improved more. Along with the players I mentioned above, the Nets also added Reggie Evans, an excellent rebounder and a good guy to have on a team, C.J. Watson, a quality backup point guard, Tyshawn Taylor, who has impressed just about everybody at the Orlando summer league, and Jerry Stackhouse, who will probably be the last man on the bench and have a job similar to that of an assistant coach.
While the Nets got many quality veterans that can still perform at a very high level and didn’t lose any core pieces, the Knicks acquired many players too old or ineffective to play at a high level. The big players that the Knicks got were former Net and 39-year-old Jason Kidd, 38-year-old Marcus Camby, 39-year-old Kurt Thomas, and Raymond Felton, who had the worst season of his career last year, averaging only 11.4 ppg. Additionally, the Knicks will almost definitely lose young (overrated) players in Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. Although the Knicks still have superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the team has quickly become very, very old and is probably worse than the 7th seeded team which lost to Miami in the first round last season.
I believe that the Nets will be a better team than the Knicks next season. Because of how old the Knicks are, they will have many injuries on that team which could even knock them out of the playoff picture. Of course, Knicks fans would blame the bad basketball on the injuries, but when half your team is over 35 years old, the injuries should be expected. The Nets, on the other hand, have lots of guys in the middle or approaching the end of their primes. They have veterans and plenty of leaders, and as long as injuries don’t destroy them like they did last season where the New Jersey Nets led the NBA in most games missed due to injury by 30 games, they should at least have home-court advantage in the first round.
Now on to the more fun stuff which is unrelated to basketball: trash talk. The Nets have been trying to make a splash this offseason to get people talking about them, and they have definitely been able to do that this month. Along with officially introducing 6-time all-star Joe Johnson to the media, on Friday Joe went on a grand tour of New York and even threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, a perfect strike. Also, when asked which New York team was better, JJ replied, “The Nets. Definitely, the Nets”. Even though the Brooklyn Nets have yet to play a game, it is clear that they are confident and ready to win over the hearts of New York basketball fans.
However, Carmelo Anthony clearly did not like the comments and hoopla surrounding the Nets this week. When asked about the Nets, Carmelo replied, “I hear they’re talking trash, but we’ll be ready for the challenge. I haven’t looked at the schedule, but when that game happens we will be ready” (the schedule has not been released yet, although it will be soon). To make things more interesting, Carmelo is on the USA Olympic team with Nets superstar point guard Deron Williams. Even though they will probably not be talking about the budding rivalry during Olympic training and games, it is definitely on the back of their minds.
The schedule has not come out yet, but on thing is for sure: the first game between the Nets and Knicks next year will be, as Knicks fan Spike Lee recently said, “war”.
Topics: Amare Stoudemire, Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, C.J. Watson, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Jason Kidd, Jeremy Lin, Jerry Stackhouse, Joe Johnson, Kurt THomas, Landry Fields, Marcus Camby, Mirza Teletovic, NBA, New York Knicks, Raymond Felton, Reggie Evans, Tyshawn Taylor