Who Are The Kings of New York?
This season, the Knicks have 99 problems and Brooklyn isn’t one of them. While I’m not discrediting anything that Brooklyn accomplished last year or during this off-season, but in my mind it is no question that the Knicks are the creme of the crop in the Atlantic Division. The rivalry between these two teams grew to record levels in Brooklyn’s inaugural season last year and with the way this off-season has gone, we can expect the same intensity this season. We are still nearly 3 months away from the opening tip yet these two squads are already talking shit and ready to claw each others faces off. Here’s why I feel the Nets will be watching the Knicks throne once again.
Lets start with each teams off-season moves and how they will affect this years outcome. Without question, the biggest move this summer came from the Brooklyn Nets when they acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Celtics for basically nothing but picks…sorry Kris Kardashian Humphries. The signing of Andrei Kirilenko will end up paying huge dividends as he will bring a defensive intensity that Joe Johnson never brings. Add these 4 new veterans with the core group built from a year ago of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez and you can say that the Nets had the best off-season in the league…that is unless you believe Dwight will actually do something this year. This team will definitely outperform itself from a year ago mainly because of the experience they added.
What’s amazing to me is that with the great moves Brooklyn has made, the Knicks have been overshadowed all Summer. What people aren’t talking about is the vast improvements the Knicks have made without losing much at all. New York has brought in 3 veterans that are all upgrades from a season ago. The Knicks picked up the one man that can defend any 2/3/4 in the NBA and who can also show some signs of offensive intelligence at the same time. Metta World Peace might be everything that is wrong with the NBA but he can sure play with the best of ’em. The Knicks also acquired Andrea Bargnani and Beno Udrih who will both provide extremely solid production off the bench alongside JR and Kenyon. The Knicks still have the best scorer in the game and if Tyson and Amare can come back healthy and Shumpert is the player everyone assumes he is then New York will be a tough team to tango with all year long.
Last year, Brooklyn and New York split the season series and each game was just as exciting as the next. One of the craziest things that happened between these teams this Summer was the retirement of the Knicks Jason Kidd and his hiring as the new Head Coach of the Nets. That move alone is enough to ignite the fire between these teams but add that in with Paul Pierce declaring his immense hatred of the Knicks and there are bound to be sparks flying all year. Pierce had this to say on the Michael Kay Show;
“I think the hate for the Knicks has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level. I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.” Pierce also had a lot to say about the rivalry at a Sprint Charity event; “The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge. And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can’t help but say this is probably gonna be the best rivalry in sports next year.”
I definitely agree that this will be the most exciting rivalry in sports this year. I am looking more forward to the Nets coming to town than I am the Heat or Pacers. I only say that because of the inner city battle; I think the Heat and Pacers both pose a much bigger threat than the Nets do this year. The main reason that I feel the Knicks will win the Atlantic Division, I’m estimating by 2 to 3 games, is because of chemistry and depth. The only everyday player that the Knicks are changing this season will be Kidd and we all know how he played down the stretch last year. This Knicks team is familiar with each other and have proven they belong the elite Eastern teams. The Nets will be right there with them this year but since there is truly no chemistry on the roster and the fact that their newly acquired players are all in the waning stages of their careers tells me that they are not ready to dethrone the Knicks from atop the Atlantic Division.
Let the biased Knicks hatred begin!