There has been a debate swirling around NBA circles regarding the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. With all of the talent that the Nets have added this summer, people are wondering if the Nets will be able to take the throne the Knicks have long owned as the kings of basketball in New York.
In the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Knicks finished the season looking like the much better New York based team. The Knicks finished the year with 54 wins and in second place in the Eastern Conference while the Nets finished with just 49 wins and in fourth place in the East. Moreover, the Knicks also made it to the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs while the Nets were bounced in the first round.
However, one of the two teams has made relatively lateral moves while the other has greatly improved their talent level and their depth this summer. The Knicks are obviously the first team while the Nets are the latter.
As just about everyone knows at this point, the Nets added Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in a trade on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft with the Boston Celtics. Along with that they also added Andrei Kirilenko this off-season and some decent depth with Alan Anderson.
Meanwhile, the Knicks’ biggest moves of the summer were trading for Andrea Bargnani, re-signing J.R. Smith and signing Metta World Peace. In the process, though, they also lost Steve Novak, Chris Copeland and Jason Kidd, all for various reasons. Sure, the Knicks made other moves, but it really feels like this team barely improved, if they did at all.
The biggest question is whether or not the moves that the Nets made are enough to vault them above the Knicks. Though adding aging stars like Pierce and Garnett is a big deal, the fact that this is a much deeper Nets team is what really improves them.
Down the stretch last season, the Nets were starting Reggie Evans at power forward and Gerald Wallace at the small forward. Now they have Garnett and Pierce as their starters and can bring Evans and Kirilenko off of the bench. That’s a huge upgrade in that regard. They also have Terry to bring off of the bench now at both guard positions, a much better player than anyone they would have brought in as a reserve last year.
Another thing that can’t be overlooked with Brooklyn is the effect that new head coach Jason Kidd could have on Deron Williams. Williams has been an above-average player, but he’s never seemed fully engaged as a player and leader with the Nets. With Kidd’s experience as an NBA point guard, he could reach D-Will in a way that we’ve never seen before.
The Nets obviously don’t have the storied history or engrained culture that the Knicks do. That’s likely never going to change. The Knicks also have arguably the best player between the two teams in Carmelo Anthony. However, when you get down to how much the Nets have improved this off-season, it seems pretty obvious that Brooklyn is the best team in New York coming into this season.