The question began as soon as Bruce Ratner broke ground on the Barclay Center in 2010, “Who runs New York?” In my opinion, the New York Knicks do. You just can’t come on a new block and say you run things, you have to put down some roots first; maybe have a few fights, win or lose you will start to gain some respect, then you stake claim to the neighborhood. The Knicks and Brooklyn Nets had their fair share of fights last season, each team winning twice during the regular season.
The Nets had time to learn the neighborhood, see how things operate, how the old heads on the block had begun to relax a little because there was no competition for their crown. The city had shown that it was ready for a new king to emerge; they are tired of the bullying by a crew that is all talk and no action. Unlike last season, the new kids are prepared, the hype is gone, and it is time to take over the neighborhood.
The new crew had grown tired of the old heads and their fans bashing them on the web, newspapers and radio waves; it was time to fight back. The mastermind of the Nets, Billy King, called in a favor from the Boston Celtics and brought in some hired muscle, with experience in taking over neighborhoods and wearing the crown. As soon as the new muscle hit the neighborhood, they got into a verbal war with the old heads — one new member in particular, Paul Pierce, pulling no punches, said, “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.”
The new crew brought in Jason Kidd, who once ran the city across the bridge in the swamp lands to lead the Nets to the promise land. Kidd was just a year removed from playing with the old heads when the call came to lead the new kings, and he did it without a second thought. What plagued the Nets last season was toughness and a killer instinct, but not this season. The hired muscle, Kevin Garnett, Pierce and Jason Terry are battle tested, perceptive veterans, and not afraid to get in the opposition’s face, ask Carmelo Anthony.
The Nets, pushed around a year ago, are ready to flex some muscles of their own. There will be no NBA cameras following them, as the focus this season is the takeover. Deron Williams comes into the year healthy, ready to reclaim his spot as one of the best in the league. Brook Lopez, fresh off his first All-Star season, is ready to repay the organization for not trading him for Dwight “I can’t take the pressure” Howard. Joe Johnson will never live up to the money he is paid to stand on the wing, but knock down a few jumpers a game and all is well. The hired muscle will push them, make them want to be champions, and make them run this city.