There’s no doubt that the Knicks still run New York. Ever since the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012, they still have not been able to build a legitimate fan base. Last season, the Nets were able to squeeze their way into the playoffs while the Knicks finished with their worst season in franchise history, winning only 17 games. This season, the Nets lost their first seven games while the Knicks are doing far better than last season, staying more or less around the .500 mark.
The Knicks have received far more help from their second unit than the Nets. Langston Galloway, Kevin Seraphin, and Derrick Williams have provided a huge spark off the bench for the Knicks. Although the Knicks are far from finding the perfect rotation, they certainly have the tools necessary to make the playoffs in the less competitive Eastern Conference. Meanwhile for the Nets, even their key players have been struggling. Joe Johnson, who holds the most lucrative contract on the Nets, has struggled with his shot, only averaging 11.2 PPG and shooting at 34.2%.
The rookies from both teams have shown promising starts. The Knicks’ rookie, Kristaps Porzingis, has shown immense potential in his game, averaging 13.4 PPG and 9.1 RPG. From his posterizing dunks to his blocking ability, Porzingis has earned the respect of Knicks’ fans and other NBA players. For the Nets’, they have been shorthanded for many of their rookies due to injuries, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been a bright spot for the team. Hollis-Jefferson started for the Nets in recent games and his defense has been a huge factor for the Nets.
Both teams also have different weak spots. For the Knicks, their inconsistent rotation has caused problems in their team dynamics. Derek Fisher has utilized almost all of the Knicks’ roster in different games and none of the players coming off the bench have received a consistent amount of minutes. Sometimes playing 12 or 13 players in a game is beneficial, but for the Knicks, it has proven to be more detrimental. The Knicks have been involved in more close games than any other team in the league, and subbing in multiple players at one time has only been counterproductive. For the Nets, their inability to close out games and lack of a playmaker have hurt them the most. Brooklyn has held a few leads heading into the final quarter of multiple games, but were unable to sustain the leads, subsequently leading to losses. Their miscommunication within the final minutes of a game also plays a role in many of these losses. Moreover, the Nets depend on Jarrett Jack as their playmaker. Although Jack is averaging 6.8 APG, the Nets’ offense run by Jack leads to mostly pull-up jumpers, which does not help get other players involved.
It can only get better for the Knicks from last season since they are coming off of a 17-win season, but for the Nets, it can only get worse from here. Once the Knicks settle on their rotation, they will be able to utilize their players to the best of their ability. In the meantime, the Nets will have to face a long season on top of their horrible draft pick situation.