JR Smith: Knicks, not Nets, are still the “marquis” team in New York
Ever since the Nets made the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn at the beginning of last season, it seems that the rivalry between them and the New York Knicks has intensified. The majority of the contests between the two teams last season were very competitive, and the fact both were able to secure playoff berths last year only added fuel to the fire. In the end, the Nets were unable to outperform the Knicks, with the Knicks not only winning the Atlantic Division, but also getting to the second round of the playoffs, as opposed to the Nets first round exit courtesy of the Chicago Bulls.
The Knicks biggest moves this off-season, aside from the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors, has been keeping the team they put on the court last season in tact. The team made it a priority to re-sign two important contributors last year, shooter JR Smith, and backup point guard Pablo Prigioni. However, the Nets decided to make more of a change to the roster by completing a blockbuster trade with the division rival Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry.
The roster shakeup by the Nets immediately poses this question: who is the best team in New York? According to the aforementioned JR Smith, the answer to that question hasn’t changed:
JR Smith on the Nets’ moves: “They have a great chance to compete for a title but I think we’re still the marquis team in New York.”
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 8, 2013
To be honest, the evidence in proving this statement true or false is going to be acquired months down the road. Right now, the rosters are only on paper, and it will take a while to know which team really rules the Big Apple. That being said, with nearly an identical roster, there is no reason to believe the Knicks won’t be able to duplicate their successful 2012-2013 season.
The X-Factor in this equation is how well the new look Nets will mesh. On paper alone, the Nets present possibly the best starting five in the league, with every position sporting an all-star appearance on their resume , and aside from young stud Brook Lopez, the rest of the starting lineup has multiple appearances. With the additional free agents acquisitions of guys like Andrei Kirilenko, the Nets are pretty deep as well.
As of this moment, the Knicks have the better team, but the Nets probably have the higher ceiling. Fortunately, there’s an 82 game season, and months worth of playoff games to determine who the real king of New York is in the NBA.
By: Frank Santos- Sports-Kings Co-Founder