Dec. 02, 2016
Quite frankly, Nets are better than Knicks
After Tuesday night’s Knicks’ 110-96 win over the Nets last night at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks improved to 3-4 while the Nets go to 3-5 for the season.
Both teams have the same number of wins despite the Nets playing one more game than the Knicks. It’s discernible which is a better team to watch.
The Nets are more of an entertaining product than the Knicks. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but that’s the case from watching both New York teams so far. It’s not even close.
The Knicks have star power, but the Nets are a fundamentally sound team that is great for the basketball purist’s soul.
Nets general manager Sean Marks and first-year Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson have already built a culture with the Nets. Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson can’t say the same in his Knicks tenure.
The Nets will grind it out. They will defend. They will operate the offense smoothly. They are grasping the concepts of playing basketball. The Knicks are still figuring it out in the 3 ½ years of Jackson’s tenure.
It’s an indictment of Jackson the Knicks have yet to figure it out in his tenure. It shouldn’t take forever to figure it out, especially if the Nets can figure it out since the start of training camp.
The Nets won three games despite Jeremy Lin being on the injured list. This team has no talent to build around. Sorry, but Brook Lopez is not a definition of a star when he tends to be inconsistent often.
The Nets are doing okay because they play defense and they share the ball. Atkinson has done a great job getting his guys to play the game right. He has coached them up well.
The Nets are not going to win that many games. If they win 26 games, it would be an impressive achievement. One thing for sure. The Nets won’t get outworked and outcoached often.
The Nets are doing a good job developing players such as Sean Kilpatrick, Trevor Booker and Jordan Hamilton. It remains to be seen if these three will be star playing moving forward, but first things first. They are learning how to play the game. They have done a fine job of it so far.
If the Nets had a star player, they would be a playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference. They simply don’t compare to other teams in their conference. In last night’s game against the Knicks, they could not find a player that can make a big shot down the stretch, which is why they lost last night.
It’s going to be tough for the Nets to find a star player. They are capped out. They don’t have high draft picks for a long time. They have to hope Isaiah Whitehead develop into that type of player eventually.
The Nets will try to get assets for Lopez, but what value does he have? He is often hurt. He doesn’t play defense. He is such an enigma, which the Nets don’t know if he is going to play well on a given game. It appears teams are going to be gun-shy into giving up so much for the Nets center.
It will be a long rebuilding process for the Nets, but they are on the right track. They are better off now than they were few years ago when they were boring and mediocre. They finally realize the way to go to win with young players through development.
Jackson tried rebuilding by dumping everyone from the 2013 roster with the exception of Carmelo Anthony. It did not work. With James Dolan and Knicks fans being impatient with the way the Knicks are going, the Knicks president of basketball operations decided to make trades and participate in free agency in building around Kristaps Prozingis and Anthony.
The Knicks acquired Derrick Rose, and they followed it up by signing Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. They were expected to be a playoff team after spending money.
So far, the Knicks have not been that good. They don’t play defense. They have had a hard time running the triangle offense. There are guys who don’t trust each other.
It’s early, but there are signs of problems that may be hard to overcome. This is a roster that does not feature players that play defense. Even Noah and Lee haven’t done that.
Last night was the first time this season the Knicks gave up less than 100 points. Putting Brandon Jennings and Willy Hernangomez on the court in the second half made a difference on defense. Those two had rebounds and stop to set up the Knicks offense.
The Knicks offense is a question mark. They have three players that need the ball to score in Anthony, Rose and Prozingis. It’s going to be hard for one of them to be effective if they have to defer. That’s been a problem so far.
It worked last night when Anthony and Rose fed the ball to Prozingis as he was making shots in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
The Knicks also have a hard time running the offense when Anthony is on the court. Anthony needs to shoot, shoot and shoot for him to be effective. He becomes a black hole on offense, and that’s what frustrated Jackson so far. Anthony has this ability to run the Knicks out of a game.
Last night, Anthony made six shots in a row in the third quarter to help the Knicks get a 70-69 lead in the third quarter. He scored 14 of his 22 points in that quarter to have the Knicks finished the third quarter with a 72-71 lead. He was in a zone, so it worked out.
To Anthony’s credit, he deferred to Prozingis in the fourth quarter.
It remains to be seen If Anthony, Rose and Prozingis can play together. That’s where first-year Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek has to earn his money. It’s up to him to figure this piece of the puzzle.
The Knicks are going to have a hard time making all of this work as long as Anthony is around.
With the Nets, it’s not a problem since they don’t have players who are interested in running an isolated offense. The players are about passing the ball and making each other better.
The Knicks may have more wins than the Nets at the end of the year, but the Nets are more worthy of a basketball fan’s time.
What the Nets are playing is basketball while with the Knicks, they are running a Chinese fire drlll on offense.
No one has to be Dr. James Naismith to know the Nets are more watchable than the Knicks.