The Knicks have become quite a trainwreck that people in town can’t stop watching, reading or talking about them. They have lost 14 in a row and 15 (franchise-high) in a row at home. They alienated Kristaps Porzingis to the point they traded him to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks have been more of a reality show than a professional basketball team for the last two decades. They are a laughingstock. It sure makes one wonder why would any player want to sign with them as a free agent.
Meanwhile, the Nets have managed to have a good season with no fanfare. After a 135-130 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night at Barclays Center, they surpassed last year’s win total by winning 29 games. They are on pace to win at least 41 games. Not bad for a team that started from nowhere when Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and Nets general manager Sean Marks came over three years ago to oversee a daunting project. Remember this franchise did not have any up-and-coming stars to build around before the new administration arrived.
Yet, no one in town cares about the Nets. They don’t get much media coverage. They are not talked much about on Twitter. Their game stories are in the last few pages of the New York newspapers. The Nets’ TV ratings are among the worst in the league?
Players would rather play for the Knicks than the Nets.
Sure, the Nets may not have the cache the Knicks have, which is amusing in itself when thinking about it. There’s no drama with this franchise because there are no divas on that team. They may not be entertaining. So what? The Nets win, and they actually have a competent administration and a great work environment unlike their borough rivals. They are even more likable. With Mikhail Prokhorov selling his interest to the Nets to Joseph Tsai, the Nets are in great shape moving forward.
It’s time for this town to embrace the Nets. They deserve respect and coverage. They should get better treatment in town unlike the Knicks that can’t get out of their own way.
The Nets at least are interesting because they win. They have a chance to make a mark in the league in a few years in the trajectory they are in. They have good young players to build around in D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. Believe it or not, they are in a position to get a max free agent this summer.
In a month that features the dog days of sports, the Nets provide a welcome respite. They are intriguing because they can be even better than they are right now. No one is saying they will be playing in the Eastern Conference finals this season, but they can give the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics a run for their money in a playoff series this season. The Nets are projected to advance to the second round right now.
If the Nets keep winning, there’s no doubt a free agent will think he can make a difference for this franchise this summer. If they get Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler, they become a player in the NBA again. This would be bad news for the Knicks, especially if they don’t get couple of max free agents to play for them.
The Knicks can hold on to be the city’s popular team, but sooner or later, that won’t last forever. The younger generation will wise up and follow the Nets. The Knicks have been fortunate to build a brand that lasted four generations, but the last two decades have showed there is no reason to watch them. Already, there was apathy on the Knicks when the season started. Only reason people still care is they have this delusional hope that Kevin Durant and Irving will play for the Knicks this summer.
The Nets are minding their own business by winning and saying nothing.
Maybe fans are waiting for the playoffs to give the Nets a try, but there’s no reason to wait. This team has earned everyone’s faith and trust. They should be appreciated for at least winning and not embarrassing themselves. They have a team that everyone can be proud of now. They have come a long way from what they were when they came to Brooklyn and thinking they can buy themselves a championship.
This isn’t the same ol’ Nets. This is a team that has more style and substance than the Knicks.
They deserve better than a token coverage.