Despite Brooklyn’s offseason, the New York Knicks still control their city.
As we’re nearing the end of another disappointing free agency looking ahead to the looming free-agent class of 2021, the New York Knicks’ crosstown rivals, Brooklyn, look to have put together a contender. Many people have even gone on to say that New York is now the Nets town, but that is not yet the reality basketball fans face.
Yes, the Nets have put together a more intriguing roster to follow on a night to night basis, but no they are not New Yorks team, not yet at least. Just like the Clippers are still not Los Angeles’ team even after having the best odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals.
The Knicks have way more problems than the Nets and it will probably continue for at least the next year or two but some are quick to forget that tourists don’t come to the Big Apple to go see the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclays Center, they come here to go experience arguably the most famous arena in the world in the Madison Square Garden and watch the New York Knicks play.
Even though the sorrows and terrible teams of recent memory games will continue to be sold out even if there isn’t a superstar in blue and orange, or if Dolan remains the owner of the team. This is because going to a New York Knicks game at MSG isn’t just for native New Yorkers but also remains on the to-do list of every sports-loving tourist who travels to the greatest city in the world.
When it comes to the product on the court the Nets have more depth and ticket selling caliber players but with Kevin Durant having torn his Achilles he may never be the same again. Without Durant the Nets will not compete for a title but will instead face a constant second-round outing in the playoffs each year.
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Durant may never return to his MVP caliber self or even how he was in Golden State. He could be a shadow of himself and if that is the reality which it very likely could be then this Nets team will likely face no more success than their attempted creation of a super team on draft night in 2013 by getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to team up with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.
In Manhattan, on the other hand, it looks very possible that Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle will both have breakout years and form a solid frontcourt tandem for the foreseeable future of this franchise. Guards like Allonzo Trier and Frank Ntilikina will both have a chance to grow tremendously in their second and third years respectively.
Dennis Smith Jr is probably the most intricate piece in my opinion to how this teams future will be shaped. He averaged 14.7 points and 5.4 assists in 21 games with the Knicks after being traded from Dallas before the trade deadline. If he can run this offense well while also progressing his game in his first full season with the Knicks they may no longer have to worry about finding their franchise point guard.
RJ Barrett, although having a slightly rough summer league as many stars have, should turn out well and eventually be one of the top scorers in the league. Now if you bring these guys together and add role players like Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Marcus Morris, the team has a very bright future, if the Knicks management doesn’t screw it up of course.
The New York Knicks are not better than the Nets right now, but in the near future, they could be. New York will always remain the Knicks town, especially when the Nets have only been within state lines for less than a decade.