We here at Sir Charles In Charge would like to welcome new writer Dakota Gardner to the staff! – Chris Walder (Lead Editor)
This year, New York becomes the second city in the United States with two NBA Franchises. In Los Angeles, the supreme team is clearly the Lakers. They have the more famous fans, the more famous colors, the more famous players, and the more famous egos. They are the team of Magic, Kareem, and Kobe. Their history is one of GREATNESS and SUCCESS, and it is without reservation (but with a little pain) that I say Los Angeles is totally owned by the Lakers. The Clippers have made a decent charge in the past two years, but they still have a long way to go before they can tackle the purple and gold Goliath.
The Knicks, however, are not the Lakers. In fact, a look at the history of the Knicks makes them appear much more like the Clippers- a hated owner, incompetent management, boneheaded trades, overpaid pseudo-stars, and horrible coaching. The Knicks have history, sure, but theirs is far from the winning tradition of the Los Angeles Lakers. Theirs is closer to the winning tradition of Grand Moff Tarkin, Betamax, and the French Army.
This is why the Knicks are mere moments away from losing New York City- at least for the next five years anyway.
At the start of next season, the Brooklyn Nets will open the brand new Barclays Center right in the transit hub of BK. I live within walking distance of the new arena. I can see it on my way to work. My friends live next door to it. It is, truly, a part of my neighborhood. When I walk by it, I see dozens of people wearing “Brooklyn Nets” t-shirts. I see them on the subway. I see them on the street. In a city where everyone is looking for the next big thing, the Nets are quickly becoming that thing.
Brooklyn, the borough, is up-and-coming, the center of cool, and the home to artists and families alike. It is a complete cross-section of New York’s population. Manhattan, on the other hand, is decidedly upper-class, white, and homogenized. Brooklyn, the team, is genuinely cool, owned by half of Watch the Throne, and has jerseys colored black and white – the New Yorker’s favorite palate. Brooklynites are proud of their home, and to see it written across the chest of some of the world’s greatest athletes will certainly be enough to remind them that there is life outside of JD and the Straight Shot. It might also be enough to tempt them.
The Knicks have history- sure. But with history, comes baggage.
There are 6 teams who haven’t made draft selections in the top 5 since 2000: Lakers, Suns, Pacers, Mavericks, Spurs, and Knicks. All but one of those teams has won at least 50% of their games since that time. Guess which one hasn’t?
In fact, those teams account for the top 4 league-wide winning percentages in that span, with only the Pacers finishing out of the top 10.
The Knicks are 26th. The Nets, meanwhile, are actually 21st.
On top of all of this, the Nets are the better team! The Knicks have ‘Melo, Amar’e, Chandler and what? Felton? Camby? Novak? JR Smith? Shump? You cannot win an NBA Championship if Raymond Felton is your point guard. The only thing you can win with Raymond Felton at the helm is a hot dog eating contest.
Meanwhile, the Nets have put together a shockingly good starting five: Deron WIlliams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. That’s a team that will make some noise in the playoffs. Add to that Marshonn Brooks, who will absolutely thrive in the scorer-off-the-bench role. The only problem I foresee them having when playing the Knicks is that Gerald Wallace’s stout defense will allow Carmelo Anthony to shoot his favorite shot- the properly-covered, long 2. He’ll get that shot all day, and he’ll have no qualms about taking it all day. It’s one of the many qualities that made the pre-and-post Linsanity Knicks so soul-crushing to watch.
Look, I want to love the Knicks, I do. Madison Square Garden is an amazing place. Patrick Ewing is unfairly criticized for having never won a title. John Starks is one of the toughest guys to ever wear a uniform. The Knicks really do have quite the past. Unfortunately, their future looks extremely bleak. Good thing they saved that amnesty clause for when Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract starts to look ba- oh…wait…nevermind.
The Nets are going to win the season series. They’re too talented not to. It’ll be exciting when they do it at home, for sure, but when they march into Madison Square Garden and take the Knicks to task, things are gonna change in NYC. Jay-Z said the Nets could go 0-82 and he’d look at you like it was gravy. Lucky for him, I don’t think he has to worry about that. James Dolan, on the other hand, might not have the same luxury. Knick fans will have a hard time staying on the ship when the team across the East River is going H.A.M.
Does New York belong to the Knicks? For now, yes. But check again in 6 months, and the story might be different.
Follow Dakota Gardner on Twitter @dakotagardner