Dec 5, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Andrea Bargnani (77) has words with Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett (2) as they run up the court after Bargnani hits a three-point basket during the fourth quarter of a game at Barclays Center. Bargnani was immediately issues a second technical foul and ejected from the game. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets Have Quietly Saved Their Season, While the Knicks Are Wasting Theirs

Coming into the 2013-2014 season, both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks were expected to be top playoff contenders. At the start of the season, both teams got off terribly. They seemed way off key and had difficulties coming out with wins. They were a huge disappointment to fans, given the high expectations. Through five weeks of the season, the Knicks were 3-13 and the Nets weren’t much better at 5-12

However, as the season moved on, one team started to show improvement while the other showed no desire to come back. The Brooklyn Nets have been gradually improving and showing signs of hope in the second half of the season. The New York Knicks still sit as a disappointment, showing no signs of either hope or effort.

The Nets had a noteworthy offseason, bringing in a number of highly respected players throughout the NBA. The two big names were Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who they got in a trade with the Celtics. Both players will go down as some of the top Celtics in history, especially Paul Pierce. That being said, it took him a lot to leave. Pierce spent his entire NBA career, 15 years to be exact, with the Celtics before moving to Brooklyn. It was one of the biggest trades of the offseason, being compared to the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ move three years prior. Adding Pierce and Garnett to the already dominant roster including Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez made the Nets a team to lookout for this season.

The New York Knicks were also a favorite in the East coming into the season. With an underrated offseason in 2013, they built a pretty solid team with great depth in the roster. First off, the additions of Metta World Peace (who is no longer with the team) and Andrea Bargnani would bring size and long range shooting options to New York. Also, bringing back the explosive J.R. Smith (who is no longer explosive) and the big man Kenyon Martin (been hurt more often than not) would give depth off the bench. Lastly, keeping backup guard Pablo Prigioni gives the Knicks the option to play him between J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony. He brings a high IQ and a mistake-free body to the floor. These acquisitions made it tough to bet against coming into the season.

First Half

The first half of the season for the Brooklyn Nets left people disappointed, hopeful, happy, sense of failure and with wonders. All in all, it was confusing for Nets fans. They went 10-21 in the 2013 portion of the season. They had moments of happiness when they went on a three-game winning streak and when they defeated the defending champion Miami Heat. Unfortunately, that is all they had to be happy about. Everything else was a disaster. First off, 10-21 is a terrible record. Especially when you are thought to be a contender for the playoffs and have a dominant roster. Second, injuries were pouring on them left and right. Losing both Deron Williams and Brook Lopez to injuries devastated them. Needless to say, after roughly half of the season they did not perform to their standards.

Another team that proved everyone wrong after half the season is the Knicks. Looking at the New York Knicks roster, they should be an easy playoff pick. Instead, they showed that they are far from that. Posting a similar record to the Nets, the Knicks won 9 games and lost 21 in 2013. They showed their worst when they lost nine games in a row. A losing streak that started against Houston on Nov. 14and ended on Dec. 5th when they defeated the Nets by 30. Their only high point has been the play of Carmelo Anthony, who has played superb all season long. His play, however, hasn’t seemed to matter when it came to winning. Even when Anthony scored 45 points against Houston on Nov. 14, they still lost by three points. It didn’t help that their best defensive big man Tyson Chandler, who started the season off very well, went down with an injury that kept him out most of 2013. At the rate they were going, they most definitely would be watching the playoffs from their homes.

Second Half

When the calendar flipped from 2013 to 2014, so did the play of the Brooklyn Nets. With their recent win against the Lakers on Sunday, their record has improved to 26-28 (16-7 in 2014). A major contribution to the transformed Nets was their new starting lineup. Basically, Deron Williams has been coming off the bench voluntarily. In his place, Shaun Livingston has been getting the starts, along with Kevin Garnett replacing Brook Lopez, Alan Anderson at Power Forward, Paul Pierce at Small Forward and Joe Johnson at shooting guard. Also adding to the recent success of the Nets was Kevin Garnett’s stellar play. He seems to be more comfortable, playing close to the way he did at Boston. Their new head coach Jason Kidd has had a tough first year. Colliding with a number of injuries has given him no rotational stability, but what we have seen in 2014 is Kidd understanding how to counter that. He has become more adept at using his players effectively.

With the Nets showing a major resurgence after the flip of the calendar, the New York Knicks haven’t really shown anything different. They have continued their inconsistent play, having periods of ups and periods of huge downs. Early in January, they showed signs of improvement when they went on a five-game winning streak. Unfortunately, that was followed by a five-game losing streak as they went back to their losing ways. With their recent loss to the Mavericks on Monday, their record sits at 21-36 (12-15 in 2014). Carmelo Anthony has been the only consistent thing about the Knicks and the only thing to be proud of. Posting a 62-point game against the Bobcats on Jan. 24 and scoring 42, 44, 35 and 44 points in his last 4 games is something to be proud of. Unfortunately, his play still hasn’t brought them any wins. The Knicks are 1-3 in those games.

Similar Starts, Different Endings

Now that we are over the halfway point in the NBA season, it seems the Brooklyn Nets have shown that they are capable of winning against the best in the league. After both the Knicks and the Nets had very rough first halves to the season, it is definitely apparent that Brooklyn has saved their season and the Knicks continue to waste theirs. It must be true, that only time can unmark fate.

 

Editor’s note: This was a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and for more information on the NBA visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – your online source for anything about fantasy basketball.For more Brooklyn Nets stats, news and rumors and New York Knicks stats, news and rumors, visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues today! Also, get even more updates on Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page.

 

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