Ever since the New Jersey Nets became the Brooklyn Nets that franchise hasn’t seen its best days. Despite making the playoffs in 2013 and 2014, they only won 20 games in 2016 and 21 games in 2017. Most recently, people who follow the NBA laugh at the Nets for trading multiple first round picks to the Celtics back in 2013. The Nets received Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, and the Celtics received the Nets’ 2014, 2016, and 2018 first-round picks. The Nets ended up not playing well and the former all-stars would retire without helping the Nets win a championship. As we all know, the Celtics continue to grow their already great team with these first round picks that have been very early picks in the draft and have been quality players. A new face of the organization and a clean slate was needed. D’Angelo Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets over the summer and has already made his claim that the Nets are his team. Averaging 28.4 minutes per game, he is averaging career highs for points per game at 23 per game and assists at 5.5 per game. Brooklyn now has their new franchise player in the former 2015 number two overall pick out of Ohio State. Russell had a disappointing first two years in Los Angeles, but now in a different situation and on a new team, he has taken advantage of this clean slate.
The New York Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 and their entire organization has been a complete mess. Phil Jackson was brought in as President of Basketball Operations and was fired last summer for not putting any effort into his job. Carmelo Anthony was their star player and face of their organization since 2011 and they traded him away this past summer because he was finally fed up with the organization. The Knicks basically gave up Anthony and didn’t get any quality in return. The Knicks have been the laughing stock of not just the NBA, but all professional sports. A once high franchise with rich history for basketball, is now at the bottom of the NBA. But luckily, the Knicks still have a young and talented player in Kristaps Porzingis. The former fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft has been a silver lining and is developing into a future all-star. This season, he is averaging career highs in points at 25.3 points per game and rebounds at 7.3 rebounds per game. The Knicks have to play every night in the spotlight of New York City, but with Porzingis, he gives them a chance to win any given night.
New York has a rich history of basketball and some of the best fans in the world. Basketball is arguably the most passionate sport for New Yorkers. Now, they have a great chance to create a new rivalry for their two teams that hasn’t quite sparked up yet. You have two young superstars who will soon be the face of their franchises if they aren’t already. These are the types of players who their fans can rally behind. The Knicks and Nets need to take advantage that they have these two young men who are great players. Lead by these two, their respective teams should square off in hard fought games every season. The battle for NYC needs to be more important and focused on. New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, and whoever is on top of this city is a big deal. The NBA would be better if New York City has a basketball rivalry. If the Knicks and Nets are smart, they will market this potential new rivalry and help spark the rich, old rivalry between the two franchises when the Nets were in New Jersey.