By Andrew Lombardo,
Sports Business Writer
Both New York City NBA teams are off to slow starts this season. However, the outlook looks more positive for the Brooklyn Nets than it does for the New York Knicks. The preseason storylines for the Nets expected them to be one of, if not the worst team in the association, but they sit at 4-8, which is not good by any means, but still a positive sign for the ailing Nets. The Knicks were hyped up as a possible playoff contender after having made multiple offseason moves in an effort to build around their existing stars. They have only managed a 5-7 record though so far, falling short of preseason expectations.
The Brooklyn Nets have been led by their center and best overall player, Brook Lopez. Lopez has averaged 20.6 points to go with 5.3 rebounds per game. As a well-paid veteran on a young, uninspiring team, he will be the subject of several trade talks this season. The Nets have also enjoyed the contributions of newly signed point guard Jeremy Lin. Lin has brought whatever amount of “Linsanity” he had left, leading the team with 6.2 assists per game while chipping in a solid 15 points as well. The rookie and hometown favorite Isaiah Whitehead has also managed to post efficient numbers in limited minutes off the bench.
The Coney Island native has given the Nets 4.6 points per game as well as 2.6 rebounds and assists per game, while playing solid defensively for 15 minutes a game.
The Knicks added former Chicago Bulls stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to a lineup that already featured Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. They also signed guards Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings in an effort to add depth. Despite the offseason moves, Anthony and Porzingis are still the Knicks leading scorers and best overall players.
Rose has managed to recapture some of the athleticism and magic from his MVP campaign, and has poured in a solid 15.8 points per game. It is safe to say the rest of the team, especially Noah, have underperformed. The Knicks only have three scorers averaging double digits and will need more role players to step up on the offensive end.
The most positive sign for the Knicks is the continued improvement of prodigy forward Kristaps Porzingis. The seven foot Latvian has more than held his own on both ends of the floor all while playing a team leading 32 minutes per game.
Regardless of what direction the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks go this season, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future. For the Nets, that lies in the abundance of young players and inexperience. The Knicks can already bank on Porzingis to be a difference maker for years to come. Expect the Nets to continue to struggle, while the Knicks will likely pick it up and make a playoff push.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.
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