At this point, the Knicks are the more established franchise, while the Nets are the hip, young team looking to make inroads in their considerable fanbase. But while the Knicks have a greater history, the Nets may be better poised to make a title run in the near future.
With a solid lineup, and the potential to allure big names in the future, the Brooklyn Nets may be taking home the Larry O'Brien trophy before their more established rivals.
Here are some of the reasons why the Nets might be able to win a championship before the Knicks.
Nets fans spent much of last season wondering if Deron Williams would resign with the team.
Luckily, those fears are no more, and that's largely thanks to the addition of all-star Joe Johnson. Once the Nets traded for him, D-Will was convinced to stay in town. A smart call, because teaming up Williams with Johnson gives the Nets one of the best back courts in the NBA.
Both players are high-volume scorers, and both can take over games when they have to. In this situation, the two stars can lean on each other, and not have to worry about winning games entirely on their own.
Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have been teammates since February 2011, and they still don't play well together.
The problem is obvious: both players need the ball in their hands.
Melo especially struggles at moving without the ball. Because of this, each player often renders the other one redundant. It's been fun to think of them dominating together as a poor man's version of Lebron and Wade, but they simply aren't cohesive.
When the two players who are supposed to be leading a team can't collaborate in a positive way, that team is only going to go so far.
Hey, did you hear? The Knicks signed Jason Kidd AND Marcus Camby!
Wait, what's that? It's not 2003? Oh dear...
Yes, the Knicks have added to their second unit by going old, adding players who are far beyond their prime. We saw the Heat adapt a similar strategy in 2010 when they brought in Juwan Howard, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier.
Admittedly, Kidd and Camby have more left in the tank than those players do, but how long will it last for? Kidd declined considerably last year, and Camby is bound to show some wear and tear sooner or later.
If the Knicks wanted to add depth off the bench, they should've gone with players who won't be out of the league in two or three years.
Suppose the current Nets team doesn't make a huge splash. Maybe they underachieve and miss the playoffs, or maybe they go down in round 1.
Perhaps after this, it becomes clear that the current roster isn't the best team to make a deep playoff run with.
Well, that's not the end of the world, because Brooklyn has all the potential to attract a lot of big name free agents in the future. The Dwight Howard trade may have fell through, but he might give Brooklyn a second look during the trade deadline, or maybe next summer.
And even if that never happens, Brooklyn is a hip location that free agents looking for big market exposure will be flocking to in the future.
So, the Nets gave Brook Lopez a max contract, and people are upset. What's the big deal?
Oh right, he can't rebound.
Well, his scoring makes up for that to an extent, but more importantly, the presence of power forward Kris Humphries almost completely neutralizes that issue. He's one of the best rebounders in the league, and his immaculate board-grabbing skills can easily make up for Lopez's inadequacies in that department.
That way, Lopez can just worry about scoring at will—as he often does—and the big flaw in his game will covered up considerably, while Humphries won't have to worry about putting points on the board as much.
Lopez and Humphries aren't just a dynamic front court, they're one of the most logical in the game.
During the 2011-12 season, we saw glimpses of greatness from Marshon Brooks. Sure, he wasn't especially efficient, but he proved to be a quality scorer who could get baskets in bunches at times.
The addition of Johnson means Brooks will be coming off the bench, probably in a 6th-man role. If Brooks can work on his shot selection, and improve his efficiency, he can be a huge asset for the Nets this season, and for many years to come.
His rookie year showed that he has the raw talent to be a star. Now we will find out if he has the discipline to take the next step, or if he's destined to be another over-shooting 2-guard like Monta Ellis or Nick Young.
If he chooses the former, expect him to be an all-star fairly soon.
Let's go through the Nets' starting five one more time shall we?
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. There isn't a single dud in the bunch. The Nets have an above average starter at every position. Very few teams can boast that, and even the mighty Heat have a gaping hole at center.
Being solid can lead to great success, and while the Knicks are still wondering if their lineup is cohesive, and if Iman Shumpert can produce on a nightly basis, that won't be a problem for the Nets. They are as a solid as a team can get.