Brooklyn Nets, Not the NY Knicks, Are NYC's Top NBA Team

Mike RaffoneCorrespondent IINovember 16, 2012

NY Knicks' Carmelo Anthony's scoring and rebounding have propelled the Knicks to the top of this year's NBA standings.
NY Knicks' Carmelo Anthony's scoring and rebounding have propelled the Knicks to the top of this year's NBA standings.Elsa/Getty Images

Basketball fans in the Big Apple are buzzing about the New York Knicks' red-hot start to this year's NBA season.

Victories over 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat, perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs and three other 2012 NBA playoff teams have packed Madison Square Garden and pumped excitement into the basketball-loving metropolis longing for its Knicks to return to NBA prominence.

Despite fast-breaking to the best record in the NBA to date, the Knicks aren't the best professional team in New York City's five boroughs.

Only a short subway ride away across the East River, the Brooklyn Nets will eventually surpass the Knicks in the NBA Atlantic Division standings and brandish bragging rights in the sparkling new Barclays Center as Gotham's top roundball squad.

Certainly the Knicks have broken out of the gate this season as world beaters. The drubbing of the Heat on opening night and the recent, thrilling fourth-quarter comeback from an eight point deficit against the Spurs proved that the Knicks are worthy to sit atop the NBA standings, at least for now.

However, expect Father Time to eventually have his way, as he usually does, and slow this Knicks early-season A Train Express, of sorts.

Further into the season, the aging legs of Jason Kidd (18-year vet), Marcus Camby (16-year vet), Kurt Thomas (17-year vet) and Rasheed Wallace (15-year vet) will tire noticeably. 2012 Summer Olympians Carmelo Anthony (9-year vet) and Tyson Chandler (11-year vet) have enjoyed little rest since the end of last year's NBA campaign and also risk getting tired. Shots will fall short, rebounds will be uncollected and defensive stops will be less frequent. The oldish Knicks will ultimately succumb to other youngish teams, like the Nets, as the season progresses.


When wild-card, injured Amar'e Stoudemire is added back into the rotation, the Knicks' current chemistry will fritter away as quickly as you can say, "Carmelo Anthony couldn't get along or share the New York spotlight and total touches with Jeremy Lin either!"

Don't forget that mercurial J.R. Smith has historically been more like Rasheed Wallace (why on Earth would the Knicks sign him?) than the brilliant sixth man he's shown so far into this short season. 

Raymond Felton will no longer have his way unhindered to the basket when opposing squads realize he's not a shot threat.

And lastly, Mike Woodson has performed admirably to date, but his NBA coaching career hasn't earned him any rings yet. It'll be curious to watch if the respected Woodson can marshal the resources of the old steeds to play like thoroughbreds, while mentoring younger players and maintaining a locker room harmony that was absent last year.

I applaud the Knicks' quick start and am equally energized by the buzz in the Big Apple. But, don't count on the Knicks progressing past the first round of the playoffs. Instead, watch them slowly fall from the top spot in the NBA standings like the giant ball in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, technically in the same city, witness the new-look Nets rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the past and emerge, like the Barclays Center, as the hottest thing in Gotham.

The Nets are led by the best all-around guard in the league, Deron Williams. The Nets' new owner has spent liberally in the offseason to surround Williams with a team that could face Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kris Humphries is no longer the punch line in a Kim Kardashian joke as his outstanding rebounding and defense are critical in the team's success.


Brooke Lopez has lived up to Shaquille O'Neal's preseason prediction as one of the NBA's top centers along with Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol.

Joe Johnson hasn't found his form yet, but this former NBA All-Star's stroke will help open up lanes for Williams to probe and Lopez to maneuver.

Gerald Wallace is the injured wild card that could pay huge dividends and determine just how deep the Nets advance into this year's NBA postseason. Wallace's freakish athleticism, fearlessness on the boards and intangible leadership qualities will serve the Brooklyn team well.

And lastly, the even-tempered, basketball-smart Avery Johnson will guide the reborn Nets further into the playoffs.

Yes, the Knicks have begun the year red hot and are worthy of all the attention they've received. However, they're not New York City's top NBA team. In June 2013, pick up any paper and read the sports page to prove my point.