By Nishaad Ruparel
me tell you what builds and maintains a fan base: sensationalism, loyalty and results. A team that employs superstars, stays loyal to its city and historically performs well is more likely to have a very strong fan base. Between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks are clearly a stronger team in every category: history, fan base and superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
The Knicks are one of the only professional basketball teams to still be playing in the same city in which it was founded — Manhattan since 1946. Time and dedication to a city and a community builds loyalty; it’s that simple. I wouldn’t expect the Nets, a team that had a hard time selling seats in New Jersey, to come to New York and steal a noticeable amount of fans from the Knicks.
Perhaps a tougher question is which team will produce better results this season. I’m leaning toward the Knicks in this category as well. It was clear last year that the Knicks were missing an effective point guard who could run the offense and play to the strengths of the rest of the team. Newly acquired Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton are experienced leaders who are both capable of getting the job done. Moreover, the Knicks have more depth than the Nets. In addition to Anthony, Stoudemire and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, the Knicks also boast a solid bench, featuring Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Iman Shumpert and Marcus Camby. The Nets may have firepower in their starting five, but they do not have the luxury of a deep bench.
By Karthik Ramakrishnan
The New York Knicks hold the glory that comes with playing in the Big Apple for 66 years, but only die-hard fans will find meaning in this trivia. The majority of basketball fans, especially those attending games, will want to see an electrifying display of skill. Once it becomes clear in the beginning of the season that the Nets outclass their intercity rival, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will become the capital of New York basketball.
The Nets had an incredibly busy offseason, acquiring a plethora of talent to create a formidable starting five. General manager Billy King persuaded forward Gerald Wallace and point guard Deron Williams to stay, and guard Joe Johnson was signed for a four-year, $90 million contract. Though a blockbuster deal with Dwight Howard fell through, the Nets re-signed Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries to keep their frontcourt intact.
Nishaad is right, the Nets’ most glaring problem is its bench. With so much money spent on the starting lineup, a deep roster could not be assembled in Brooklyn. The additions of C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans should supplement the starting backcourt decently well, but a huge hole remains in their frontcourt bench players. Despite their flaws, Brooklyn’s impressive lineup of All-Stars should lead the Nets to more success than the Knicks.
The Knicks’ most fundamental problem, developing chemistry between Anthony and Stoudemire, shows no signs of being resolved. Newly signed Kidd will improve ball movement, but it is doubtful he will either be able to balance Carmelo’s demand for isolation basketball or Stoudemire’s need for the ball down low.
Brooklyn has the talent to become a perennial playoff team — it is just a matter of when. If the renovated squad clicks in time, I think it has the potential to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. New York City basketball fans will experience a change in basketball heart. The team that Jay-Z helped bring to Brooklyn will “Run This
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 19 print edition. Nishaad Ruparel and Karthik Ramakrishnan are contributing writers. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.