November 10, 2012

Battle For Supremacy: New York

By - Jaquan Murphy

This week, we shift our focus to the Big Apple. Sometimes called the concrete jungle, the question is -- who is king? The New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets?

Although the Nets are just moving into New York, they are no strangers to the region, having made the short trip from New Jersey. Since they now have a New York address, a state-of-the-art arena, and a starting lineup with two all-stars, are the Nets now the premier team of New York, or is it still the Knicks?

Photo by: Getty Images
Superstar point guard Deron Williams leads the Nets into Brooklyn as the face of the new look franchise. The Nets made a move to pair him up with former Atlanta Hawks all-star Joe Johnson to create a formidable duo in the East.

Throw them on the floor with high-flying wingman Gerald Wallace, along with Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez on the front line, and the Nets have one of the best lineups they have had in years.

The Nets biggest downfall is certainly their lack of depth. Their bench is led by streak scorer MarShon Brooks, and after that, they trot out a bunch of career backups. Inconsistent Andray Blatche and the undersized Reggie Evans are the reserve bigs. Josh Childress is the backup forward, and C.J. Watson joins Brooks in the backcourt.

But the team that resides in one of the most historic arenas in the world will not let their cross river rivals take the crown of "Kings of New York" without a fight.

The Knicks can put up a solid battle with anyone in the league. Led by multiple gold medalist and all-star forward Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks look to emerge as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season.

Carmelo is joined by Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton as the key cogs that make the team go. Defensive specialist Tyson Chandler is the rock in the middle of the defense. Defensive minded Ronnie Brewer rounds out the starting five for the Knickerbockers.

Like the Nets, the glaring weakness for the Knicks is their bench. When looking at the names, it is unclear if it is a list of current NBA players, or candidates for the AARP.

The youngest player, and most explosive, is J.R. Smith. Sharpshooter Steve Novak joins Smith as the other legit scoring threat off the bench. The Knicks hope the trio of Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby can provide veteran leadership and share their craftiness with the younger players. They hope these veterans can give them the needed presence to help push the team to the next level.

The Knicks also have something the Nets don't -- continuity.

The addition of Raymond Felton will be a smooth transition because he has always been a pass-first guard, and he is also a familiar face to the Madison Square Garden crowd. However, by bringing Joe Johnson to the Nets, it creates transition in the roles of the team's starting lineup.

Johnson must get acclimated to no longer being the go-to guy on a team, while Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace must adapt to their changing roles in the offense.

In the end, the deciding factor in this equation is the benches for both squads.

The Knicks have a bench that, although up there is age, is more than capable of holding their own when called on, and can also get the crowd back into a game if the starters are struggling.

The Nets on the other hand, don't.

So in the battle for New York, the victors are the Knicks.

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