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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

New York NBA teams will grapple to earn Big Apple honors

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have different predicted trajectories for the upcoming NBA season.
Michael Tipton, Rob Masefield (Flickr)
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have different predicted trajectories for the upcoming NBA season.

The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets both enter this upcoming National Basketball Association (NBA) season coming off of playoff appearances the previous year and look to build off of two impressive seasons from the year prior. 

The past few NBA seasons have proven to be steps in the right direction for both franchises. Even after the unsatisfying end to the Kyrie and Kevin Durant era in Brooklyn last season, fans of both franchises should enter this upcoming season feeling hopeful and excited.

The Knicks off-season was one of bolstering up the roster to fill out an already well built team. The Knicks offseason included the trade of their former eighth overall pick Obi Toppin to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for two second round picks. The trade was confusing to some Knicks fans, however, Toppin’s role on the team had diminished over the years and it seemed somewhat clear the Knicks were not going to extend him, so moving him to a better situation in exchange for draft compensation is overall not a bad move by the team.

In terms of added depth, the focus of the offseason seemed to be on the guard position. The Knicks re-signed shooting guard G Josh Hart to a four year, $81 million contract extension. The Knicks traded for Hart midseason last year, reuniting him with Jalen Brunson, his former Villanova teammate. Hart is one of the better defenders and rebounders for the guard position in the NBA, so securing him to a long term contract was a no brainer for the front office.

The Villanova connection doesn’t end there as the Knicks’ other offseason move was signing another former Villanova guard, Donte DiVincenzo, to a four year, $50 million contract. DiVincenzo spent last season on the Golden State Warriors where he averaged close to 10 points per game  and close to four assists per game, as well as providing solid defense for the team. The signings of DiVincenzo and Hart solidify one of the better guard rotations in the NBA.

The Knicks come into the season with a solid combination of young up-and-coming stars and solidified veterans with plenty of depth at every position. The starting five for the upcoming season currently look to be Jalen Brunson at point guard, Quintin Grimes at shooting guard, RJ Barrett at small forward, Julius Randall at power forward and Mitchell Robinson at center. Off the bench, the Knicks will run lineups that include Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, Immanuel Quickly, Isaiah Hartenstein and Jerico Sims.

The Knicks come into the season off an all-star appearance from Julius Randall and a tremendous caliber season from Brunson, along with a 47 win regular season and an impressive playoff series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. There are high hopes for this year’s  Knicks roster and all Knicks fans should look forward to battling the other top teams in the East.

As for the other squad in NYC, The Nets come into the season in more of a state of uncertainty than the Knicks as the roster went from championship contention with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, to a rebuild after their departure. The team is now led by young star Mikal Bridges (another former Villanova player) who, after he was acquired by the Nets from the Suns in the KD trade, had a breakout season for the Nets that solidified him as the leader of this new look team.

In the offseason, the Nets had two selections in the NBA draft where they took Noah Clowney and Dariq Whitehead with back to back picks late in the first round. Their immediate roles on the team are uncertain but both have time to develop and showcase their talents on the rebuilding of the Nets roster.

The Nets also made some moves to get rid of larger contracts on the roster as a part of this rebuild, as both guard Patty Mills and guard/forward Joe Harris were traded after the season in order to both free up cap space and move on from older players.

In terms of offseason signings, the highlight of the offseason was the contract extension given to the other player from the KD Suns trade, forward Cam Johnson, who was given a four year, $94.5 million extension to stay on the team. Johnson is coming off of a season where he too took a step with his new team, finishing the season averaging close to 17 ppg and solidifying himself again as one of the best three point shooting forwards in the NBA.

New faces in the Nets locker room include guard  Dennis Smith Jr., who was signed to a one year deal this past offseason to come off the bench for the team. Smith Jr. is coming off of a solid season for the Charlotte Hornets and is a good player for the Nets to take a chance this season as they look to find direction as a team.

The Nets have a few question marks coming into this NBA season. The biggest one lies with guard/forward Ben Simmons, who was traded to the team from Philadelphia as a part of the James Harden trade and has since been more of a salary cap burden than anything else. Reports from the team have made fans hopeful for Simmon’s performance this upcoming season, however, fans will have to wait and see if this is the year Simmons goes back to his all star and all defensive ways.

The starting five for the Nets this upcoming season is looking like it will be Ben Simmons at point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie at shooting guard, Mikal Bridges at small forward, Cameron Johnson at power forward and Nic Claxton at center. Off the bench, the Nets will run lineups that include Dennis Smith Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neale, Cameron Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe. The potential of this Nets team is uncertain as of now, but the roster is full of young stars who are likely to have a breakout season, so keep an eye out for the Nets this year.

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