Three reasons Knicks are better than Nets

October, 29, 2012
10/29/12
10:00
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Whether the words are coming from the owner or one of the star players, the Brooklyn Nets have been talking about taking over the city for a while now.

Will it happen in their first year in the Big Apple? Don't think so.

Here are three reasons why the Knicks will remain the most relevant team in New York in 2012-13:

1. DE-FENSE! The strength of this Knicks team -- from the head coach on down -- is on the defensive end. Last season, the Knicks finished in the top 10 in several defensive categories, including fifth in defensive efficiency -- a measure of opponents' points per 100 possessions. This season, the first full campaign under Mike Woodson, the Knicks should be as good, if not better.

Free agent addition Ronnie Brewer is a defensive stopper and Marcus Camby will provide Tyson Chandler with a legitimate backup center this year (if, of course, his calf injury can fully heal).

The Nets, on the other hand, are expected to struggle to get stops, especially on the interior. Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche don't exactly inspire fear in the paint. Reggie Evans does, but he can't do it all down there.

2. MELO > D-WILL: Entering his third year in New York, Carmelo Anthony knows the lay of the land. On the eve of the 2012-13 season, Anthony seems comfortable with all that comes with being a star athlete in the Big Apple. "I can just focus on basketball now," he said recently. That's a good thing for the Knicks, and a bad thing for the rest of the Atlantic Division.

Anthony has vowed to sacrifice scoring for wins -- he says he became more comfortable with the idea of trusting his teammates over the summer while playing with Team USA in London. If Anthony can improve ball movement and keep his teammates involved -- something that hasn't always happened in his first nine years in the league -- the Knicks will benefit. And Anthony could emerge as an MVP candidate.

Deron Williams, the Nets' best player, is a fantastic talent. But you'd think his ankle injury -- which he said recently may require offseason surgery -- will limit him at points during the season. And with Williams out or at less than 100%, the Nets are a different team.

3. AGE IS A VIRTUE: Again and again, the Knicks have been knocked for the older veterans they brought in over the summer. Jason Kidd, 39, Marcus Camby, 38, Rasheed Wallace, 38 and Kurt Thomas, 40, are in the twilight of their respective careers. But for a Knicks team centered around Anthony, Stoudemire and -- to a lesser extent -- Ray Felton, that veteran presence will be a benefit (both on and off the court). These guys know how to play the NBA game and, if healthy (admittedly, a big if), they'll know what to do to complement the Knicks' younger pieces.

This is in contrast to the Nets.

Brooklyn will need some time to develop chemistry and cohesion after overhauling their roster in drastic fashion (even more drastically than the Knicks) over the summer.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR