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Friday, July 19, 2013
Big season for Knicks, Nets

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

If you are a basketball fan in the New York area, you have to be excited about the Knicks and Nets for next season.

Billy King has done an incredible job in Brooklyn, putting the pieces together for a run in the Eastern Conference. You will be jumping with joy, as there will be excitement galore. This heated rivalry should become even greater with Brooklyn adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.

The playoffs last season were intense when the Knicks and Boston Celtics went at it. Now Brooklyn is a different team, led by new coach and former Knick Jason Kidd.

One other player who should help is Duke's Mason Plumlee, the team's first-round draft pick. What chance will he have to get into the rotation? Plumlee should contribute around 20 minutes a game as a backup to Brook Lopez. He could see time up front giving Garnett a breather, too.

The Knicks have added some help with Andrea Bargnani coming over in a deal from Toronto, plus Metta World Peace joined New York after an amnesty move by the Los Angeles Lakers. He is a New York guy who brings toughness. He will bring that winner's mentality to Mike Woodson's squad. Woodson was a star for legendary Hall of Famer Robert Montgomery Knight, and the front office also has another former Hoosier in GM Glen Grunwald.

My friends, keep an eye out for Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. seeing time in the Big Apple. The first-round pick will find a way to get into the rotation. He can make shots, handle the ball and has the pedigree, as his father, Tim Hardaway, was a superstar in the NBA!

I enjoyed watching Plumlee and Hardaway Jr. in college, and I am looking forward to seeing them compete at the next level.

The Knicks made noise last season by winning a playoff series. Now they want to take the next step. They certainly have a strong offense, with Carmelo Anthony putting up big points, plus J.R. Smith will be back following knee surgery.

The true winners will be all the NBA fans in the area. They will have a blast, as this rivalry will be fun to watch. The two youngsters, Plumlee and Hardaway Jr., have the opportunity to be part of it.