Biggest 180s: Nets dethrone Knicks as New York's basketball team

Sam Cohn
July 24, 2019 - 11:48 am

Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed, and Charles Oakley are all names synonymous with the greatness of the New York Knicks. They’re some of the best to ever play in the Mecca of basketball -- Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are a big market team atop a city overflowing with basketball history. As of the summer of 2019, things have changed. 

With the acquisition of two superstars, coming off a 6-seed playoff berth, and a fun young core, the Brooklyn Nets may have taken over as the relevant basketball team in New York, drawing fans from Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

James Dolan has owned the Knicks since 1999 and since then, they haven’t had very much success. They’ve had two winning seasons this century and a plethora of disappointment.

Glimpses of success for the Knicks have been few and far between, starting with a couple prime years from Carmelo Anthony, who began to tail off before leaving. Jeremy Lin’s short stint of Linsanity was a chance to bring some excitement back to the Garden but it lasted just two short months. Lastly, Kristaps Porzingis, who was booed on draft night, had an impressive rookie season before tearing his ACL and eventually being traded to Dallas. 

The most pitiful part of being a Knicks fan is the constant hope that the next offseason will be the one that brings in a big name star and turns the team around. Unfortunately, each year is the same story of that guy going somewhere else. When it comes to attracting talent, it’s no longer enough to just be the team from New York City. 

The Knicks were supposed to get Anthony Davis, they were supposed to get Zion Williamson, pairing Kevin Durant with Kyrie Irving was almost a guarantee, and even LeBron James had them on his list before choosing South Beach. They missed out on every single one of these guys. 

While the Knicks continued to disappoint their fans, another New York team has recently stepped onto the scene with a competitive bunch. 

The Nets moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012 and have since started to rebuild. They made the playoffs in 2018-19 but were the worst team in the league just three years ago. 

Since Brooklyn was robbed by the Boston Celtics in the form of the 2013 trade that sent an aging Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn in exchange for five players and three first-round picks, the Nets have had a pretty bleak outlook. Those picks helped rebuild Boston and seemingly ruined Brooklyn’s assets for years to come. 

Fast forward six years, Brooklyn arguably had one of the most successful offseasons of any team in the league. They landed perennial All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, two-time All-Defensive Team big man DeAndre Jordan, and veteran wing Garrett Temple. Brooklyn also has the returns of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris to look forward to. Durant's injury may be the only thing holding them back from being a favorite to win in the East this year. 

So, where does that leave the state of basketball in New York? Well, the Knicks have seemingly lost all hope of success as long as James Dolan is in charge and Brooklyn did a complete 180 rebuild, helping them take over as the talk of the town for hoops in the Big Apple.