New York Basketball Is Really Quite Bad

The last games for both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have been a microcosm of their entire season: close but no cigar. For well over two months now New York City, the self-proclaimed “mecca of basketball,” has been spooling out the depressing tale of two boroughs and their horrendous basketball teams. Slowly, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov are learning that throwing money at their dysfunctional franchises isn’t the way to the top.

A lot has changed since Carmelo Anthony’s dunk was denied by Roy Hibbert in game six of last year’s Eastern Conference semi-final. Following the epic block, the Pacers stunned the Knicks by going on an 11-2 run and knocked New York out of the playoffs. It’s been downhill from then on. Hibbert may have taken a little bit more than Anthony’s pride because the Pacers now sport the lowly Knicks’ defiant bravado, which was so infectious during the 2012-13 season.

There was plenty of concern surrounding the Knicks roster coming into the season. The team picked up veteran bigs last year to be able to compete against Miami, but as the season went on, many of those players were either injured or unendurable. This year, it wasn’t the pieces around the Knicks core that have proved unreliable. It’s the actual core.

The dysfunctional squad has had issues all around their starting lineup. After Tyson Chandler went down early in the season, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andre Bargnani have failed to effectively anchor the defense. And even with a head coach in Mike Woodson known for his defense, New York has failed to effectively execute his switch-heavy game plan.

The team has shown spurts of promise on the offensive side of the ball, though lack of consistent scoring has been another major predicament for the Knickerbockers. The Knicks organization exhibited faith in J.R. Smith’s potential to become a reliable second scorer when they awarded him with a three year $18 million dollar contract. Yet like Stoudemire’s lucrative deal the contract is starting to seem far from worth it.

Along with his poor shot selection and inconsistency, Smith simply is not the same player following his knee surgery. Even worse, the same could be said for Iman Shumpert, who is far from his rookie year form.

Fans of the Brooklyn Nets have witnessed a similar decline from their successful inaugural season at the Barclays Center.

After burning out of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls, Prokhorov showed off his checkbook, signing a multitude of players. The Nets were crowned kings of New York before the season even started, and with good reason too. The team sported star power, veterans and depth. But injuries to point guard Deron Williams exposed back-up point guard Shaun Livingston’s ineffectiveness, forcing Williams to play an exhaustive amount of minutes.

The issues have extended to the defensive side of the ball as well. Brooklyn can seldom keep opponents under 100 points and though head coach Jason Kidd has simplified the defense, resulting in an uptick of wins, the Nets recent loss against Philadelphia was due to their softness in the paint. Now with reports that Brook Lopez will be out for the rest of the season, the star-studded squad may be primed for another setback.

The panic surrounding New York’s beloved teams is nothing less than justified. The owners proved they were willing to spend money in order to bring their franchises back into relevance. Whether or not they have the patience to see if their teams can dig themselves out of this rut without any major changes is far from determined.

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