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Knicks and Nets might not remain so mockable for long, so enjoy it while you can

Dec 5, 2013, 1:33 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks and Nets as engaged in a thrilling competition: Which team is the biggest laughingstocks in the NBA?

Both can lay claim.

They have oversized payrolls, cartoonish owners, coaches on the hot seat and underwhelming stars. The Knicks have seen Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin feud, and the Nets have matched with Jason Kidd-Lawrence Frank silliness. More internal strife seems inevitable for both teams.

The Knicks and Nets share the United States’ biggest market, but there are more fans outside New York than in it, and the rest of the country is eating up the Big Apple disarray. Though the Knicks and Nets are certainly accommodating with repeated embarrassments, I think we – and I definitely include myself – are a little overeager to mock these teams.

Of everything going wrong for them, the biggest issue is losing.

Even if they beat the Nets in tonight’s hyped matchup, the Knicks (3-13) would still be on pace for the worst records in franchise history. And the Nets (5-13) could shatter records for cost per win.

But a big reason the teams are losing isn’t fun to mock at all: Injuries. Both teams have been hit hard.

Using data from nbawowy, the Knicks rank No. 26 and the Nets No. 28 in net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating). But when the teams have used lineups that include only members their full-strength rotations, they’ve been much better.

For the Knicks, I define that as:

And the Nets:

Using that adjustment, the Knicks shoot up to No. 20 and the Nets No. 23 in net rating.


Being in the low 20s still isn’t great, but it sure beats leading only the Bucks and Jazz and sandwiching the Cavaliers.

Of course, other teams have also faced injuries and used non-rotation players who lower the team’s net rating. So, this is far from a perfect measure of how good the Knicks and Nets would be if healthy – and it’s also unreasonable to expect perfect health from two teams so old – but I think this is an indicator the Knicks and Nets, as constructed, aren’t quite as bad as they’ve been so far.

And without the losing, maybe their more colorful problems get handled in-house. It all relates.

If the Knicks and Nets get healthy, they could go from historically bad to just regularly bad, and what fun would that be? Sure, we could – and would – still mock them a little, but this golden era of New York jokes could end soon. So, enjoy tonight’s matchup while you can.

  1. fanofevilempire - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    that’s right folks have all the fun you want now, because one day we will be at the top.
    top of what I don’t know.
    at least the Nets have it worst.

    -marry x-mas

    • Anoesis - Dec 5, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      If I didn’t marry that broad with all the money I ain’t marrying x-mas, whoever she is.

  2. phillysports1 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Yo fan of evil empire your team sucks . You guys are fools . You said we should of kept Bynum but we are a better than Cleveland as of right now with Bynum in their lineup . You bum I hope you don’t think NY going turn things around … Right now nobody wants to play for that team . Or they might just be “riggin for wiggins ” Lol
    All the hype before the season started you guys barely win games at home ! Haha

  3. fanofevilempire - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Knicks suck, oh yeah.
    I don’t run the Knicks, I only watch if they are winning that game, if not I watch something else.
    I never said keep Bynum, I laughed @ you for trading for him, at least he had a nice fro going.
    I’m not a bum, I’m lucky I have a home, food and family.
    Really, nobody will play for NY, ok.
    We can’t be riggin for wiggin because we don’t have a first round pick for years to come.
    I don’t hype any NY team because I’m older and wiser, I just turn channels.

  4. phillysports1 - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Yea yea . OK

  5. jzone954 - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    It happens. They’ll Bounce back eventually. Might take some tough decisions to make it happen

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 5, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Way to stay positive.

  6. redbaronx - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    @Dan Feldman – This kind of article reminds me of why I hate “stat” guys. In the Nets you’re looking at guys who had their career stats elsewhere for the most part and guys whose game has deteriorated BEFORE this year started, and you’re expecting them to get better?

    You might be able to expect a SLIGHT improvement for both teams (particularly in the case of the Knicks if Chandler can come back and anchor that Defense), but lets be real. Those stats you threw out there mean nothing. I’m shocked that people thought the Nets were going to be Finalists. I’ve been saying all along on these posts that this isn’t like when Boston picked up the Big Three when they still had something left in the tank. There’s a time for Veterans to contribute and be a major part of a contending team. That time is OVER for KG and Pierce. They may have been able to play minor roles like Ray Allen in Miami playing 4th fiddle to the other Miami guys, but to expect anything more is ludicrous!

    The Knicks have more serious problems. They’re hampered contractually with a one way superstar player (Melo), Amar’e (who can barely get on the court anymore to be effective), Bargnani (overrated offensively and a big guy who is a defensive liability to boot), a shooting guard that thinks he’s better than he is (J.R. Smith), and MWP who would have been a great signing about >4 years ago, but at this point is a below average NBA SF/3.

    Names and past stats don’t win games! Smart GM’s are ahead of the curve, not behind. That’s why teams like the Spurs (going back to pre-David Robinson), Lakers (forever), Utah, Phoenix, and Indiana are consistently successful the last 25 years with very few “off” years. They get guys who dont’ have any stat records to speak of, but are rated highly by their staff. They get high value players low in the draft and develop them. With the exception of the Lakers the rest of the teams I noted do not typically go via the Free Agent market. And even the Lakers with the big FA’s they’ve had recently, historically they still go through the Draft smartly time after time.

  7. provguard - Dec 5, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Nets are going nowhere if Pierce and Garnett stay on that team. I give Melo kudos for trying, but the ball is in his hands way to long…

  8. elwaysagenius - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Nets might have highest cost per win going 82-0

  9. homergreenz - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    “If the Knicks and Nets get healthy, they could go from historically bad to just regularly bad, and what fun would that be? Sure, we could – and would – still mock them a little, but this golden era of New York jokes could end soon.”

    I totally agree…

    “So, enjoy tonight’s matchup while you can.”

    It might not be watchable, not only do both teams suck of course, but they love ISO-Ball.

    • bougin89 - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      “It might not be watchable, not only do both teams suck of course, but they love ISO-Ball.”

      Bingo. I didn’t think the Nets would play ISO ball like this the way their roster is constructed. KG and Pierce have sacrificed in the past and both are capable passers, D-Will is a true PG who can dish and Lopez should only get the ball when he’s got his man pinned down. All the ISO ball the Nets play is just head-scratching.

  10. witness1021 - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    knicks game is all about 1 on 5 , bargnani & melo will never pass the damn ball to the open man !!! BORING BORING BORING
    knicks should just trade all old star players away get few draft picks (anything), rebuild the team !

  11. chargerdillon - Dec 5, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    If for some reason the Nets can keep Pierce and KG healthy and make it to the playoffs, they do have a scary roster of veterans that know how to play hard playoff defense.

    That being said it’s a very big “IF” statement. But the Nets do have the players that know how to play playoff style basketball.

    • redbaronx - Dec 5, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      @chargerdillon – To quote Scotty from Star Trek: “….and if my Grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon”

      Even if the Nets were 100% healthy, I doubt they’d be more than a 40 win team.

      A) New coach that has never coached a single NBA game and is known for being a bit of a knucklehead. Cue Frank Lawrence’s exit as his sideline coach…I bet Frank is saying thanks for the 6 million and good luck Nets with your new coach.
      B) KG and Pierce were already average players last year. Age happens to everyone. You can’t go on the past and expect them to be what they were.
      C) Deron Williams benefited a lot from Sloan coaching him. He’ll just never admit it…and he’ll never be what he was in Utah.
      D) Lopez is overrated. Ditto for Joe Johnson.
      E) There isn’t a single player on this roster you can count on for youth/athleticism/upside

      Add all of this together, and even 100% healthy, they are NOT even close to Miami or Indiana, and if they make 28 wins I’ll consider it an accomplishment. Names mean nothing. Current ability does. Stick a fork in them. You heard it here.

      I give the Knicks a better chance if Chandler comes back.

  12. jimeejohnson - Dec 5, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Ever have kosher falafel? They have tons of it in Brooklyn. That could be the best part of being a Nets fan so far this season, as long as you enjoy the feeling of having a lead weight in your stomach!

  13. dallasstars9 - Dec 5, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    We will mock as long as they suck! This is a team with how much in payroll? Oh that’s right, the Nets have the highest payroll in the NBA… No excuses.

  14. sanclementejedi - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    As a Cetts fan I look forward to enjoying Crooklyn’s lottery picks for the next few years. 2014 (or Hawks pick) 2016, 2018, and we have the option of switching picks with them in 2017. O yeah and the the Clippers first pick in 2015. Ainge straight up fleeced the Nets. Now if the Cetlts could just stop winning this year.

    • 1historian - Dec 6, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      Ainge straight up fleeced the nets – you got that one right. They looked at Pierce and Garnett as the pieces that would put them over the top. I kind of hope that the Nets pick it up a little bit but the nix – I really enjoy watching them squirm.

      As for the title of the article – enjoy it now because it won’t last too much longer – I am doing just that.

      The Celts have 9 1st round choices over the next 5 years, they’ll probably have at least one, maybe two lottery picks in 2014, which is said to be one of the deepest drafts in the last 210 years. Somewhere Red Auerbach is laughing and tapping the ash off his cigar and saying “I taught you well, Danny boy!”

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