The best basketball team in New York is …

Before the Nets can put their name at the end of that statement, there are some questions that need to be answered. Will Jason Kidd’s track record as a Hall of Fame-caliber point guard be enough to carry his message until he can fully grasp what it means to be an NBA head coach? Will the hype surrounding acquisitions of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko carry over into the regular season? The short answer to both of those questions is yes.

Talent wins in the NBA, and coaches who can grab the attention of the talent they have and point it in the right direction will be successful. There’s no reason to believe the Nets won’t win 55 to 57 games and emerge as the best team in New York, but it won’t happen overnight. People seem to forget that the Miami Heat began the 2010-2011 season 9-8.

Last season’s Nets weren’t an instant hit either, as that crew began the season 4-14. Again, talent wins in the NBA, but even the most abundantly talented teams need to develop the proper chemistry. This is where Kidd’s reputation as a great floor general comes into play. If his influence on Deron Williams is impactful as well as immediate, the Nets will have no problems developing the camaraderie necessary to contend.The Nets opened the season in Cleveland last night (Wednesday).

As for the competition, Miami is still the team to beat. Derek Rose is hungry to get the Bulls over the hump and into the NBA Final, while the Indiana Pacers are a year older and a year wiser. Look for the Knicks, Cavaliers, Pistons and Wizards to lock up the final four playoff spots.

Expect a shootout in the Western Conference with the Spurs, Clippers, Nuggets and Rockets leading the way. Golden State will make some noise, while the Thunder will emerge after New Year’s the return of Russell Westbrook. The Memphis Grizzlies will also emerge with the Trailblazers or Utah Jazz hanging on for the eighth seed. The Lakers? Fuggedaboudit!