The NBA season is upon us. New York sports fans are lucky enough to have two franchises, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.
Training camp for each team has opened to prepare them for the upcoming 2014–2015 season. It’ll be interesting for both. They’ll each start the season with a new head coach and new coaching staffs. The Knicks will be led by former Los Angeles Laker and Oklahoma Thunder player Derek Fisher, the handpicked novice protege of the Knicks president, Phil Jackson.
Brooklyn is now under the leadership of Lionel Hollins. Hollins had been expected to receive another head coaching position somewhere, one day, in the NBA, but not necessarily here in New York. But Jason Kidd, now Brooklyn’s former novice head coach, in a secured position, failed at his attempt to take control of the Nets’ front office earlier this summer and resorted to Plan B, coaching the Milwaukee Bucks. Billy King, the Nets’ general manager, who Kidd’s power move was directed at, then did the smart thing by hiring the seasoned Hollins
The Knicks resigned Carmelo Anthony during the offseason, after he flirted with free agency. Also returning are Amari Stoudemire, the fun loving J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani and sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. to play in Jackson’s triangle offense. Although Anthony says that New York is where he wanted to be, under NBA rules, the team that a player was last contracted to can give that player more money than any of the other teams courting him.
Brooklyn, eliminated by the Miami Heat last season in the NBA’s second round of Eastern Conference playoffs, ,return with Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Mirza Teletovic and Deron Williams, who received slight criticisms last season for not so stellar play. Brooklyn will benefit greatly from the direction of Hollins. His work with the Memphis Grizzlies solidified his resume. Having a healthy Lopez will help solidify his resume here. Lopez, 26, played in only 17 games last season because of injury, but in 74 games the season before, averaging 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. Hollins needs his production.
The Knicks, who missed the playoffs last season after coming off of a 54-win season the year before, are starting from scratch. New coaches, new systems. Will they grasp the newness? How soon can this team make the transition? How quick can Fisher, a former point guard, adapt to the position of a suit, imparting knowledge as opposed to sharing the ball?