The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, October 31, 2005
Here's a brief preview of the 2005-06 NBA season for the Nets and the Knicks.
The Nets should win the Atlantic Division. At the guard positions and small forward, the Nets are very strong with Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. The Nets' weakness is in their front-court, which features Nenad Kristic, Jason Collins and newcomer (via a trade with the 76ers) Marc Jackson. The Nets intended to sign a starting power forward in the offseason, but after acquiring Shareef Abdur-Rahim, rescinded the deal due to concerns about an old knee injury sustained by Abdur-Rahim. By then, the other starting caliber free agent power forwards had already been signed.
The Nets did improve their bench in the offseason, bringing back Cliff Robinson and Jacque Vaughn, and acquiring Jeff McInnis and Lamond Murray. 2003 first round pick Zoran Planinic looks set to finally display his talent. On the other hand, this year's 1st rounder, Antoine Wright, has been a disappointment thus far.
The Nets' frontcourt as currently constituted is likely not strong enough to compete with teams like Detroit, Miami and Indiana in the playoffs. If, however, the Nets can acquire a power forward during the season, they could be a contender. With a deep bench, two first round picks in the 2006 draft as well as this year's 2nd round pick Mile Illic, a 7 footer who is playing this year in Europe, the Nets could have the chips to make that kind of move if ownership is willing to spend the money.
Prediction: 48-34, 1st place in the Atlantic, 4th place in the Eastern Conference. Lose in second round of playoffs.
As for the Knicks, their personnel changes continue to occur at a dizzying pace. Signing Larry Brown as head coach gives the team instant credibility, and will likely ensure that Stephon Marbury falls in line. Marbury, Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson (acquired from Phoenix in the Kurt Thomas trade) are all impressive talents at the 1-3 positions, and rookie Nate Robinson, also acquired from the Suns, also has lots of potential.
In the frontcourt, Eddy Curry can be soft at times, but provides a scoring threat. Jerome James and rookie Channing Frye add depth, while 37 year old Antonio Davis can still provide decent minutes at power forward.
The key question is whether this team will play well together, and whether Isiah Thomas will allow time for that to happen, or continue to make radical changes by the week.
I expect the Knicks to get off to a slow start but improve in the second half.
Prediction: 41-41, 3rd place in the Atlantic, 9th place in the East, just short of a playoff berth.