Friday, December 6, 2013

The Toilet Bowl

Otherwise billed as the Battle for New York City, the early-season struggles (to put it mildly) of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks put their season-first matchup in a much different light. Regardless of their relatively-similar records, last night's 30-point win by the Knicks went about as would be objectively expected, taking into account the Nets' slate of injuries, and the way they typically -- on second thought, always -- struggle against any team who plays at a pace that isn't completely slow and plodding.

For one night, the Knicks rekindled the magic of the second half of the 2012-2013 season: drive-kick-and-shoot basketball. What remains to be seen is if they can keep it up. Perhaps the long layoff prior to last night's contest allowed them to prepare for the Nets' particular brand of suckage: susceptibility to the 3-ball, inability to cover quickness. Perhaps the short 24-hour layoff into tonite's matchup (with Orlando) will provide some continuity to solidify their finally-exhibited best formula for success (given the current roster). We shall soon see.

As for Flatbush Avenue's newest residents, most people know the Boston trade mortgaged the Nets future. Steve Kerr last night gave them as little as a one-year window to contend. His outspoken colour analyst Charles Barkley, however, became the 1st person I've heard that thinks the trade mortgaged their present as well. Healthy or not, Barkley says, the Nets don't have a chance to contend. As he put it simply yet poignantly: "this is a young man's league."

I tend to agree. I fail to see how a 36- and 37-year-old can help a team that ALREADY struggled to keep up with the quickness of the league in 2012-2013. I don't want to act prophetic, and yes, they have a lot of talented names modeling business suits at the moment, but let it be said that I don't see it ("it" being the ability for this roster to be a contender). I think -- for the second time in about half a decade -- Celtics GM Danny Ainge has fleeced another unsuspecting rube. In 2007, he traded young players to construct an in-prime veteran-laden championship contender; in 2013, he used past-prime players to accelerate a rebuild and get in on one of the deepest drafts in recent history. His cirriculum vitae is getting more impressive by the offseason.

Incidentally, it was comical to see a Daily News writer describe Barkley's in-game commentary as "stopping just short of eviscerating either team." Hmm. I'd call the rather-unique-in-current-sportscape opinion that the Brooklyn Nets of 2013 have absolutely no hope of contending pretty damning commentary.