Is it time to panic in New York? While there’s still a long way to go in this NBA season, we are nearly at the quarter-mark and the dreadful starts for the Nets and Knicks cannot be ignored. The Nets fell to 4-12 last night with a dreadful loss in Houston thanks to their matador defense and lack of ball movement on the other end of the floor. The Knicks, meanwhile, dropped their eighth straight contest, losing 97-95 on the road to the Nuggets after Carmelo Anthony‘s last second shot to force overtime missed. New Yorkers aren’t known for their patience and as both teams languish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, both Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson find themselves on the hotseat.
While everyone is still busy chuckling at Kidd’s “cup-gate” scandal, the Nets have much larger problems facing them at this juncture of the season. Under Kidd, the Nets look like a team without direction or motivation and frankly, they look downright old. Granted, there have been injuries. Deron Williams and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry are still sidelined with TBD return dates. Center Brook Lopez was out for seven games with a tweaked ankle before coming back last night to have the only solid performance of anyone wearing black and white. Still, the team looked out of sorts before the injury bug hit. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett appear to be fractions of what they used to be and without those two clicking, this team isn’t going to get very far. And in case you’re thinking that the Nets’ deep-pocketed ownership will sign off on another pricey acquisition between now and the trade deadline, think again. Mikhail Prokhorov has made it clear that the team is at its absolute spending limit. The Nets also don’t really have first-round picks that they can deal thanks to the Celtics blockbuster.
While some Nets fans might be wondering why Kidd was given the reins as head coach this summer, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says the club desperately misses his veteran leadership. Maybe he’s right. The Knicks bent over backwards to re-sign last season’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith and upgraded their frontcourt with Andrea Bargnani, but they’ve stumbled badly out of the gate. If the Knicks can’t right the ship, it could have repercussions that go far beyond the 2012/13 season. It’s hard to envision Anthony, a free agent at season’s end, turning down the likes of the Lakers to stay with a lottery-bound Knicks squad.
Still, it’s a long season. How do you see it all playing out for the Nets and Knicks?