I'm not sure if you heard, but the Nets made a few changes this summer. After playing to a 49-33 record in the regular season, securing the No. 4 seed in the East, and getting bounced in seven games by the Derrick Rose-less Bulls, interim coach P.J. Carlesimo was canned the next day and Brooklyn refused to stop there. Months later, the Nets pulled a deal straight from the Dodgers' playbook, acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and a whole lot of luxury tax.
Many see the souped-up Nets as the best team in the Atlantic and possibly one of the league's elite teams in 2013/14, but don't try telling that to Knicks swingman J.R. Smith, who says that the Nets "weren't good" when he returned to the league in February 2012 and took great pains to point out that they're still "not good." What will propel the Knicks ahead of their cross-borough rivals? Take it away J.R..
“I feel comfortable. People ruled us out last year early, too. We added some great pieces. Unfortunately, we got rid of some good pieces. But we added Andrea [Bargnani], Beno [Udrih], Metta [World Peace]. We have to consistently play like we did the first 20 games last year the whole season. We can’t have a middle-of-season lapse. We have to consistently play the same way,” Smith told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, despite their acquisitions, it looks like they'll be without Smith for at least the first week or two of the season. When they are at full strength, they'll be jockeying for position in the Atlantic against a starting five of Deron Williams, Pierce, Garnett, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. The Nets also boast an improved second unit, spearheaded by small forward Andrei Kirilenko. The Knicks should still be a playoff team by any measure, but it looks like they'll have their work cut out for them. We know what J.R. thinks, but now we want you to weigh in. Who wins the battle of New York in 2013/14?