The New York Knicks will open the NBA season by heading over the bridge to Brooklyn and helping the Nets christen their new home. Knicks vs. Nets. Brooklyn vs. Manhattan. A battle for New York. A real rivalry…
Not yet, says Carmelo Anthony.
Speaking at a camp at St. Johns, the Knicks leader and gold medalist from London told Newsday the Knicks and Nets have no rivalry yet.
“There’s no rivalry between us and Brooklyn right now,” Anthony said. “It starts on that first game. We’ll see what happens with that first game. But as of right now, we are focused on ourselves. We are not really focused on nobody else.”
Technically, he is right. But the makings of a rivalry are there, the fire just needs to be lit.
For a rivalry to exist, both teams need to be good and there needs to be something at stake when they meet (at least at first). For decades the Lakers and Clippers were not rivals because the Clips were never a threat to the Lakers. But last season that started to change as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led the Clippers to within one game of the Lakers and the Pacific Division crown. The games got more intense.
In this case, Brooklyn should be a good team with a record not really far off the Knicks. They will be playing in the same division (the deepest and best division in the NBA next season) and the games will be a fight for playoff seeding.
But what would really cement a rivalry — what I am hoping to see — is a playoff series. A subway series between the Knicks and Nets in the first round of the playoffs. That would be fun.