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Trust the stats and root for the Nets

for The Brooklyn Paper

Before the NBA season tipped off, Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush) voiced the concerns of his constituents in a single Tweet.

“Gotta make a decision by Thurs, #Knicks or #Nets. I’ve been a #Knick fan for life, but I’m so #Brooklyn. Ohhh … the horror of it all!”

Hurricane Sandy ended up delaying the much-hyped battle of the boroughs — and with it the biggest decision in basketball since “The Decision.”

In the weeks since, the Manhattan Knicks began the season 6–0 before losing to the formidable Memphis Grizzlies, while the Brooklyn Nets put together a respectable 6–2 record.

With the Knicks and Nets finally squaring off Monday, blue-and-orange bleeding Brooklynites must make their choice: support the borough’s new home team, or once again hand over their hopes and dreams to an organization hell-bent on crushing them.

Hoops fans must make that call themselves — but here are a few words of wisdom: don’t let the Knicks’ early success carry too much weight.

It’s not like the Knickerbockers haven’t put together a few wins before. Last year, Jeremy Lin strapped the team on his back for seven Ws in a row. The Knicks lost nine of their next 12, Coach Mike D’Antoni promptly resigned, and the franchise’s most popular player was shipped off to Houston.

Knicks fans may think Raymond Felton fills the back court hole left by Lin, but he’s no Deron Williams. Felton told the New York Times he considers himself “better than any point guard,” yet his career averages pale in comparison to the Nets’ star. Remember, this is the same guy who showed up overweight to the Portland Trail Blazers last year before blaming his struggles on his coach.

A quick way to tell if a team might be bluffing is to look at shooting percentages. Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith drained 14 of 19 three-pointers — more than double his career average — during the team’s winning streak.

In his billion-year career, Jason Kidd has never come close to sustaining his recent accuracy over the course of a season. In time, the shots will go cold, the old bodies will tire, and everyone will start standing around to watch Carmelo Anthony do his thing. Again.

Here in Brooklyn, All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson has yet to consistently make shots and high-flying Gerald Wallace has been hurt. And the Nets still managed to come out the gate 6–2.

Once they put it all together, Brooklynites who got on board early can sit back and roll their eyes at the inevitable drama across the river.

Matt Spolar is a nearly 6-foot-1 journalist with a middling high school basketball career who is sure the Nets win thanks to team’s top-tier guards.

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Reader Feedback

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, he is one of the few to make the switch from the Knicks to the Nets. Most fans will never convert no matter how many losing seasons the Knicks had. Seriously, does anyone really think that fans just convert? Most Brooklynites have been fans of the Knicks for generations, so I doubt any would just choose the Nets just because they move there. Even Spike Lee remains loyal to his team despite how much he said he appreciates the move. Of course some fanatical sites like Nets Daily will always believe that fans are never loyal and are just part of a bandwagon taking the side of whoever is doing better. If you asked me, those aren't real fans at all. I am glad that I am not a bandwagoner, because I would always be rooting for the Yankees rather than the Mets, because they are always playing better.
Nov. 21, 2012, 2:46 pm

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