WHAT: The hottest team in the NBA, the Nets, host the last place Knicks.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. EST
HOW: YES, MSG; NBA League Pass
THE STORY: Game Preview
The Knicks are last in the league in field goal percentage, assists, true shooting percentage, and rank close to last in a bevy of other categories like opponent points allowed per game and Net Rating. The Nets, in January, are 6th in the league in Defensive Rating, 12th in Offensive Rating, and 9th in Net Rating which, over the course of a full season, would make them one of the best teams in the league.
The Knicks, despite being bad, have some decent young players and maybe even a couple of veterans who could be flipped in a couple of weeks for assets or salary cap relief or something. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the leading candidate, being owed $18 million next year with another $18 million player option the year after that. If the Knicks really want to sign a big free agent, getting Hardaway off their books would help. He’s a solid offensive player, and while he’s shooting just 39% from the field and 35% from three this season, some of that can be attributed to his being essentially the only shot creator on the floor for large stretches of time and he has a green light period. On a good team with a system and players ahead of him on the depth chart, those numbers would probably get a bump. But his scoring average wouldn’t likely be that high either.
For more on the Knicks, check out: Posting and Toasting
Ok, we have to care about the Nets again. Start caring. Now stop. Start again…OK, stop. Brooklyn (26-23) has won five in a row and eight of their last ten. That’s good stuff! They’ve been cruising with D’Angelo Russell leading the way and maybe finally starting to get comfortable with the NBA game.
New York (10-36) is trending quite the other way. Perhaps your local Nets fan has done everything they can to try to shout that in your ear. Losers of seven straight and only one of their previous ten, the Knicks are growing weary of the long season. Little spats of infighting have been made to appear bigger than they probably are in the case of Allonzo Trier and Tim Hardaway Jr. The just-let-me-play shenanigans of Enes Kanter are likely more toxic but even those might not make as big of a wave as presented. David Fizdale doesn’t seem too worried about it. Nonetheless this team is suffering.