Scotto: Midseason Report Cards for Knicks and Nets

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knicks-vs-brooklyn-nets-at-barclays-centerBefore the season, championship expectations were attached to both the Knicks and the Nets.

The Knicks were coming off the team’s first season with at least 50 or more wins and a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals since the 1999-2000 campaign, when Jeff Van Gundy patrolled the sidelines, Patrick Ewing wrapped up his final season in New York and Allan Houston was in the prime of his career.

The Nets were coming off their first trip to the playoffs in six years and considered the winners of the offseason after landing future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with Jason Terry, in a blockbuster trade with the Celtics.

However, neither team has lived up to the hype with the All-Star break now upon us.

With that in mind, it’s time to break down the season into four sections for both teams: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Future.

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Sixth Man Rankings: Where does Deron Williams fit in the equation?

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Deron Williams practicing free throwsWhen Deron Williams returned to the court on January 20th to face the Knicks after a five-game absence, coach Jason Kidd decided to take an unexpected gamble. Instead of reinserting the three-time All Star into the starting lineup, Kidd told Williams he would ease back into the rotation by coming off the bench.

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Scotto: New Year’s Resolutions for Knicks and Nets: Rebuild

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Can money buy happiness? If you’re the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, the answer is no.Prokhorov

The Nets have the league’s highest payroll, while the Knicks rank second.

The combined exorbitant payroll has produced a deflating 18-38 record and proven any championship aspirations were merely a pipe dream.

Ironically, speaking of the pipe, J.R. Smith was the first Knick to panic back when the team was only 3-8 at the time. Now, it appears Smith’s anxiety was warranted.

Thanks to injuries, a lack of chemistry and a subsequent lack of identity, the outlook for both teams is bleak for the rest of this season and the following season, too.

Therefore, it’s time for both organizations to make a critical decision – it’s time to begin rebuilding each roster.

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Sprung: Nets face yet another identity crisis without Lopez

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What are the Brooklyn Nets right now, other than a pathetic underachieving ballclub?

brook-lopezBrook Lopez is not coming back this season after breaking his foot, and the Nets dropped to 2-8 without him after Monday’s 103-86 loss to Indiana. Brooklyn is 9-18, a .333 winning percentage.

“It’s certainly a big setback, he’s a great player,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “One of the best centers in the league, so it’s obviously very difficult to replace what he gives on both ends.”

What’s worse than the team’s best player being lost for the season with no viable replacement? The team’s rookie coach thinks his players have grown content with losing games.

“It’s gotten very close to just accepting losing,” Jason Kidd said. “Getting comfortable with losing. And we’ve got to make a stand with that, because when things get tough, do we give in? And most of the time right now we do.”

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Bernucca: In Trying to Overtake Knicks, Nets Have Become Them

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ProkhorovIn his stated effort to upstage Knicks owner James Dolan, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has become him.

Like Dolan, Prokhorov desperately wants an NBA championship. Like Dolan, he has pursued that desperation with financial abandon, giving his GM an open checkbook. Like Dolan, he has overspent on overvalued big names. Like Dolan, he has mortgaged his team’s future by giving away multiple draft picks.

And like Dolan, he appears headed down the abyss.

In two months, the Nets have gone from contenders with star power, maximum depth and championship pedigree on and off the court to pretenders with age issues, no speed or athleticism and a lack of direction from a clearly underqualified coach.

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