NBA power rankings 2012: Knicks, Nets one spot apart as season starts

Al Bello

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets should have a healthy crosstown rivalry in their first year in the same city, as both teams are expected to contend in the Eastern Conference.

Thursday night's season opener between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets is more than just the start of the season and a brand new crosstown rivalry: It also should be a pretty good game, at least if SB Nation's NBA power rankings are right.

Each team is expected to be a contender in the Eastern Conference, as the Knicks clocked in at No. 11 with the Nets at No. 12. New York has been a playoff squad for two years, since the acquisitions of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, although this year's squad features a whole cast of older players joining the squad for the first time or returning after nearly decade-long gaps. Stoudemire's absence is an issue for the Knicks, as the power forward is one of several players already injured and will miss the start of the season. Seth Rosenthal emphasized the importance of the veteran squad's health heading into the year.

An offense with healthy, functional point guards and a healthy, functional Carmelo Anthony (possibly spending some time at the four) should climb out of the bottom third and meet the D halfway. Mike Woodson will make certain these Knicks play deliberate, ugly basketball, but that doesn't mean it won't be effective.

As for the Nets, a new look matches a new lineup, that adds Joe Johnson to a starting five that already featured Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. They looked good in the preseason and should continue to do work as the year begins:

A squad with so many new faces could take some time to establish roles and delegate responsibility, and there's a possibility that Avery Johnson isn't the ideal coach for this group. In any event, the first unit is monstrous -- especially if Brook Lopez can pull together a full year of production -- and the bench might prove deeper than it looks.

The two teams tip off their season at the Barclays Center Thursday night.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SB Nation New York

You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.

Join SB Nation New York

You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.