Prior to their first meeting with the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets aren’t going to underestimate their crosstown rival.
Game numero uno of the ever-expanding rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets begins Friday. After a summer in which both franchises drooled over the prospects of landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the underdog Nets came out on top and signed both.
In preparation for that first big meetup at the Barclays Center, New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield was able to catch up with multiple Nets players and coaches to grab their thoughts on the gravity of the moment.
Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie downplayed that growing rivalry ever so slightly. In response to the idea that Kyrie and KD had only added to the fire between both ballclubs, Harris responded, “I wouldn’t say we’re looking at it that way. I think you treat it like you do every opponent in this league.”
Spencer Dinwiddie echoed these thoughts, saying that the game exclusively represented “a Brooklyn Nets team trying to get their first win.”
Reporters also pressed the Nets on the roster construction and talent-level of Friday’s opponent.
“They have a lot of young players,” DeAndre Jordan said. “They’re starting a lot of guys that have been in the league a long time and can really put the ball in the basket. Tomorrow we’re going to have to guard a lot in the post with [Bobby Portis] and [Julius Randle] and [Marcus Morris]. Those guys can really go.”
Head coach Kenny Atkinson specifically listed the brutish forcefulness of the New York Knicks as an issue to prep for.
“Power, strength. I think Randle and Portis, right off the bat, that’s Jarrett Allen and [Taurean Prince]. They’re going to have to withstand,” Atkinson admitted. “I think there’s a place for DeAndre in this game. I think we’re going to need his force and his size, definitely he’s going to play a big role.”
And then, of course, the always pensive Dinwiddie gave props to, not just a couple of players, but the entire Knicks roster.
“Elfrid Payton and [Frank] Ntilikina are good defensively and also playmaking. RJ Barrett is going to be a very aggressive, a rookie who is kind of coming in to help change the culture,” Dinwiddie said. “Marcus Morris is a phenomenal three-point shooter with post-up capabilities. Julius Randle is a monster in transition, super strong. And Bobby Portis is also another aggressive scorer, good rebounder, just a tough guy all around, has a really well-rounded game, shoot the three, post-up. Mitchell Robinson is one of the best shot-blockers in the league, very athletic. Taj Gibson has been a great vet for a very long time. Dennis Smith is super-athletic, Allonzo Trier is a great spark off the bench.”
The best types of rivalries are ones in which both teams hold each other in high regard. It appears we have that between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.