Who's had the more fowl start?



Winthrop By Jon Winthrop

How bad are things for the New York Knicks? Consider this: If their 3-10 record hasn't gotten your attention, perhaps realizing they went 0-for-November at MSG will allow the stench to sink in.

Now factor in that the locker room seems to be fracturing (see Amar'e Stoudemire's rant on not having fun) and you have yourself a five-alarm mess before Thanksgiving.

Two things are currently saving the Knicks further embarrassment: The Nets are off to their own horrible start, and the Atlantic Division looks as if it could be won with a .500 record.

None of that actually matters, however, because the Knicks are a flawed team.

A team whose star doesn't move the ball. A team with second scoring options as reliable as a 10-day weather forecast. A team where the best defensive player is also one of the softest when it comes to his health.

Knicks fans can't even take solace in the losing by hoping for a shot at collegiate stud Andrew Wiggins. That first-round pick was shipped out long ago for Carmelo Anthony.

You still think I'm overreacting to a small sample size? Well, a lot went right for the Knicks a season ago on their way to 54 wins. Carmelo played like an MVP. J.R. Smith was the Sixth Man of the Year and the team drained 3-pointers at a record pace. That's a lot to duplicate, and to this point in the season, it has eluded them.

So how do the Knicks turn themselves back into a contender? Truth is, the Knicks may be in need of a total rebuild -- one that shouldn't necessarily involve Anthony as part of the future.

Like a turkey ready to hit the carving board, the Knicks are a few losses away from being completely cooked.

Jon Winthrop produces "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM


Mazzeo By Mike Mazzeo

"We are going to kick butt and take names, and hopefully that's gonna end up in a championship. I'm saying Deron Williams for MVP, with the pieces we have here." -- Jason Terry, July 18.

The Brooklyn Nets came into this season with a $190 million roster and high expectations.

So far, they've been an utter disaster. And owner Mikhail Prokhorov's patience is going to be tested.

Currently decimated by injury, the Nets (4-10) lost five straight games and eight of their past 10. They are just 2-7 on the road.

Deron Williams (ankle, 5 of 6); Brook Lopez (ankle, six straight); Andrei Kirilenko (back, nine straight); and Terry (knee, three straight) all have missed significant time.

Acquisitions Paul Pierce (37.9 percent shooting) and Kevin Garnett (34.9 percent) look old and worn, incapable of making up for the losses of Williams and Lopez.

Fans are already calling for the head of first-year coach Jason Kidd, whose team ranks last in defensive efficiency (105.3 points per 100 possessions allowed) and third-quarter scoring margin (minus-5.2 points per game).

Ownership is sticking by Kidd -- for now. But things need to change -- fast.

The Nets need to get healthy and begin to jell and win. They can keep saying it's early and it's a process, but at some point, they need to figure it out.

Because unlike the other team in town, the computers didn't project the Nets for 37 wins.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com


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