Tonight we have two teams, two very even teams (as the preview pointed out -- check the stream), facing one another. The Utah Jazz are a horrible road team and the New York Knicks are hardly better at home. They both have pourus defenses that they attempted to hide by playing at snail paces. Tyrone Corbin and Mike Woodson champion some strange form of 'traditional' basketball that is a halfcourt, grind it out game where poor defending small forwards start at power forward.
There are many similarities between these two teams, but some significant differences as well. The Knicks play in New York and have the largest media market in the world following them. The team can't control or manage the media and there are no soft ball questions. You're under the microscope and you're expected to win. The Knicks haven't, for a long time. But their owner, James Dolan, is putting his money where his mouth is. The 22-40 Knicks have a payroll this season of $89,740,656. They have two first picks in the draft (both injured in Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani), a lot of star power (Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire), an national level, recognized defensive star (Tyson Chandler), and some of the most overhyped role players in the galaxy (J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Metta World Peace for a while, and Raymond Felton). NY survives on being such a big name, big brand force. And they only have 21 wins this season despite having a total roster salary that rivals the GDP of some nations. One thing they don't have is their first round pick. So they have to win now.
We aren't in a win now situation, and we're a very small market, the media is cowed by the team's PR, and we're pretty darn frugal. There are zero stars on the team, and our 21-40 team has a roster salary of only $56,997,863 this season.
I like to live in a world where the cost difference of one win isn't $32,742,793 USD.
Anyway, half a game is all the difference between these two teams in the standings; so what if the media, market size, national impression, and world-wide representation of the differences between these two squads appear much grander than in reality.
Assumed Starters (according to injuries and who started last game):
- Trey Burke @ Raymond Felton
- Gordon Hayward @ J.R. Smith
- Richard Jefferson @ Carmelo Anthony (usual starter at PF)
- Marvin Williams @ Amare Stoudemire
- Derrick Favors @ Tyson Chandler