New York Sports may have an unexpected hero.
It's rough being a New York Sports fan right now. The five most followed New York sports teams on Twitter, the Yankees, the Knicks, the Giants, the Rangers, and the Jets have all seen their fair share of recent struggles. The Jets and Giants have a combined record of 2-16, the Yankees and Rangers both had disappointing early playoff exits, and the New York Knicks are coming off of a 21-45 season.
Let's breakdown each of these team’s current state of ineptitude.
New York Jets:
The Jets have the worst record in the entire league and are on track to miss the playoffs for the 10th season in a row. Sam Darnold, once seen as the franchise’s savior, will likely be replaced in May’s NFL draft. Is there any player on the Jets that's worth tuning in for?
New York Giants:
The Giants were one of the premier franchises in the NFL after winning the 2012 Superbowl, their 2nd championship in four seasons. Since that title, the Giants haven't won a playoff game and have missed the playoffs in seven of eight seasons. With a 2-7 record, the team will likely miss the playoffs once again.
New York Yankees:
After appearing in the 2019 ALCS and signing Gerrit Cole in the offseason, the Yankees were one of the favorites to win this year's World Series. The Bronx Bombers failed to live up to lofty expectations with an early playoff exit. Despite being baseball's premier franchise, the Yankees have failed to win or even appear in a World Series in over a decade.
New York Rangers:
The Rangers only have a single playoff series win over the past five seasons and it has been over 25 years since they last won the Stanley Cup. Future Hall of Fame Goalie Henrik Lundqvist 15 years in New York didn’t result in a single championship.
New York Knicks:
The Knicks have the worst record in the NBA since 2000 and haven't won an NBA championship in over 45 years. Despite finishing the 2018-2019 season with a 17-65 record, the Knicks were hopeful they could sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency because of their massive amount of cap room. Not only did Durant and Irving reject the Knicks, they decided to join their crosstown rivals, the once afterthought Brooklyn Nets.
Speaking of the Nets, they have a chance to be the surprising hero that New York has been looking for. Despite Durant missing the entire 2019-2020 season and Irving only appearing in 20 games, the Nets still found a way to make this year's postseason. Now with Durant and Irving healthy, the Nets are contenders to win the NBA championship.
Durant is one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. At nearly seven feet tall with exceptional handles and the ability to score from anywhere on the court, Durant's scoring ability is unmatched by almost every player in NBA history. Over the past ten seasons, Durant has averaged 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while shooting 50% from the field, 38% from three, and 88% from the free-throw line. After missing the entire 2019-2020 season while recovering from a torn Achilles, Durant will look to remind the world he is arguably the best player on the planet.
Durant's partner in crime this season will be Kyrie Irving. Irving may not be best suited to lead a team, but he is an exceptional sidekick to have. When paired with Lebron James in Cleveland, Irving excelled as the team's second option and was instrumental in the Cavaliers’ 2016 title. Irving will be very motivated this campaign after a disappointing stint with the Boston Celtics and only appearing in 20 games for the Nets this past season.
While Durant and Irving may take the majority of the headlines, they will receive their fair share of help this season. Key players like DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Joe Harris are more than capable of fulfilling their roles as good complementary players. The Nets this season will be coached by Hall of Fame point guard and first-time head coach, Steve Nash.
The Nets are not one of the most popular teams in New York. The Yankees, Knicks, Giants, Rangers, and Jets all have more Twitter followers than the Nets. When Durant and Irving decided to join the same team in 2019, the main story wasn't that they chose the Nets, but rather that they rejected the Knicks. Despite the lack of interest and popularity surrounding the Nets, they have a chance to be the hero that this town has been waiting for by winning a championship.