After Spencer Dinwiddie had already stirred the pot with his assertion that he should’ve won last year’s Most Improved Player award, the Brooklyn guard continued to stoke the fires of a milquetoast Nets-Knicks rivalry in need of a little heat going into Friday’s preseason meeting at the Garden.
During the same interview on the YES Network — which aired at halftime of Wednesday’s preseason loss to the Raptors — Dinwiddie reiterated he felt the Nets were better than their cross-river rivals. It wasn’t a new claim, as he stated as much back in August in part of a back-and-forth with Knicks center Enes Kanter.
It started when Metta World Peace had predicted the Knicks would reach the Eastern Conference finals against the Pacers. Dinwiddie tweeted, “they’re not even the best team in New York.” He stood by that in his recent YES interview, especially in light of Kristaps Porzingis’ injury absence.
“First off, that take in general was crazy,” Dinwiddie said of the conference finals prediction. “Now, to go back to the New York Knicks, do you really think I’m going to sit here and think the Knicks are going to be better than us this year? We had almost the same record last year, and their best player isn’t going to be playing until like at least February. This is no shot at the Knicks.
“I respect everybody in the NBA, so let’s get that straight. Everybody, respect you,” Dinwiddie said while staring directly at the camera. “I just don’t feel like they’re going to be better than us. So when I said what I said, it wasn’t to say we’re going to beat the Warriors; I didn’t say none of that. I said we’re better than the Knicks. That’s what I said. People started tripping out. Bruh, I said we’re better than the Knicks.
“Any of the non-elite tier teams between 11 and 30, like, why wouldn’t I look at you guys and say if we buckle down and really take this serious, we got them? Let’s go get this. That’s the way you have to be as a competitor.”
Both Brooklyn and the Knicks are expected to struggle, closer to lottery than elite. Westgate sportsbook had tabbed the Knicks to be tied for the third-worst record in the NBA at just 29.5 wins with Brooklyn’s number at 32.5. But Brooklyn has gotten bullied and beat up by the Knicks, swept in all four games last season and pushed around again in their first matchup this preseason.
They play again Friday night in the Garden. The Nets play host to the Knicks in their Oct. 19 regular season home opener at Barclays Center, then face them again at the Garden on Oct. 29.
Despite their struggles, both sides have shown some feistiness with trash talk. Brooklyn’s Latvian rookie Rodions Kurucs talked in June about wanting to play against countryman Porzingis and “beat his ass.” Then in August, Knicks provocateur Kanter took a shot at the Nets on social media and Dinwiddie clapped back.
Kanter tweeted out a photo of himself outside of Habana at Barclays Center, giving a thumbs down in front of a set of double doors with the Nets logo. Dinwiddie — who was tagged, along with new Net and longtime Kanter nemesis Jared Dudley — tweeted back with a GIF saying, “I don’t see how you can hate from outside the club, you can’t even get in.”
The saltiest beef was between Kanter and Dudley during a Knicks-Suns contest last season. It began when Kanter got into it on-court with Devin Booker then taunted the Suns star on Twitter. Dudley came to his then-teammate’s defense by branding Kanter a “fake tough guy,” and the center fired back that Dudley had a “retirement body” and should go “get on the treadmill.”
Brooklyn inked Tahjere McCall and Shannon Scott. Both guards played for the Nets’ Long Island G League affiliate last season.