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In battle between Nets and Knicks, the winner is ... planning

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New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

No Nets or Knicks fan will want to remember much about this season when it’s over. The Nets have won 12 games, the Knicks 26 and neither will make the playoffs or claim an MVP in 2017. But what about the future? asks Fred Kerber.

So throw out records. Whose plan for the future are you liking now? The one that granted, will take years but seems to have purpose and direction under Nets general manager Sean Marks, or the one that has bred confusion among the Knicks in the third full year of the Phil Jackson regime, a reign that has included an 85-161 (.346) record?

Yikes.

The Knicks have a solid, maybe even transformational player in 21-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, but who, as Kerber notes, is not much improved over the last season. They also have all their first round draft picks and have shown they know how to find good young European players.

The Nets have a plan and Sean Marks. And that alone makes the Nets a better long-term bet.

Marks was imported from San Antonio, given a shovel, a monstrous pile of dung and told: “Dig.” An impossible task, yet in one year, despite a 12-53 record, he seems to have done more to change the atmosphere around the Nets than Jackson has done in three years with the Knicks. After Sunday’s game, Jackson ignored a few reporters with a dismissive nod. Marks on his way out shook a reporter’s hand with a warm greeting.

Kerber notes as well that the Knicks “plan” is more a merry-go-round.

The Knicks under Jackson cleaned house, fired a coach. They fired another coach, inserted an interim and cleaned house. They replaced the interim, cleaned house and now have Jackson conducting hands-on mini clinics to adapt to a system change late in the season.

It will ultimately come down to players, the “horses.”. Ask Luke Walton, the NBA darling when he took Steve Kerr’s Warriors and looked like a supercoach in his absence, but now is, how you say, struggling, with the young Lakers. Or as Kerber quotes Sparky Anderson, Baseball Hall of Fame coach: “If you ain’t got horses, you ain’t holding parades.”

As the Post columnist concludes...

So of the two bad teams in Brooklyn on Sunday, the Nets have the better plan. It will take years, but there is a plan for some parade horses. The Knicks? Their parades have been as joyous as funeral processions.

As a news story, dysfunction always wins out. It’s like a train wreck. But quietly, the Nets narrative is becoming of interest to writers and editors.