Top five hoops features of 2010

Years from now, we may very well look back at 2010 as the year that basketball was reborn in New York City.

No, we didn't get the player we so desperately wanted. But what we did get looks pretty darn good so far.

1. Only One Choice For LeBron's Kingdom

When we launched ESPNNewYork.com back in April, we got off to a flying start, thanks to this piece by our top columnist, Ian O'Connor -- on why New York was the best choice for LeBron James. Ian didn't just give the readers his point of view -- he got the likes or Willis Reed, Mark Messier and Reggie Jackson to chime in, too.

2. The Heat? LBJ Should've Picked Knicks

Well, LeBron didn't listen to us. Instead, he took his talents to South Beach -- and made a huge mistake, opined Ian O'Connor. Now, no matter how many championships James wins in Miami, he'll always play second fiddle to Dwyane Wade -- kinda like how Alex Rodriguez will always play second fiddle to Derek Jeter.

3. Amare Is Prophetic, Not Preposterous

New York wanted LeBron, but it ended up with Amare Stoudemire -- not exactly what we had in mind. Stoudemire signed a $100 million deal and boldly proclaimed, "The Knicks are back" -- but no one really believed him. Not until the past few weeks, anyway. After scoring 30 points in nine straight games, and leading the Knicks to 13 wins in 14 contests, writes Ian O'Connor, Amare appears to be delivering on his promise.

4. Seconds Beckon For Nets, Johnson

Our other NBA team didn't get LeBron either. And they didn't win the John Wall sweepstakes at the draft lottery. What they got was an intriguing new owner (Mikhail Prokhorov) and an intense new coach (Avery Johnson). Johnson wasn't the Nets' first choice -- and they weren't his -- but Ian O'Connor called the two parties a perfect match.

5. Lavin's Recruits Re-energizing Red Storm

College basketball in New York was also reinvigorated in 2010, thanks to a slew of new head coaches -- headlined by Steve Lavin at St. John's. The Red Storm haven't made the NCAA tournament since 2002, and have resided near the bottom of the Big East standings in recent years. All Lavin did in his first full recruiting class at St. John's was secure the No. 3-ranked class in America, behind only Kentucky and Duke. These players aren't on campus yet, and it will take them time to develop. But don't be surprised if St. John's is a top 25 team again before too long.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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