After the last few years, say this for New York sports in 2022: We’re due.
The Mets are spending, the Yankees are still stacked, the Nets are mighty and the Rangers are on the upswing. And football already has hit its rock bottom, right?
The 10 things we’re most looking forward to in our new sports year:
1. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer together
There are five Cy Youngs between them, and an argument can be made the Mets have the two best pitchers in baseball. There will be injury and regression concerns, but the rest of the league and the NL East should be more concerned with the top of the Mets’ staff.
2. Yankees core’s last shot?
We’ll see what Brian Cashman has in mind, but this looks like the last gasp for the Baby Bombers. Aaron Judge has not been extended (yet), and Gary Sanchez will be a free agent after the season. Can Luis Severino and Gleyber Torres rebound and bring the group where it hasn’t gone before: the World Series?
3. The Nets’ playoff run
Kevin Durant has looked like an MVP, James Harden has looked more like himself and the complementary pieces have been there for the East’s best team — which has added Kyrie Irving (at least for the moment and only half the time). Can the Nets get beyond the Bucks this year? Will Steph Curry be waiting in The Finals?
4. The Rangers’ playoff run
Among the nicest surprises in New York sports has been the emergence of Igor Shesterkin, already among the league’s best goalies. A young Rangers squad and its “Kid Line” have arrived ahead of schedule.
5. The NFL draft’s first round
It is possible the Giants and Jets each will have two selections in the top 10, giving them a chance to quickly infuse desperately needed talent. Whoever will be in charge of the Giants will be tasked with fixing the offensive line, and the Jets have many holes in their defense.
6. NCAA Tournament
Seton Hall is leading the way locally, but there are plenty of potential Cinderellas in our backyard. St. John’s, Rick Pitino’s Iona, Wagner, Princeton and Hofstra all have solid shots to shoot their way into March Madness and knock off higher seeds.
7. NBA free agency
Will Durant be the last star standing in Brooklyn, because Irving and Harden can hit free agency? Can the Knicks finally lure a star through a trade (Damian Lillard? Zion Williamson?) or through a free-agent class that should have Brooklyn’s stars, Deandre Ayton and Bradley Beal?
8. Gil Hodges’ enshrinement
Finally, the manager of the Miracle Mets will get his due. In his 35th appearance on a ballot, Hodges was elected to Cooperstown nearly 50 years after his death. On July 24, New York can celebrate another Hall of Famer.
9. Henrik Lundqvist’s jersey retirement
Jan. 28 will belong to King Henrik. Lundqvist’s jersey will rise to the rafters before the Rangers’ game against the Wild, and the Garden crowd can thank the goalie who presided over the net for 15 years.
10. Giants and Jets QB jumps
From Year 1 to 2, will Zach Wilson become the improvisational and standout quarterback the Jets envisioned? If Daniel Jones indeed returns, will he look like a long-term solution rather than a stopgap waiting for a replacement to arrive?