New York Knicks: 4 takeaways from Obi Toppin’s preseason debut

Obi Toppin, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Obi Toppin, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 6, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau calls a play during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

4) The Knicks looked… competent?

For many NBA franchises, the preseason is when fans don’t pay much attention and the outcome of the game doesn’t matter. For the Knicks, who haven’t sniffed the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons and have undergone numerous coaching changes during that time, watching them play basketball on Friday night, after a nine-month layoff, with focus and intensity on defense, it was a refreshing site to see.

It’s one game. But in his first test as New York Knicks head coach, Tom Thibodeau passed with flying colors. There were plenty of sloppy things that need to be cleaned up (and you know Thibs is working around the clock to make sure they are cleaned up). But, overall, the team looked good considering the context of play.

For a little while, I was watching the Detroit Pistons feed of the game, and even their commentators noted how the Knicks seemed to want last night’s game more than the Pistons did.

As much as Obi Toppin’s performance was fun to watch, perhaps the most promising point of the night was seeing how active the Knicks were on defense, using their hands to get into passing lanes, contesting shots, and being aggressive in trying to create turnovers.

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Again, it was one game. Again, there were plenty of mistakes. But, as a Knicks fan, you have to like what you saw in the preseason opener.