Knicks: The 5 most important preseason stats fans need to know

RJ Barrett, Knicks.: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, Knicks.: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 11, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin (1) runs back down the court during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

5) Obi Toppin’s Three-Point Attempt Rate

There may be more hand-wringing over Toppin’s dreadful three-point shooting during preseason (1-of-11, 9.1%), but it was his three-point attempt rate that raised my eyebrows. That’s because 37.9% of Toppin’s preseason field goal attempts came from behind the arc. For perspective, that’s a higher rate of three-point attempts than guys like Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Bradley Beal and CJ McCollum each had last season.

Look, I’m a huge proponent of having as many players be threats to shoot from three as possible. But, given what we know about Toppin’s strengths, I’m concerned that this Knicks team isn’t constructed to maximize his skill set. Whether he will be sharing the floor with Mitchell Robinson, Nerlins Noel, or Julius Randle, Toppin will be the one expected to pop out to three and spread the floor in each lineup configuration. It will be exceedingly difficult for Toppin to be used as a pick-and-roll big while sharing the front court with non-shooters.

Toppin has proven that he’s more than just a rim-runner and a lob threat. He’s a tremendously skilled big with the ability to drive and kick and make nifty passes on the move:

I’m not opposed to Toppin taking threes by any means, but I’ll be keeping an eye on his shot profile throughout the season.

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The last thing we need is to pretend our prized rookie is the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki. Here’s hoping Thibs finds a balance between spacing and playing to Toppin’s strengths.