For months now, it has been no secret that NY Knicks‘ rookie Obi Toppin has been a frustrating work in progress at the NBA level.
The New York Knicks 2020 eighth overall pick has often struggled when he sees the floor. With about two-thirds of his rookie season completed, there have been several factors that have ironically lead to a very up and down year for the vertically gifted forward.
First, it was the immediate emergence of teammate Julius Randle as an all-star caliber player and as the center of the Knicks winning formula. Toppin was given little time to show what he was capable of before Julius Randle was handed 37 minutes of playing time per game.
Just as immediate was the calf injury Toppin suffered from that caused him to miss 10 games. Since his return, he hasn’t been able to find his stride in the brief 11.7 minutes he gets per game.
With every one of those minutes and with every passing game, Obi Toppin looks more and more lost.
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However, every so often we see flashes of the player out of Dayton we were promised. An acrobatic finish at the basket here, a nothing but net bomb from three off that smooth looking jumper there. A defensive rebound turned fast break where Toppin shows his point forward abilities by dishing to an open teammate on the move.
For as many times as we have all shook our heads as NY Knicks fans watching him, Toppin has still displayed skill that can make him a force someday. There is still reason to hold out hope for such a scenario, but Toppin is already 23 years old. If he isn’t ready now, then when will he be?
In order for Toppin to improve, I have selected three NBA current players that he can learn from. While his current mentor, Randle, shares many similar traits and abilities, I think it is important that Toppin looks everywhere possible in order to harness those skills and mold himself into a consistent and impactful contributor.