NY Knicks: 3 Players Obi Toppin Can Learn From

Obi Toppin, New York Knicks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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LaMarcus Aldridge, NY Knicks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: LaMarcus Aldridge is a great role model for Toppin

You know what really grinds my gears?

NY Knicks forward Obi Toppin looks like he couldn’t back down a turnstile.

It is the sad truth. Toppin at least once a game will call for the ball in the post, be fed the ball, and attempt to post-up and score. Nine times out of ten, it goes in favor of the other team.

It is tough to watch a guy whose extremely impressive athletic skillset is essentially a non-factor because he lacks the strength or even finesse to get a good look. It is even more tough when that same player also lacks the ability to create his own shot off the dribble.

We have all seen Toppin attempt to drive at the rim in isolation, once again, nine times out of ten attempting a baseline drive that just as often results in him not making it much closer to the basket.

Toppin needs to seriously work on his shot creation, and more specifically, on his skillset so that he can generate good opportunities for himself.

There are plenty of players in the league now and throughout it’s history who would die to be the sky-walker that Toppin is, yet get along just fine because where they come up short in athleticism or power, they make up for in fundamentals.

A big part of post-play is footwork. And there are very few players who have ever had better footwork and had more skill in the post than LaMarcus Aldridge.

Just watch this clip. LA for the last decade has been one of the most unstoppable and unguardable players in the NBA due to his insane ability to score at will by putting his defender in purgatory with clean, fast, and calculated movement.

Now, am I saying Toppin needs to become as good as Aldridge, or that I think at this moment he has even a slight chance at getting close to that amazing at post-scoring?

That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.

But if you’re going to learn, why not learn from the greats? Toppin needs for the time being to master moves that can get him by while he works on building his strength towards what will hold up in the NBA.

Watching just a couple of the moves Aldridge makes will have anyone quickly noticing how effective a player can be simply by knowing how to control your body while navigating what the defense is presenting. Part of it is IQ as well, learning how to read a situation and being able to strike with the right move in the instant that the moment presents itself before it is gone.

Aldridge, like Toppin, isn’t even the biggest or strongest guy on the court. They are both lanky forwards as well. LA doesn’t always try to use brute strength or athleticism even though he was capable of both at some points of his career. And he didn’t play that way because he molded his game in a way that made it easier for him to get a bucket without exerting that much energy.

Just like with his three-point shot, Toppin must develop an offensive attack that defenses have to learn to respect if he wants the rest of his game to truly open up. One good jab step or head fake can go a long way in Obi getting more opportunities to utilize his already strong finishing abilities.