Why the New York Knicks Trading Obi Toppin Seems Inevitable

NY Knicks, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /
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Julius Randle, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Knicks: The Presence of Julius Randle

It is insane to think that in the time between the New York Knicks drafting Obi Toppin and the start of the 2020-21 season, the majority of the fan base was either indifferent to or all in on the idea of trading Julius Randle.

Being that both play the power forward position, a segment of the Knicks faithful wanted to move on from Randle, who had a polarizing first year in New York, to say the least, in favor of Toppin. The idea of Toppin getting a full opportunity to play a large role for the Knicks as a rookie paired nicely with the hope of being able to acquire value for Randle, forget his time here ever happened, and move on.

Thankfully, the organization wasn’t so quick to end Randle’s Knicks tenure.

To the pleasure and surprise of all basketball fans, Randle has taken a leap very few 26 year-olds do. Randle has produced such an impressive uptick in every single one of his stats that he is practically running away with the Most Improved Player award.

Randle has also managed to become a first-time all-star, making him arguably one of the 30 best players in the NBA. He even has a great case for making an All-NBA team.

Perhaps his most impressive achievement yet to come though is leading the Knicks to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Randle has pulled off the incredible 180 of going from failed consolation prize to franchise centerpiece.

All of that has left Toppin with nothing more than a bench role. He barely sees the floor, playing 11.8 minutes per game to Randle’s 37.

The Knicks would be crazy to not stick with Randle for the long haul. Neither he nor Toppin quite have the size or skills to play a full-time role at the small forward or center position.

Unfortunately for Toppin, this likely means any time spent in a New York Knicks uniform will result in a very secluded role. This is neither good for his development or his value as a player.

The immense success Randle has seen this season is the most likely thing to lead to Toppin being shipped elsewhere.