New York Knicks: How Obi Toppin is starting to evolve

Obi Toppin, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Obi Toppin, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Knicks are starting to see some progress from their rookie Obi Toppin. Coinciding with the team’s ascension in the Eastern Conference has been the development of their young players. It’s been a nearly perfect balance of winning and youth development.

Even in this magical season, there have been some blemishes along the way, the most obtrusive of which has been the development of Obi Toppin.

New York Knicks: Obi Toppin’s career thus far

We all know the pre-draft narrative: “NBA-ready” prospect, “Plug and play” “Rookie of The Year candidate”, all of the labels around Obi Toppin which really shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

People coupled his older age with the college production to create this “ready to go” label and ignored the most important thing: the context. Obi Toppin was a late bloomer. After playing a post-graduate season after high school, Toppin committed to Dayton where he redshirted his freshman season and then went on to play just 2 seasons of college ball.

Toppin had a big final season in college where he found himself as the focal point of a fast-paced offense. He was then drafted to the New York Knicks where the fit was… less than ideal.

Obi Toppin has his own limitations to his game but his fit with the team that drafted him hasn’t done him any favors. However…

Over the past couple of games, we are starting to see some noticeable strides in Toppin’s game. He’s starting to show some of the reasons why the team drafted him. So let’s start out by looking at an area of the game that has been the team’s biggest strength and arguably Toppin’s biggest weakness: Defense.