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
New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Obi Toppin could play a bigger role for the New York Knicks

This team may not be tailor-made for Obi Toppin to thrive but he’s certainly starting to carve his role on the squad. The 2nd unit is naturally more of a fit for his game. He has speedy guards he can run with – Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley. Again, I want to emphasize that this isn’t a fast team and that Rose and Quickley do almost all of their damage in the half-court. You can play a “fast” half-court offense and Obi Toppin is starting to realize that.

The increased awareness on defense might very well earn some more time on the court. Tom Thibodeau said this after the team’s win over the Houston Rockets:

"“Obi has been playing really well, and so it’s given us an opportunity us an opportunity to rest more.”"

I’ve emphasized over and over how important it is for the New York Knicks’ secondary players to contribute on offense. Whenever Quickley, Rose, and Burks can contribute as scorers and help lighten the load on Randle, good things seem to happen for the team. Maybe Obi Toppin can become one of those reliable options.

Perhaps this is where Tom Thibodeau will even begin to throw Obi Toppin on the floor with the starters in spurts. With Nerlens Noel picking up a mild ankle injury, Toppin may see some overlap with Randle on the court.

It’s hard to see any kind of star trajector for Obi Toppin in the near future but guess what, he’s starting to be a contributor on a top-10 team. He has some natural talents that haven’t been able to shine through because he’s very much still learning the game. 62 games into the season, it’s safe to say he’s picking up on things.

In some weird way, the unnatural fit of Obi Toppin and the Knicks’ offense may have been beneficial. It’s forced both the team and Toppin to stare at his weaknesses right in the eyes and demand improvement.

There are some parts of the game that will come easily to Toppin and some that will require a lot more time. Either way, he’s proven that he’s ready to put in the work.

That’s what this New York Knicks team is – a team of hard workers. Maybe Obi Toppin fits after all.

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