NY Knicks: Obi Toppin is A Different Player When He’s Confident

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
New York Knicks, Obi Toppin (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks‘ Power Forward Obi Toppin is an entirely different player when he’s confident.

The rising NBA sophomore has shown incredible levels of dominance in the 2021 NBA Summer League, averaging 23 points and 8 rebounds, playing with an aggression that Knicks fans only saw during the NBA playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks.

Toppin looked incredible in the playoffs, averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds per 36 minutes while looking super effective in the few minutes he received each game.

He looks to have carried that over to an impressive summer league run.

The Knicks’ 8th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft suffered a calf injury quite quickly into his rookie campaign, which threw him for a loop for most of the season, especially receiving limited playing time after coming off of the injury.

It is also important to note that Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley did not get to play in the summer league last year due to Covid restrictions, and unlike Quickley, Toppin did not handle getting thrown straight into the fire as well.

Obi Toppin can be a difference-maker for the NY Knicks

However, now Obi has a year under his belt, and in Summer League, he stepped up.

As mentioned by Adam Kester, Toppin averaged the 4th most points per game in the summer league.

After the Knicks lost to the Raptors in the first summer league game, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was watching the game courtside, lectured Toppin and Quickley, telling them to be leaders and it clearly resonated.

Toppin has come out guns blazing every game, being a terrific roll-man in the pick and roll, has fought for offensive boards, and has shown no fear while driving to the hoop and using post moves or just jumping straight through the defense and drawing fouls.

Over the regular season, Toppin showed timidness.

It was probably due to his calf injury but has now shown the aggression we’ve all wanted to see and has stepped up in the biggest moments.

Like outscoring number 1 pick and potential NBA legend Cade Cunningham when the two faced off, as Obi scored 31 points.

Last season on the offensive end, Toppin looked more reluctant to drive, settling for shooting a lot of 3 pointers while only averaging around 30% from deep on the season.

Obi has post moves that Knicks fans did not get to witness in the regular season, and now that he seems to welcome contact, he could make an enormous jump in year two.

This could also be super helpful in the long run of the season, taking some minutes from Randle, preventing him from having to play close to 40 minutes per game.

It has also been discussed now both on DailyKnicks and Bleacher Report that the Knicks’ biggest issue may have become the center position.

Obi’s willingness to score on both the perimeter and in the paint while having an amazing transition offense could lead to him playing some small-ball center in more offensively based lineups if Thibs is feeling brave.

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