The New York Knicks need to give Obi Toppin more minutes

The New York Knicks need to give Obi Toppin more minutes, plain and simple. Toppin has been one of the best players on the Knicks for the last month, and it does not make any sense that he plays as little as he does.

Toppin averaged 15 minutes per game in November despite leading the team in PER with a 20.26.  He and Immanuel Quickley worked wonders on the court together, outworking everyone else constantly.

New York Knicks: Obi Toppin’s effectiveness

This year, the former 8th overall pick has become one of the most efficient players on the Knicks.  Per 100 possessions, Toppin’s plus/minus is +15, essentially meaning the Knicks outscore their opponents by 15 points per 100 possessions when they have Obi on the court.

Recently it was discussed how Toppin became a much better defender on top of being almost at an elite level of rim running, so I will not go into full detail. Still, how much work he has put in on his improvement cannot be disregarded.

Coach Tom Thibodeau when talking about Toppin, said, “He plays with energy all day,” which is the best way to put it.  I just wonder why if Thibs says this, he refuses to give Obi extra minutes.

The biggest issue with fitting Toppin into the roster is that he is a true power forward. He is too much of a big man to play the small forward, and it’s unclear if he is ready to play center, especially since he’s only 6’9”, which is undersized for an NBA center.

There are times where Toppin could clearly get more minutes, however. Both Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel were not entirely healthy in the recent 102-100 loss to the Nets, a team where Toppin could have played center against. He never did, though, only logging 12 minutes despite the lack of health with the Knicks big men.

Lamarcus Aldridge, the Nets starting center, is not a huge rebounding presence.  Add that on to Julius Randle being an excellent rebounding power forward. There’s no reason why Obi should not have been getting minutes at the center position.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it, Obi is a different player when he finds his confidence. He has found his confidence and can be used in more situations than Thibs uses him for.

How the New York Knicks can get Obi Toppin more minutes

There are two ways the Knicks can get Toppin more minutes: Cut down the minutes of guys like Nerlens Noel and Mitchell Robinson when they are not in full health, or trade him to a new team.

I personally prefer the first option. Toppin has a ton of potential and can become a small-ball center with time. Nerlens Noel has been injured basically all year, so Toppin should get basically all of Noel’s minutes until Noel is fully healthy.

Toppin has arguably been one of the Knicks’ best players this season as his mid-range and transition game has been in an elite class.

I also love his free throw percentage in November, which is 85%. Being an elite free-throw shooter and his ability to knock the mid-range down show that despite his 3 point percentage is 18%, he has the potential to become a very serviceable shooter. It also helps that the man shoots 3s with all the confidence in the world.

Trading Obi is not a great idea as he has just scratched the surface of his potential. If nothing else, his value is bound to continue rising, so there’s no reason to sell low on a valuable member of the team.

Suppose the New York Knicks do end up trying to trade Toppin. In that case, it should be in some sort of blockbuster trade where Toppin is one of multiple Knicks traded in return for a franchise-altering star. Most of the Knicks’ young guys have more value as a unit than singularly, so if one gets traded, multiple of them should be.

The Knicks should be open to trading Toppin, but their plan should be to develop him into a guy who can play multiple positions.

I read an article calling Bruce Brown the Nets’ swiss army knife player earlier in the year. Thibs should definitely try to make Toppin into one of these types of players.

If Obi can get his shooting down, he becomes pretty hard to deal with. He’s already quick enough to cover the perimeter, and contesting shots at the rim will not be that difficult for any 6’9 forward with a 44-inch vertical jump.

The number one thing, though is that Toppin needs more playing time. Randle does not need to play over 35 minutes every night. Toppin has too much potential and is already too valuable to limit him to only 15 minutes per game. The Knicks bench is deep, but Toppin deserves his minutes as much as any Knick right now.

Trading Obi is not a great idea as he has just scratched the surface of his potential, and if nothing else, his value is bound to continue rising, so there’s no reason to sell low on a valuable member of the team.

If the New York Knicks do end up trying to trade Toppin, it should be in some sort of blockbuster trade where Toppin is one of multiple Knicks traded in return for a franchise-altering star.  Most of the Knicks’ young guys have more value as a unit than singularly, so if one of them gets traded, multiple of them should be.

The New York Knicks should be open to trading Toppin, but their plan should be to develop him into a guy who can play multiple positions.

Earlier in the year, I read an article calling Bruce Brown the Nets’ swiss army knife player. Thibs should definitely try to make Toppin into one of these types of players.

If Obi can get his shooting down, he becomes quite hard to deal with. He’s already quick enough to cover the perimeter, and contesting shots at the rim will not be that difficult for any 6’9 forward with a 44-inch vertical jump.

The number one thing though is that Toppin needs more playing time. Randle does not need to play over 35 minutes every night, and Toppin has too much potential and is already too useful to limit him to only 15 minutes per game.  The Knicks bench is deep, but Toppin deserves his minutes as much as any Knick right now.