Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett are Knicks’ most exhilarating duo

RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

It’s not often that New York Knicks fans get to see Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett on the court together, but they got a great taste of it the other night.

In a 121-106 win over a good and young Charlotte Hornets squad, New York got to see a lot of their younger players play a prominent role. Toppin had maybe the best game of his young career.

Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett shine for New York Knicks

It feels like whenever we use Toppin and “minutes” in the same sentence, it’s in reference to his lack of playing time. Against the Hornets, he led the entire team with 40 minutes played.

Toppin finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. It was the kind of all-around offensive performance that fans had been waiting to see since he was drafted by the Knicks.

Barrett continued to dominate. He finished with 30 points and has now gotten his points-per-game average up to 24 in the year 2022. That’s 36 games, almost half of a season, averaging 24 points.

When it comes to Barrett and Toppin together, there isn’t always a ton of conversation around how they can complement each other. That’s mostly due to the fact that they rarely ever get to share the court.

Barrett, at this point, is really New York’s primary ballhandler. Even if Alec Burks, Miles McBride, or Immanuel Quickley are slotted in as the point guard, it’s Barrett who’s going to do the majority of the initiating, especially with Julius Randle out of the lineup.

When Barrett has the ball, having a guy like Toppin on the court next to him gives him a great option to look for with an assist. Toppin brings so much gravity towards the rim when he dives and for someone like Barrett who excels at getting to the rim with the ball, having a guy like Toppin can come in handy.

Especially in transition. Barrett always seems to excel in the open court with a head of steam, and Toppin is certainly someone who can run with him. Toppin ranks in the 94th percentile in the NBA in transition scoring efficiency.

These are two players whose play styles can help each other succeed. What makes it even more fun — these are two homegrown prospects. Barrett has swiftly assumed his role as the Knicks’ centerpiece for the future with his play in 2022.

Toppin hasn’t been able to see the court as often as you would like, but the New York native is a fan favorite who still seems to have plenty of untapped potential. Hopefully, we’ll get to see these two share the court more frequently in the near future.