The New York Knicks 2021-2022 season was certainly a dreadful one to watch, as they finished 11th in the East at 37-44.
There were some bright spots this year though, such as the ascension of RJ Barrett, and the late-season performances from Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin. All three are younger than 24, and New York fans are excited for what’s in store for 2022-23.
The connection between the three players is clear, as fans could tell they have great chemistry on and off the basketball court. Toppin and Quickley were drafted together in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft, while Barrett was drafted the year before.
After what the trio showed this season, fans are starting to wonder if the Knicks potentially have a “Big 3.”
Every offseason New York is linked to the biggest names in the game. The young talent that the Knicks possess is unquestioned and some fans don’t think the front office should make a big splash this summer because of it.
The star potential for these three players is clear and the front office should start to build around their young talented core.
RJ Barrett has evolved into the new face of the New York Knicks
Back in 2019, Barrett was selected by the Knicks with the third overall pick in the NBA draft. Since then, fans have hoped that he would one day turn into an All-Star caliber player. This season, he proved that he can be just that.
Knicks fans are very excited about the 21-year-old. This season he established himself as the face of the franchise, as he led the Knicks in scoring since the start of the calendar year with 23.6 points per game.
The Montreal native is one of the hardest-working players in the league and it’s clear how motivated he is to continue to get better. He’s not only become the team’s first option, but he’s also established himself as a leader in the locker room.
Not only is the scoring a great sign, but the leadership qualities are an even better sign. Every good team has a leader and Barrett taking on that challenge at such a young age is very promising.
Immanuel Quickley is the point guard the New York Knicks need
The biggest question mark for the Knicks has always been centered around the point guard position. But New York might already have that point guard on their roster in Quickley. Everyone knows about his shooting, but his passing is a part of his game that he needs to work on.
In his final few games, he showed that he’s capable of taking over the position next season, with a duo of triple-double performances to close out the year.
He’s even become much better at reading defenses, which is great for a player as young as Quickley. In his final five games of the season, he was given a bigger role and he recorded eye-opening stats:
- 20.0 points per game
- 8.8 assists per game
- 7.2 rebounds per game
Those numbers are all-around dominant. When Quickley’s given an opportunity, he produces. His chemistry with his teammates is also something to take note of, as point guards must always try and make players around them better.
Obi Toppin is a dangerous scoring threat for the New York Knicks
The 2020 National College Player of the Year has always had the potential to become a dangerous scoring threat in the NBA. With Julius Randle as the starting power forward, Toppin struggled to find time on the floor throughout the majority of his first two seasons.
During his limited time on the floor, he was still able to score at a high clip, as he averaged 19.0 points per 36 minutes. This season he only started 10 games, and in those games, he averaged 20.3 points.
In the final five games of the season, the high flying forward was able to start in Randle’s absence and he didn’t disappoint. During the five-game stretch his totals were jaw-dropping, as he posted:
- 27.2 points per game
- 6.2 rebounds per game
- 55% shooting from the field
- 46.3% from the 3-point line
Fans have been lobbying for Toppin to see more time on the floor because of his lethal scoring ability. When he consistently receives minutes his shooting percentages drastically improve, which is certainly an enlightening sign.
If Toppin can become the full-time starter for New York next season, then the Knicks will most definitely be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.