If the New York Knicks knew that less than three years after drafting Obi Toppin No. 8 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft that he’d be traded for two second-round picks, the front office would’ve opted to make a different selection. The same sentiment can be said for every other front office in the league. Lottery picks don’t always live up to the hype.
Toppin was drafted after Julius Randle had a shaky first season in New York. If a trade were to materialize for Randle in the 2020 offseason, Toppin would’ve been the team’s starting power forward. Randle remained on the roster in 2020-21 and had a breakout season that resulted in his first All-NBA/All-Star honors. The rest is history.
In retrospect, the Knicks would’ve hit a home run by selecting Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 draft. The Kings selected the guard with the No. 12 selection, four picks after Toppin.
A large part of New York’s fanbase was adamant against the Knicks drafting Haliburton, and the now All-Star guard hasn’t forgotten about it. In a recent guest appearance on Paul George’s ‘Podcast P’ podcast, Haliburton revealed just how petty he is.
"“I’m honestly like a really petty person,” Haliburton said. “If I go through my bookmarks right now on Twitter, once I get to 2020, it’s gonna be nothing but people talking about the way I shoot, Knicks’ fans saying they shouldn’t draft me and all this stuff.”"
Tyrese Haliburton hasn’t forgotten about Knicks fans not wanting New York to draft him in 2020
Tyrese Haliburton and the Knicks don’t exactly have the best history. From passing on him in the 2020 NBA Draft to Wally Szczerbiak calling him a “wannabe All-Star” this past season on MSG Networks, Haliburton has added motivation as one of New York’s rivals in the Eastern Conference.
The 23-year-old signed a five-year, $260 million max extension with the Pacers this offseason and has been labeled as one of the best players to play for the organization since Reggie Miller, an infamous Knicks villain. As if that isn’t bad enough, Haliburton and Obi Toppin are now teammates.
Toppin was never allowed to reach his full potential in New York, but that will likely come in Indiana. Haliburton expressed his excitement to play alongside Toppin after the trade was reported. So, the player that the Knicks chose to select over Haliburton in 2020 is now Haliburton’s teammate. As much as it’ll sting for New York fans to see, Haliburton and Toppin are going to be electric in transition.
Haliburton’s coming up on his fourth season in the league, and he’s already gotten the last laugh over Knicks fans. But hey, at least New York ended up finding a pretty good point guard in Jalen Brunson. Like Tyrese Haliburton, the best is yet to come for New York’s star point guard.