2. Trading Obi Toppin away for nothing
The Obi Toppin trade request was likely due to the role, or lack thereof, he had on the team. However, unless the Knicks manage to figure out the newfound gap at backup power forward, it may have just been a better idea to just keep Toppin around and put him in a more ideal role on the team.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks plan on using Isaiah Roby as the team’s backup power forward, which is just silly. With all due respect to Roby, there’s a reason that the Thunder and Spurs waived him. To keep it simple, if the Knicks wanted to use an athletic, offensively limited power forward who’s a liability defensively, why not just keep Toppin?
It’s a tough scenario. Toppin stated that he wasn’t happy with the minutes he was receiving, alongside the alleged incident between him and Tom Thibodeau. New York may have been put in a position where they had to trade him. However, to trade Toppin with the intention of using Roby as the team’s backup is just nonsense.
New York very well could run one of Josh Hart or RJ Barrett as a backup four in certain situations, but how effective would either of them really be? While whoever takes up this role likely wouldn’t see many minutes, it’s still something to worry about. There’s a very real chance we see New York’s bench struggle if the team genuinely opts to use Roby.
Pairing Roby, who isn’t a good shooter, next to Isaiah Hartenstein, a non-shooting big, could be a recipe for disaster spacing-wise. Toppin was never an elite shooter, but teams still knew they had to guard him. Roby likely won’t get that same respect. This could be an overreaction, but it certainly seems like Roby won’t be a very good fit with the Knicks’ bench.