New York Knicks fans at the Garden for Monday’s preseason win had to rub their eyes to ensure they saw Jacob Toppin on the court and not his older brother, Obi.
After Jacob went undrafted in June, the Knicks signed him to a contract. He and Obi were part of the same organization, but it didn’t last long. A week after the draft, New York traded Obi to Indiana for two second-round picks.
The younger Toppin made his Knicks debut against the Celtics, and he finished with four points (1-of-3) and two rebounds in 10 minutes. Jacob’s highlight of the night was an alley-oop from Deuce McBride, eerily similar to the show Obi put on at MSG for his three years in the city.
How does Jacob feel about the comparisons to his brother? The rookie pointed out that he and Obi aren’t the same.
"“We’re two different people,” the undrafted rookie said. “Obviously, we’re gonna be different players.”"
Jacob is fighting for a roster spot, while Obi joined his hometown Knicks as the No. 8 pick in the 2020 draft. Although they look alike and share similar athleticism, the Jacob Toppin experience is already different than the Obi Toppin experience. Tom Thibodeau agrees, too.
"Asked to compare the two, Thibodeau said Obi is the better athlete and more advanced offensively, but he raved about Jacob’s defense."
Preseason basketball doesn’t always provide the best entertainment, but New York fans should pay attention to how Jacob looks in the final three games before the start of the regular season.
In other news, ESPN is in the process of releasing its Top 100 player rankings for 2023-24. Here’s the order of key Knicks players, from highest ranked to lowest.
- No. 32: Jalen Brunson (ranked 67 in 2022)
- No. 45: Julius Randle (ranked 71 in 2022)
- No. 71: RJ Barrett (ranked 63 in 2022)
- No. 91: Josh Hart (not ranked in 2022)
- No. 92: Immanuel Quickley (not ranked in 2022)
- No. 100: Mitchell Robinson (ranked 98 in 2022)
More Knicks news
- For the fans who pay attention to t-shirts under jerseys, Evan Fournier is rocking that style (subscription required) for the first time since his Orlando days.
- Former Knicks assistant Brendan Malone, the father of Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, passed away on Tuesday at 81.
- In the annual NBA GM Survey, the Knicks were picked to finish fifth in the Eastern Conference.
- The Hornets waived 2021 first-round pick Kai Jones on Wednesday. Less than two weeks ago, Charlotte announced that Jones would be away from the team indefinitely.
- Shaquille O’Neal voiced his support for an NBA team in Las Vegas and said he wants to own it without any partners.
- In their first head-to-head matchup, Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren gave NBA fans a lot to look forward to.