Sunday, November 28 2021
Obi Toppin two-handed dunk summer league close shot

Obi Toppin two-handed dunk summer league close shot

Obi Toppin spent most days in the offseason training at the Knicks practice facility.

“Coming off last year, I knew I had to improve a lot. So, coming in here every single day this summer, that was my motivation. Come in and just be better than what you were last year,” Toppin said Wednesday.

Toppin had a quiet rookie season last year in New York. Playing behind an All-Star (Julius Randle), he averaged 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11 minutes per game.
He gave the Knicks good minutes in their playoff series against the Hawks. Overall, Toppin didn’t meet the expectations most had for him as a rookie. But, as Tom Thibodeau noted on Wednesday, Toppin handled the adversity well.

“He really worked hard. He never really got down,” Thibodeau said. “When you look at his on-off
numbers, the second half of the season they were very good. And then in the playoffs I thought the
group functioned really well with him, he added a lot to the second unit.”

Outside of signing Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, the Knicks didn’t make any major moves in the offseason. So they’re betting, in part, on the improvement of their returning players like Toppin.

Thibodeau remains a strong believer in Toppin heading into the 2021-22 season.

“Whenever someone is doing something for the first time, there’s going to be a learning curve to it. Often times, trial and error, it’s a big part of learning,” Thibodeau said. “I think coming into the league and understanding the differences between college and the pros, the rule change differences, the players in the league, the teams in the league. That takes time. Some guys get it faster than others.”

ON STARTING KEMBA

One of the reasons Thibodeau decided to begin the season with Walker as his point guard? He wanted to keep the Knicks’ bench unit together.

“I feel very strongly about our second unit played very well together last year. Want them to stay
intact. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way. A lot of these guys are interchangeable so they’re going to play with both groups,” the coach said.

New York’s bench was one of its strengths last season. The club brought back Derrick Rose and Alec Burks in free agency. They both should play major roles off the bench, along with Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.

One lineup you may not see much of? Toppin and Randle on the same front line.

“We’ll get a look at it. It wasn’t very effective last year,” Thibodeau said when asked about it on Wednesday. “But the one thing about both guys – Obi I think is a lot better than he was a year ago. Julius continues to get better and better so we’ll see how it unfolds.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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