The New York Knicks were expecting a lot more out of Obi Toppin when they drafted him with the 8th overall pick in last year’s draft. The forward out of Dayton had an underwhelming first year in the NBA. He had trouble creating his own shot, shooting poorly from the outside, and just a general struggle to put the ball in the basket. The Knicks other first round pick, Immanuel Quickley, took the league by storm. The projected second round pick out of Kentucky defied all expectations and performed way above his projections. He became and integral part of the Knicks rotation.
Both of these young players are vital for the Knicks continued success in building off of last season. They both are dominating the NBA’s Summer League as the Knicks feature some strong talent. Obviously, we take Summer League success with a grain of salt, but we are seeing some very encouraging trends.
This is the first time that Obi Toppin is playing in the Summer League due to COVID. So far, he has been driving the Knicks offense. In three games so far, he has scored 24 points, 22 points, and 17 points. He has shown heightened aggression in creating his own shot and scoring at will around the basket. In addition, he is bullying smaller players on the block. Toppin has also shown what looks like an improved outside shot. When he took a 3 last year, there really was no telling on where it would end up. He is showing a smoother looking shot, a quicker release, and sky high confidence. There were points last year where Toppin looked lost on the court and maybe should have been sent down to the G-League. However, he is putting last season behind him and has shown tremendous growth from the playoffs to now.
Despite earning a D+ draft grade from CBS, Immanuel Quickley was one of the best rookies in the NBA last year. He showed tremendous poise for a rookie. Quickley averaged 11.4 ppg last year while shooting 89% from the line and 39% from beyond the arc. Like Toppin, this is Quickley’s first Summer League action and he has come out of the gate strong. He put up 15 points against the Raptors, 32 against the Pacers, and 25 against the Lakers in three games. Quickley is scoring from all levels of the floor, distributing that ball well, and has made a nice connection with rookie, Jericho Sims. The one downside to Quickley’s game so far this Summer League is he is still jumping into defenders trying to get the foul call. The NBA said they will be cracking down on that move from the offensive player.
The New York Knicks have added a lot of great pieces so far this offseason. They added Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. They drafted Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Jericho Sims who have all played extremely well in the Summer League. Plus, they brought back Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel while also getting Mitchell Robinson back from injury. The Knicks should be a very dangerous team this upcoming season and Obi Topping and Immanuel Quickley will be major parts of their success. If the way they are playing carries over to the regular season, the Knicks will be a very difficult team to beat.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
Featured image courtesy of Sports Illustrated
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