Obi Toppin made his return from a calf pressure Wednesday night time after lacking 10-straight video games, taking part in simply wanting a minute earlier than getting pulled.
It was clear that Toppin’s conditioning was removed from 100% after this prolonged down time, however he ought to slowly make his approach again into the rotation.
What does this imply for the now flailing, losers of four-straight Knicks?
For one, the Knicks lastly get a physique again from harm, which will help ease the minutes pressure, particularly for Julius Randle. He presently ranks second within the league in minutes performed, in no small half attributable to having no conventional backup for weeks.
Toppin’s return ought to enable for Randle to take longer breathers as a substitute of taking part in whole quarters and halves. More energizing legs for the Knicks’ finest expertise could be a giant assist in turning round this slide.
Toppin’s inclusion must also convey a wholesome dose of capturing and transition assist for a staff desperately needing each. New York’s three-point capturing has been largely ignored by NBA defenses as of late, with Randle, Barrett and Elfrid Payton unable to make them pay.
Although Kevin Knox has offered a pleasant elevate as of late, the rotation continues to be devoid of threatening shooters. Toppin had a stable stroke on the collegiate stage and went 3-for-7 from deep in his first NBA contest, although one of many makes banked in. Even when he’s simply making an attempt seven an evening, it may on the very least assist pull some defenders out of the paint for different Knicks to assault.
Toppin might not have the fluid athleticism many would need, however he can get down the courtroom in a jiffy, particularly for a giant. Mix that together with his verticality and he’ll be a lift to the Knicks’ transition recreation as long as Payton, Austin Rivers and Immanuel Quickley maintain their heads up for him. New York’s stagnant offense may use an uptick in simple buckets on the break, one thing Toppin ought to be capable of present.
We are able to additionally see distinctive and enjoyable lineups that coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been capable of experiment with attributable to his restricted wholesome choices. Randle on the middle with Toppin on the 4 bought little play within the preseason, however may very well be an choice now with the offense struggling and Nerlens Noel’s inconsistent performances.
There’s additionally potential for a Quickley-Barrett-Knox-Toppin-Robinson lineup, comprised completely of the Knicks’ younger core, which is probably not the winningest however would make for an entertaining glimpse at the way forward for the franchise.
The Knicks and their followers have excessive hopes for Toppin, and although his return provides New York a much-needed enhance, it’s unlikely to affect their wins and losses in materials methods. That is the way it goes for many rookies within the league, but when the losses proceed to pile no less than New York can get pleasure from them extra seeing their newest prized prospect truly out on the courtroom.