One thing every NBA team has to be thankful for on Thanksgiving: New York Knicks – Obi Toppin has vastly improved
The Knicks have had an up-and-down year, but one thing that has been a pleasant surprise so far has been the improved play of Obi Toppin.
The springy big man drafted out of Dayton is still only playing 15 minutes a game, but his usage rate has skyrocketed compared to last year, and he’s doing a lot more with those opportunities.
His per-36 minute numbers of 19 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks are a big step forward, but there’s one very specific thing that stands out about Obi.
This guy runs the floor like a man on fire.
Obi thinks that every single play has highlight potential, and he’s not going to mess it up for lack of effort. Transition points are the easiest way for a team to score, and Obi is a one-man fast break.
His on-off numbers are outrageously good, but that’s true of all of the Knicks’ backups. Defensively, he still has a ways to go, but he doesn’t look as lost as he did his rookie year, and it’s clear he’s playing with more confidence on that end of the floor.
I’m not sure what role Toppin will end up playing long-term for a playoff team, but the fact that he’s improved by leaps and bounds in his second year and is playing consequential minutes under coach Tom Thibodeau is a great sign.