The New York Knicks have been waiting for a savior in the draft for years. While they have seen superstar talent drafted in-and-around them, they are yet to hit like that. Their recent draft record doesn’t reflect success.
In fact, you could argue that a lot of the picks and the talent in them have been wasted by New York. Maybe that is why the NBA Draft Lottery Gods punished them by having them fall to the eighth overall pick.
However, those same Gods worked some magic to get them one of the best players in the draft. Obi Toppin was the unanimous College Player of the Year last season, coming into the Draft as a projected Top-5 pick.
However, he fell down the board along with Deni Avdija. The Knicks selected Toppin, who was actually born in New York.
Will Toppin be any different than the draft picks that have come to New York before him? Will the Knicks be able to develop him into a star, or will he become another young player that gets chewed up by Tom Thibodeau?
New York Knicks finally take a step in the right direction
Toppin will take the New York Knicks as far as the team lets him. This is a franchise that notoriously is so bogged down by off-court issues that the play on the court is never good.
R.J. Barrett was supposed to change the franchise last season. Before that, there was Kevin Knox. Before that, they had Kristaps Porzingis, who even became an All-Star in New York. Players developing in New York have a maze to juggle through.
However, Toppin is possibly as ready as he can be for this environment. He grew up in New York and is one of the older players in the draft. The 22-year-old will have a deeper sense of maturity than most of the other players on the roster.
On the court, Toppin is basically positionless across the frontcourt. He is an imposing rim-runner, who has developed quite a balanced game.
While he is yet another forward, this was a pick they couldn’t have passed on. You could argue that Deni Avdija should have been this pick, but that’s just a small question.
Avdija may have a Porzingis-like struggle adjusting to the harsh New York fandom. Toppin is a local boy who is already being showered with support.
Hopefully, the Knicks finally manage to do a good thing by helping Obi Toppin develop into a star and taking the team back into contention.
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