Obi Toppin made his return from a calf pressure Wednesday evening after lacking 10-straight video games, taking part in simply in need of a minute earlier than getting pulled.
It was clear that Toppin’s conditioning was removed from one hundred pc after this prolonged down time, however he ought to slowly make his manner 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 damage, which might help ease the minutes pressure, particularly for Julius Randle. He at the moment ranks second within the league in minutes performed, in no small half because of having no conventional backup for weeks.
Toppin’s return ought to permit for Randle to take longer breathers as an alternative of taking part in whole quarters and halves. More energizing legs for the Knicks’ finest expertise can be an enormous assist in turning round this slide.
Toppin’s inclusion also needs to carry a wholesome dose of taking pictures and transition assist for a workforce desperately needing each. New York’s three-point taking pictures 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 remains to be devoid of threatening shooters. Toppin had a stable stroke on the collegiate degree 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 might on the very least assist pull some defenders out of the paint for different Knicks to assault.
Toppin could not have the fluid athleticism many would need, however he can get down the court docket in a jiffy, particularly for an enormous. 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 hold their heads up for him. New York’s stagnant offense might use an uptick in simple buckets on the break, one thing Toppin ought to be capable to present.
We will additionally see distinctive and enjoyable lineups that coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been in a position to experiment with because of his restricted wholesome choices. Randle on the heart with Toppin on the 4 received little play within the preseason, however could possibly be an possibility 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 offers New York a much-needed enhance, it’s unlikely to impression 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 a minimum of New York can take pleasure in them extra seeing their newest prized prospect truly out on the court docket.