It might be considered the off-season for the NBA and New York Knicks players, but their youngsters continue to work diligently to improve their game ahead of the 2021-22 season.
This week, second-year guard Immanuel Quickley was working on his shot creation and ability to drive to the rim, but fellow teammate Obi Toppin was working on his game as well.
Toppin, who underwhelmed during his rookie season, averaging 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, and hitting 50% of his shots from the field, is looking to improve his isolation moves and shooting prowess. His Summer League performance was far more promising, averaging 21 points over 35.1 minutes per game. He hit on 44.5% of his shots from the field and 34.3% from three-point range, indicating a 4% increase compared to his final numbers from last season. He also connected on 89% of his free-throw attempts, hauling in 8.3 rebounds, and picked up 1.3 steals per game.
With elevated numbers, Toppin is eyeing a more significant impact in the season ahead, mitigating fatigue for All-Star power forward Julius Randle. In fact, the Knicks could easily try to get both Toppin and Randle on the court at the same time, using the veteran as a small center and allowing Obi to operate out of the power forward spot.
His work ethic is one of the best on the team, representing one of the major reasons the Knicks elected to draft him eighth overall in 2020.
— David Zenon (@DaveZenon) September 4, 2021
While Toppin spent his week training, new teammate Kemba Walker is getting back to his roots in New York. The Bronx native made a trip to Yankee stadium with rapper ABOOGIEWITDAHOODIE.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 4, 2021
Walker, who is enjoying his old stomping grounds, signed a two-year, $17.9 million deal with the Knicks this offseason. After a tough season with the Boston Celtics, where he only featured in 43 games, the Knicks managed to snag him off the market on a fantastic deal that could elevate their team to a serious contender.
If Kemba can remain healthy and productive, the Knicks could have themselves one of the best point guard duos in the league. While both Walker and Derrick Rose have their fair share of issues, playing off one another and mitigating fatigue over an 82-game season could pay off in dividends.