Knicks’ Summer League Notes: Obi Toppin producing, Miles McBride showing value early

Over two Summer League games, the New York Knicks have managed to extract a ton of information regarding some of their new players. First round pick Quentin Grimes has showcased his abilities as a three point shooter and defender, but some of the Knicks’ second-year players have stood out in the first two games in Las Vegas.

Of course, Immanuel Quickley, who is averaging 35 minutes, has posted 23.5 points. He’s connecting on 42% of his shots from the field and 26% from three, so while his shooting statistics aren’t anything to write home about, his second performance against the Indiana Pacers on Monday put his versatility and scoring prowess on display. He shot 52% from the field and 33% from range, scoring 32 points.

Quickley’s teammate, Obi Toppin, the 8th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has looked like a different player thus far.

Two key takeaways from the Knicks’ Summer League games:

Obi Toppin showing off his growth:

Averaging 36.4 minutes over the past two games, Toppin has averaged 23 points on 44% shooting from the field and 31% shooting from three. He’s also collected 8.5 rebounds on average, showcasing his ability in transition and fantastic athleticism running the floor.

Having allowed 4.1 points per game and 2.2 rebounds last season, the second-year player is looking to bounce back with a far more productive campign. Ultimately, with Julius Randle dominating, Toppin was put on the back-burner and didn’t have a clear-cut path to starting minutes. As a primary power forward, he would sparsely replace Randle to mitigate fatigue, but he played the most minutes out of any prayer during the 2020-21 season.

It is evident over the first two Summer League games that Toppin is capable of producing offensively, but the team needs to play to his strengths. Pairing him with a point guard who demands attention and drives the lane. Quickley is so bouncy and fast in transition, Toppin can match up well. Also, Obi has enjoyed a few steals that lead to transition dunks, so being aggressive in the passing lanes is another factor that could help him improve.

Hopefully, he can string together a few more positive performances, as he seems far more comfortable to start the year.

Miles McBride will have an impact this upcoming season:

Despite being the 36th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, the Knicks value Miles McBride and his defensive proficiency. If there’s any way to get on the floor with Tom Thibodeau as head coach, it’s to display adequate defense and produce turnovers. Averaging 25.5 minutes over the first two Summer League games, McBride has posted 11.5 points, shooting 53% from the field and 28% from range. He has looked good driving to the rim and using his massive wing span to interrupt passing lanes.

McBride is a capable three-point shooter and skilled defender who has plenty to offer in his rookie season. With active hands, McBride can offer value as an average scorer immediately but tenacious defender. Deuce is buried behind Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, and potentially Luca Vildoza, but with their injury concerns, I would be surprised if he didn’t play a healthy role next season.