Through 25 games, the New York Knicks have turned some heads this season. Currently 11-14 and just 0.5 games out of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are seemingly headed in the right direction under coach Tom Thibodeau.
However, despite the surprisingly strong start, many Knicks fans are disappointed in the lack of playing time for rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. Some struggling veterans are getting playing time instead, and the team’s rotations may have cost the Knicks some games.
Toppin, the eighth pick in 2020’s NBA draft, averages just over 11 minutes a game. He’s doing okay in his limited minutes, 4.6 ppg and 2.6 rebounds, but doesn’t get enough playing time to really show what he’s got. Playing time certainly isn’t given, but the eighth overall pick on a rebuilding team needs extended minutes.
Although many of Toppin’s minutes are taken by the forward duo of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, Toppin should be getting some of Reggie Bullock’s minutes. Bullock’s know to be a “three-and-D” player but has struggled a lot this season. He scored 21 points the other night against Miami, but averages just 8.9 ppg in 27 minutes.
Quickley has had some games this season where he’s completely lit it up, yet he sits on the bench. He’s scored 16 or more points eight times this season but averages just 19 minutes. Despite the Knicks winning two of their last three games, Quickley has played no more than 17 minutes in those games.
Elfrid Payton, on the other hand, continues to be an offensive nuisance. In nearly 29 minutes per game, Payton averages 12 ppg (same as Quickley), while shooting just 43% from the field and 24% from downtown. His defense keeps him in the lineup, but his offense is just brutal to watch.
Over the weekend, the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose, adding another guard into the mix. While Rose and Payton will likely see the bulk of the minutes, the Knicks must continue to give Quickley playing time. Rumors indicate that the Knicks could eventually move on from Payton, but for now, he’ll remain a Knick and another obstacle blocking Quickley’s minutes.
Despite the Knicks having a deep roster, the Knicks must give their rookies decent playing time. You can’t turn a team into a dynasty without young talent, and they have plenty of young talent.Â The Knicks aren’t a contending team this season, so they need to make time for their rookies and development.