Obi Toppin opens up about departure from Knicks: ‘I didn’t get the minutes I wanted’

Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
Apr 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin (1) reacts during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When Obi Toppin was selected eighth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2020 NBA draft, he was projected to become a pivotal part of a youthful, promising core featuring RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. However, Julius Randle’s emergence in the squad saw Toppin confined to a minor bench role. Now, after a trade to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for two second-round picks, Toppin has opened up about his time in New York.

“All I can do is just do whatever the coach is asking me to do,” Toppin said, via the NY Post. “Whether that’s being out on the floor, having great energy, doing whatever I need to do to help the team win. I didn’t get the minutes I wanted. But now it’s a new start. I’m here in Indy. I got to work for everything I want. And I’m super excited to start.”

Toppin’s Performance and Potential

During his three seasons with the Knicks, Toppin averaged a modest seven points in just 14 minutes per game. His potential shone through in the few games he started, but the presence of an All-NBA player like Randle meant limited opportunities for him.

Rumors swirled of a dispute between Toppin and Knicks’ Head Coach Tom Thibodeau following Game 4 of their second-round series against the Miami Heat. The leaked audio of the alleged altercation circulated online, but Toppin is firmly focused on his future. “I’m not really worried about the past anymore, thinking about that,” Toppin said.

Maintaining Professionalism Amid Challenges

Despite his challenging tenure with the Knicks, Toppin’s comments about his time in New York remained largely positive. He did not openly criticize the coaching staff or express dissatisfaction over his playing time. Throughout his tenure, Toppin demonstrated professionalism and a positive attitude.

“I had a great time with the Knicks,” Toppin said Sunday. “Obviously, it’s been a dream to have the opportunity to play at MSG and obviously put that Knicks jersey on. There were great players there, great coaches, and everybody was amazing there.”

As Obi Toppin moves on from his unforeseen career trajectory with the Knicks, he eagerly anticipates his new journey with the Pacers. This move promises him a larger and more significant role than he experienced with the Knicks, marking a new chapter in his professional basketball career.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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