In dramatic fashion, the New York Knicks walked away with an awesome victory over the Boston Celtics to open the season. Led predominantly by Julius Randle and Evan Fournier, who combined for 67 points, four blocks, four steals, and 12 assists, one player who flew under the radar was second-year power forward Obi Toppin.
After struggling in his rookie season to find his path in the NBA, averaging just 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, and shooting 50% from the field, Toppin put forth a showing that displayed his growth this off-season. The Dayton product is known for his transition abilities and highflying athleticism, and he showcased some of that skill against Boston, dunking over a number of defenders and continuously shredding their interior defense.
“Man, hearing your name getting chanted in the Garden is amazing,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable experience that I can’t even explain. It’s just something you have to live through.”
With Obi’s name ringing throughout a packed Madison Square Garden, echoing down eighth avenue, following a corridor of buildings as far as the eye can see, the city felt vibrant with the coming of a new team…a new age.
“He’s confident,” Julius Randle said. “He’s just playing to his strengths. All of that is from repetition and work. I’ve seen him work every day, he works extremely hard. You continue Randall had nothing but great things to say about his young teammate, and fellow veteran Kemba walker also indicated that top and change the pace of the game and curated momentum shifting opportunities toto work in this league year after year, you’re going to get better.”
Randle had nothing but great things to say about his young teammate, and fellow veteran Kemba Walker also indicated that Toppin changed the pace of the game and curated momentum-shifting opportunities to demoralize Boston.
“Obi, I thought he changed the pace of the game,” new point guard Kemba Walker said. “He’s a very special talent. He can really run.”
Toppin finished the game with 14 points, one block, five rebounds, and shot 6-of-9 from the field over 28 minutes. While he missed all three of us three-point attempts, his big transition dunks provided a spark of motivation on offense.
If Obi continues to produce at this level and develop, the Knicks will see their 8th overall pick from 2020 reach his potential. Some were skeptical of his talents and how he’d make an impact, but with the right coaching and work ethic, anything is possible.