Grading the Knicks’ NBA 2K22 Ratings: Are they accurate?

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With the release of NBA 2K22 last Friday, we finally have our first look at the 2021-22 New York Knicks roster in 2K. This also means that Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes are playable for the first time ever. Let’s dive into these ratings and see if 2K got it right.

The Ratings

Julius Randle, 87

Can’t really complain about this one. Coming off the best season of his career where he won Most Improved Player(MIP), Randle has earned his place among the top ratings in the Eastern Conference. He should probably be at an 88 or an 89, but his performance in last year’s playoffs definitely played a factor in this year’s rating.

Grade: B

RJ Barrett, 83

This one was really surprising. Not because of how he isn’t higher, but because 2K finally decided to show RJ some respect. 83 is honestly a really great jumping-off point this upcoming season for the 21-year-old. The rating isn’t too low or too high, it’s perfect.

Grade: A

Kemba Walker, 83

Unsurprisingly, this is the lowest rating Walker has had since NBA 2K16. The 5-time All-Star had one of the worst seasons of his career last year and looks to bounce back on his hometown team. His dynamic scoring and playmaking abilities could transform the Knicks’ offense, leading to a ratings boost down the line. However, whether it be from his knee issues or just a regression of his skills, there is also a chance 83 isn’t the lowest we see his rating throughout the year.

Grade: A-

Derrick Rose, 83

After a terrific playoff series against the Hawks last season, D-Rose earned this 83 rating. Although he’s tied for the 2nd highest rating on the team, the former MVP will be coming off the bench this season. Look for him to make a real run at 6th Man of the Year and for this rating to stay pretty much the same all season.

Grade: A

Mitchell Robinson, 80

There’s no question about it: When the 7’0 Robinson is healthy, there are not many other players in the league who can match his level of athleticism and energy. However, he’s coming off multiple injuries, the latter of which saw him miss the final 26 games of the regular season, including the series against the Hawks. If he’s able to stay healthy, there’s little-to-no chance that this rating stays the same. For now, it does make sense after not playing half of last season.

Grade: B+

Evan Fournier, 79

This is the first one that’s way off. 2k has had a tendency in the past to underrate guards/wings that can score in a multitude of ways. Any guard they perceive to not be able to defend well and not have playmaking abilities will have a hard time getting a rating over 80, especially if they play for the Knicks. This one just doesn’t make sense, though. It could be due to the fact that the devs may have been taking his stats with Boston into account too much. Before his trade to the Celtics, Fournier was putting up almost 20 PPG in only 30 minutes per game. Fournier is at least an 82, maybe even an 83. The intangibles he brings on offense, including his shooting and finishing skills, are better than any other 79 in the game. This rating isn’t accurate at all.

Grade: F

Immanuel Quickley, 78

As one of the biggest steals in the 2020 NBA Draft, Quickley improved his rating from a 71 last year all the way up to a 79 by the end of the year. This is why this rating doesn’t really do it for me. To drop down a point after an entire offseason doesn’t make much sense. We’ll see how it unfolds for the second year from Kentucky, but there’s little doubt that he improves enough to get this rating over 80 by the playoffs.

Side note, Quickley is REALLY good at NBA2K.

Grade: C

Nerlens Noel, 78

As the defensive anchor of the Knicks throughout the final stretch of last season that culminated in the team making the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, Noel proved that he wasn’t your average backup center. Defensively, Noel is an incredibly reliable option off the bench. However, his offensive woes will always hamper any rating he’ll ever get from 2K.

Grade: A-

Obi Toppin, 76

If it weren’t for the competency and confidence shown by Obi Toppin at the end of the season last year, there’s a chance he’s nowhere near the 76 that he finds himself right now. The potential is clearly there, but will he find the ability to become more offensively dynamic? Only time will tell. But until we see him take a big leap, the rating he currently holds will stay the same.

The Rest:

Taj Gibson, 76

Kevin Knox, 72

Quentin Grimes, 71

Luca Vildoza, 71

Dwayne Bacon, 71

Miles McBride, 70

Overall, the Knicks have a team rating of 83, which is the highest rating they’ve had since NBA 2K14.

Knicks News, 9/4: Watch Obi Toppin workout video, Kemba Walker hits Yankee Stadium

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

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.

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.

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.

Knicks: How Obi Toppin can make a big impact during the 2021-22 season

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The New York Knicks have completely overhauled their team with more talent, but they’ve also put some of their younger pieces in a position to fight for minutes, which is exactly how good teams operate. Handing out starting jobs due to a lack of talent is how poor teams remain at the bottom of the barrel, but the Knicks have enough quality to go around to keep their starters well-rested and prepared to take on a full 82-game regular season.

Last season, the Knicks spent the 8th overall pick on Obi Toppin, but he was never meant to replace Julius Randle at power forward. Toppin was a high-character developmental prospect who could offer solid athleticism and transition scoring off the bench.

However, during his rookie season, Toppin found himself stuck in limbo, averaging 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, and just 11 minutes per game. The 22-year-old made 62 appearances, shooting 50% from the field and 30% from three-point range. Overall, he was a non-factor for a team that surprised and locked down the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Toppin, though, spent the majority of his off-season working hard to improve, showcasing some of his growth during Summer League play. Averaging 35.1 minutes per game, Toppin produced 21 points, shooting 44.5% from the field and 34.3% from three-point range. He also connected on 89% of his free-throw attempts, tallying 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. Overall, Obi was one of the bright spots for the Knicks, who had a ton of positive takeaways from their Summer League roster.

Aside from his production, Toppin also spoke of the Knicks’ new additions, including Kemba Walker:

“Having Kemba come to the team is amazing,’’ Toppin said. “Great player. I’ve watched him as long as he’s been playing since he left UConn. Having an opportunity to play with him is going to be amazing.

“We have so many different weapons,’’ Toppin said. “We have him who can score, Derrick [Rose] who can score, Jules [Julius Randle], RJ [Barrett], Quick [Immanuel Quickley]. So many different people who can put the ball in the hoop. At the same time, our main focus is defense. Whatever we do on the defensive side will determine our offense.’’

With so many weapons, head coach Tom Thibodeau will have his work cut out for him, curating lineup combinations. Toppin simply needs to find his way into one of those combinations to mitigate fatigue for the starters. The bad news for Toppin is that Julius Randle rarely ever comes off the floor, averaging 37.6 minutes last season, playing in 71 total games.

If he continues to feature at such a high level without taking breaks, Toppin will have to prove his worth in other ways, potentially serving in a dual power forward combination. If he can improve his shooting, especially from range, Toppin could benefit from having another power forward on the floor to attract attention, opening up the pick-and-roll and baseline for dunks. It’s also possible the Knicks feature Randle as a small center, something he’s experienced in the past, which would open up the PF spot for Toppin.

Altogether, the former Dayton stand-out has shown tremendous growth this off-season, but the Summer League only proves so much. He needs to perform well during regular season play, but with a fantastic work ethic and confidence, Thibodeau will have a hard time keeping him on the bench.

Knicks: Obi Toppin soars high in Vegas with NBA All-Summer League First Team selection

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Obi Toppin made great strides in Las Vegas and it didn’t go unnoticed.

On Wednesday, the NBA named Toppin to the All-Summer League First Team.

The New York Knicks‘ sophomore forward led the tournament in playing time (35.1 minutes per game) — a thing that he didn’t enjoy during his rookie year as he played sporadically behind Knicks’ All-Star forward Julius Randle. The Knicks basically slot in Toppin to Randle’s usage rate in the regular season in the Summer League. Randle led the entire league in minutes (37.6) last season.

“Obi put in a lot of time over the summer. And it showed,” Knicks Summer League coach Daisuke “Dice” Yoshimoto said earlier in the tournament. “He’s gonna continue to get better, put time in, and the result will gonna take care of itself. This is his chance to showcase who he is. He’s gonna continue to put his time in, work hard, and build the right habits.”

The 23-year old Toppin grabbed the opportunity to show who he is leading the Knicks to a 4-2 record.

Toppin flourished with an expanded role as a rim runner, roll man, and pick and pop big man. He led the team in scoring (21.0) and rebounding (8.3) while hitting two threes on 34 percent shooting. He added 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals.

Toppin joined fellow sophomores Payton Pritchard (Boston), Jalen Smith (Phoenix) in the First Team. Rookies Trey Murphy III (New Orleans), Jalen Johnson (Atlanta), co-MVPs Davion Mitchell (Sacramento), and Cam Thomas (Brooklyn) rounded up the selection.

Ties in voting totals by the media panel between Mitchell and Pritchard (backcourt) and between Johnson, Smith, and Murphy III (frontcourt) resulted in two additional players selected (one backcourt, one frontcourt).

Meanwhile, the All-Summer League Second Team consists of this year’s top two picks Cade Cunningham (Detroit) and Jalen Green (Houston), alongside Detroit’s two-way rookie Luka Garza, last season’s G League MVP Paul Reed (Philadelphia), and sophomore Patrick Williams (Chicago).

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Obi Toppin says Knicks rookies are showing why they should play next season

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The New York Knicks have upgraded their roster via free agency while maintaining their depth to build on the momentum of their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Knicks went into the NBA Summer League with a primary focus on Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley’s development as leaders, and they are getting more than what they bargained.

Toppin and Quickley have been balling out in their first NBA Summer League after the event was scratched last year due to the pandemic. The Knicks’ sophomores have been included in The Athletic’s NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie’s ‘Too Good for Summer League Team,’ while their rookies have shown plenty of promise.

“It’s been great being out there with those guys, leading those guys, and pushing those guys. Everybody on that team has a heart and loves the hustle. When you’re playing with a bunch of dogs, then your team is fun,” Toppin said after the Knicks chalked up their third win in five Summer League games last Saturday.

In a true Tom Thibodeau fashion, Toppin (36.5 minutes) and Quickley (34.5 minutes) lead the NBA Summer League in playing time. Knicks Summer League coach Daisuke “Dice” Yoshimoto has referred to them as leaders of this team.

Toppin has been productive, averaging 23.0 points (no. 4 in scoring), 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the floor and making 2.2 3s per game.

“Obi put in a lot of time over the summer. And it showed. He’s gonna continue to get better, put time in, and the result will gonna take care of itself,” Yoshimoto said. “This is his chance to showcase who he is. He’s gonna continue to put his time in, work hard, and build the right habits.”

The biggest takeaway here is Toppin can produce when used right. Toppin was able to show his potential as a rim runner, roll man, and pick and pop big man as opposed to his ill-fitted role last season as a floor-spacing big man just waiting in the corner.

On the other hand, Quickley, despite his shaky shooting (38 percent overall, 25 percent from 3) in Las Vegas, has made great strides as a lead guard with his 8.0 assists ranking third behind traditional point guards — Atlanta rookie Sharife Cooper (9.0) and Boston’s sophomore Payton Pritchard (8.7). Quickley also averages 21.8 points (no. 7) to go with 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Their rookies Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, and their pick-and-stash Rokas Jokubaitis, who left for Spain, have followed their lead.

“All those guys are doing great. Quick (Quickley) has been doing a great job with Deuce (McBride) and Quentin (Grimes). Jericho (Sims) has been doing a great job listening to all of us and doing his part. Every rookie on [our] team is doing good, and they’re showing Thibs why they should be on the court next season,” Toppin said.

Heeding the advice of Allan Houston and Penny Hardaway, Grimes finally looked like the 3-and-D guy the Knicks have drafted in their last two games, scoring 15 and 28 points, after groping for form in his first three games.

McBride has been stellar running the point in Quickley’s absence (due to a sore groin) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McBride scored a personal Summer League-best 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting and handed out five assists while playing solid defense (four rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot).

Through five games, McBride, the 36th pick overall, is averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 steals with a 50/46/88 shooting split.

Sims has made his first 10 field goals and is leading the Summer League in field goal percentage (88.2 percent) among players who have played at least three games and attempted at least four field goals per game. In four games, Sims has put up 8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks.

“They are gonna continue to put their time in and get better. Let’s see where they are at training camp,” Yoshimoto said.

Toppin attributed their great on-court chemistry to the culture they had been building in New York since Thibodeau’s arrival last year.

“I feel like just the brotherhood we’ve built. Everybody on our team is very close. We hang out with each other every single day. And we love to compete. Every time we step on that floor, we give it our 110 percent every game, and we’ve got to continue doing that for the season,” Toppin said.

The Knicks will close out their Summer League play against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. Monday. Toppin and the Knicks are raring to come out with a bang.

“I think one thing we need to focus on is just lock in defensively — having our best defensive game and just having fun out there,” Toppin said. “So, it’s gonna be our last Summer League game, and we need to make a statement going into the new season.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks’ Obi Toppin displays best performance of Summer League in loss to Pistons

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The New York Knicks are experiencing a different version of Obi Toppin during this year’s Summer League competition. At 23-years-old, the Brooklyn native struggled to get going during the 2020-21 season, averaging 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, and shot 50% from the field over 11 minutes per game.

Having played in just 62 contests but starting in zero, Toppin was lessened by the emergence of Julius Randle, who played in every game and earned himself an All-Star appearance.

Toppin has been lighting up the Summer League, posting an amazing performance against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Over 37 minutes, Toppin connected on 13 field goals on 20 attempts, earning a 65% field-goal percentage. From three, he connected on 2-of-5 shots, logging a 40% success rate. He also contributed nine rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. He didn’t turn the ball over once, finishing with 31 points. Despite the loss, Toppin had himself a stellar contest, leading the team in scoring, steals, and rebounds.

After a campaign that saw Toppin’s impact fizzle, he’s bouncing back with a strong summer performance, indicating growth at this off-season. The Knicks are hoping they can get him more involved this upcoming year, but with Randle maintaining his health, it will be difficult for him to get on the floor.

Ideally, New York can score enough points to rest some of the more prominent players, allowing options like Obi to pick up minutes and continue developing.

Over four games, Toppin is averaging 23.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and shooting 47.4% from the field. This most recent outing undoubtedly boosted his stats significantly, but he is trending in the right direction, which is exactly what the Knicks needed to see after his quiet rookie season.

Toppin raved about the addition of PG Kemba Walker recently, stating he would be a huge help offensively this upcoming season.

“We have so many different weapons,’’ Toppin said. “We have him who can score, Derrick [Rose] who can score, Jules [Julius Randle], RJ [Barrett], Quick [Immanuel Quickley]. So many different people who can put the ball in the hoop. At the same time, our main focus is defense. Whatever we do on the defensive side will determine our offense.’’

This is the deepest the Knicks have been in quite some time, offering plenty of talent off the bench to help mitigate fatigue and spur success. If Toppin can roll over his Summer League performance into the regular season, management will be ecstatic about his growth.

Knicks’ Obi Toppin raves about Kemba Walker and the impact he will make

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One of the Knicks’ biggest acquisitions this summer has been point guard Kemba Walker. The 2020-21 season was littered with inadequate point guard play, but the Knicks added a few reliable options who can elevate the roster.

Pairing Kemba with Derrick Rose should offer the team a great combination. Neither are capable of being relied on for an entire season, but creating a balancing act that helps mitigate fatigue and injury is how management will likely strategize the position. In addition, they also have Immanuel Quickley, who has been playing PG during the Summer League, and rookie Miles McBride, who had a stellar performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

McBride finished with 22 points, shooting 78% from the field and hitting all sox 3-PT attempts. He also picked up five assists and seven rebounds, showcasing his athleticism and quality defense.

Another youngster who has performed well is Obi Toppin. The Dayton product is averaging 36.1 minutes per game in Las Vegas, posting 21 points per, shooting 41.4% from the field. Logging 9.3 rebounds per contest, Toppin has a +/- of 4.

Along with Quickley, Toppin is experiencing solid growth and progress, but he also indicated the impact Kemba will have on the team next season, hopefully elevating the team.

“Having Kemba come to the team is amazing,’’ Toppin said, per Marc Berman of the NY Post. “Great player. I’ve watched him as long as he’s been playing since he left UConn. Having an opportunity to play with him is going to be amazing.”

The Knicks now have a roster filled with talent and depth. Quickley, who is averaging 24 points per game during Summer League play, will optimally come off the bench. They also have Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and rookies Quentin Grimes, Jericho Sims, and Rokas Jokubaitis.

“We have so many different weapons,’’ Toppin said. “We have him who can score, Derrick [Rose] who can score, Jules [Julius Randle], RJ [Barrett], Quick [Immanuel Quickley]. So many different people who can put the ball in the hoop. At the same time, our main focus is defense. Whatever we do on the defensive side will determine our offense.’’

For a team that secured the 4th Seed in the Eastern Conference with weaknesses at multiple positions, a fantastic head coach like Tom Thibodeau and players to help mitigate fatigue during a long season will hopefully contribute toward an even more successful year. Adding Evan Fournier and Walker provides plenty of additional scoring prowess, and with RJ Barrett expected to take a step forward, the sky is the limit for this young Knicks team.

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

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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.

Too Quick, Too Hot: Quickley lifts Knicks past Pacers in NBA Summer League

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After a jittery start to his first NBA Summer League, Immanuel Quickley got the perfect advice from New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Just be yourself,” Quickley revealed.

And he looked like the Quickley that the Knicks have stolen with the 25th pick in last year’s NBA draft and was named to the All-Rookie NBA Team.

After a brutal 5-for-17 shooting in the Knicks’ 89-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday, Quickley bounced back strong with a game-high 32 points built around 11-of-21 field goals.

He was perfect six-for-six from the line and added eight assists against a single turnover. The guard out of Kentucky also had two steals in a solid game on both ends of the floor.

“Last game, I was kinda trying to find my way and get everybody involved,” Quickley said. “In this game, I’m kinda trying to do both but just a little bit more aggressive, help my teammates and be more of a leader.”

Quickley did much of the damage in the second half, dropping 23 points and six assists where the Knicks outscored the Pacers by 11 points.

Obi Toppin, who fed off Quickley’s point guard play, had another strong outing with 22 points and nine rebounds but had five turnovers.

Toppin started the game aggressively but a little bit out of control. He committed four of the Knicks’ 10 turnovers in the first quarter and missed three baskets around the rim, including a flubbed dunk in his first attempt. But once he got settled and played in the flow of things, the sophomore forward was a wrecking ball.

Two days after the Knicks lost to Atlanta Hawks in the first round, Quickley and Toppin were reportedly back in the gym.

“That’s what the Knicks culture is — working hard, enjoying the work, and getting better,” Quickley said. “We’re really excited for the Summer League team. We’re really excited for the next season. We just want to continue to get better and take the steps to move forward.”

The Knicks have prioritized getting Quickley more reps as a point guard in his first Summer League play. So far, the 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio had been impressive. He said he’s looking forward to soaking in more lessons from Derrick Rose and the newly acquired Kemba Walker.

Meanwhile, fan-favorite Jericho Sims stayed perfect in the NBA Summer League with an eight-point, nine-rebound effort. He was 4-for-4 from the field after going 6-for-6 in his debut. Sims, who signed a two-way deal reportedly for two years per Keith Smith of Spotrac, has been a revelation.

“He played phenomenal running the floor and catching lobs in traffic,” freelance NBA scout Tony Coleman told Empire Sports Media. “He’s playing solid defense on the other side of the ball. He’s definitely a steal in my humble opinion.”

Coleman is in Las Vegas for his scouting trip.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian guard Rokas Jokubaitis, the Knicks’ 36th pick, finally made his Knicks debut contributing three points and one assist in nine minutes.

Jokubaitis, a healthy DNP in the Knicks’ first game, was given more run this time than Luca Vildoza. Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yoshimoto even experimented with a three-guard lineup featuring Jokubaitis, Miles McBride, and Vildoza, who went scoreless in four minutes but managed to grab a rebound and one steal.

The Knicks’ first-round pick, Quentin Grimes, had another rough shooting game with six points on 2-for-10 shooting in almost 35 minutes. Matched against NBA Draft Day target Chris Duarte, Grimes committed five fouls. Duarte had a solid debut filling up the stats sheet with 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two shot blocks. The 24-year old Duarte played with so much poise and shot 4-of-8 from the field, including 3-for-7 from deep.

The Knicks’ other second-round pick, McBride, put an exclamation point to their win and his impressive game with a dunk.

With Thibodeau in attendance, McBride showed the toughness and tenacity that made the Knicks coach fall in love with his game. He scattered 14 points (5-of-7 from the field), three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

On Wednesday, the Knicks will return to action against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 pm ET on ESPN2.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo 

How can Knicks’ Obi Toppin take his game to the next level? | Solid Summer League performance brews optimism

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

When the New York Knicks drafted Obi Toppin 8th overall out of Dayton last year, they knew they were getting a player with a relentless mentality toward improvement. Toppin had an underwhelming rookie campaign last season, despite the Knicks landing the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Over 62 games, Toppin averaged 11 minutes on the floor, posting 4.1 points and 2.2 rebounds. He shot 50% from the field and 30% from range, showing issues on both sides of his game. He was a defensive liability at times, and his failure to make an impact on offense stood out. However, he looked far more comfortable during the postseason, ironically. In Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks, he shot 62% from the field, scoring 13 points.

Toppin thrives in transition, and the Knicks simply didn’t have the point guard to help him in that category. Derrick Rose doesn’t have the legs anymore to continuously get down the court fast enough, and Elfrid Payton was a liability in almost every way.

If Toppin wants to take his game to the next level, the Knicks need to play to his strengths. During the team’s first Summer League game of the year, Toppin recorded 24 points over 37 minutes of play. He shot 10-of-21 from the field and 2-of-10 from downtown. He was a menace around the rim, finishing with ease and showcasing some of his exciting athleticism that lead the Knicks to select him in the lottery last year.

While Toppin’s impact during the regular season didn’t live up to expectations, he’s confident the team is going to take a big step forward this upcoming year.

Earlier this off-season, Toppin stated, “the work that, not only myself, but the other guys is putting in… We are going to make it far in the playoffs next year.”

Adding Evan Fournier to replace Reggie Bullock and Kemba Walker to replace Payton, the team has a lot more offensive weaponry to work with. Their acquisitions should open things up for Toppin, as defenses simply hyper-focused on Julius Randle and crowded the rim. With better shooters on the perimeter, defenders will have to spread the floor, which will open up the transition game, and pick-and-rolls for Toppin, who will benefit from an entire year with good point guard play.