Knicks Notes: Toppin, Knox, Houston, Robinson

While 25th overall pick Immanuel Quickley has shown signs he could be the Knicks’ answer at point guard, lottery pick Obi Toppin has gotten off to a surprisingly slow start to his NBA career, Mike Vornukov of The Athletic writes. The No. 8 pick is averaging 12.0 MPG after coming into the draft with the reputation as the most NBA-ready player in his class, Vornukov points out. Part of the problem is he’s been used as a big wing, rather than as a rim runner and pick-and-roll threat, Vornukov adds.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Kevin Knox vows to stay positive despite the fact he’s fallen out of the rotation, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. “I’m going to continue to be ready, because anything can happen, at any moment, any given time,” Knox said. “So I want to make sure that I’m ready. I’ll continue to get my reps up, continue to shoot the ball well, focus a lot on defense, watch a lot of film, so when they do call my number and my time does come, I’m ready.”
  • Allan Houston’s new front office title is Vice President, Player Leadership & Development, Ian Begley of SNY tweets. Last season, Houston was GM for the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. He was also a former assistant GM in the organization. Pops Mensah-Bonsu is now Director of Minor League Operations, Begley adds.
  • Center Mitchell Robinson reminds coach Tom Thibodeau of a young Joakim Noah, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “(Noah) started off as a defensive player, an energy guy, a guy who ran the floor well,” Thibodeau said. “He was an excellent passer, decision maker, very good with dribble handoffs and I think that’s a part of Mitch’s game that can grow. And so we’ll challenge him in that way.”
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31 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Toppin, Knox, Houston, Robinson

  1. Too bad Knox doesn’t start ready when he’s actually in the game. As for Obi, he needs minutes. Thibs wants to show progress and success with Randle, but now is maybe the time we move Randle in a deal so they can unleash Obi One.

    • hiflew

      I dunno. I think with the step forward Randle has taken, he would a be a good building block. He is still only 26. Trading him and going with Toppin is a big gamble. Yes Toppin was the #8 pick, but so was Ntikilina. #8 is not exactly a guarantee. Perhaps trading Toppin while his prospect value is still high in a package for a star would be a better bet.

      Something like

      Knicks get
      Zach LaVine

      Bulls get
      Obi Toppin
      Kevin Knox
      Frank Ntikilina
      NYK 2021 1st round pick (top 10 protected)
      DET 2021 2nd round pick

      I think a IQ, LaVine, Barrett, Randle, Robinson lineup could be at least good enough to get to the conference semis. Which for the Knicks would be a big step forward win. For the Bulls, it would give them a mid teens 1st rounder along with a very high 2nd round pick which are always valuable. Plus there is still potential among all three of the players. Time might be running out for two of them, but they are still recent top 10 picks. So the talent is there, maybe they just need a change of scenery.

        • hiflew

          That’s as much as I would pay. If the price is higher, I would shop elsewhere. We are talking about Zach LaVine here. The man has not played in the postseason at all in his career. He is mainly just hype from the dunk contest thus far.

      • buttholesurfer69

        Agree on Randle, think we need to wait and see on him

        And it does put the front office in a bit of a quagmire w/ Toppin though. I think he’s already 22-23, so ideally you want to give him run ASAP

        Yet even in a backup role he should be getting more than 12mpg

        Having said that I wouldn’t want to invest in a Randle-LaVine led squad. Neither plays D, both are in that mid-tier of All Star but not Superstar

        Knicks are in a good spot to wait and see right now

      • It’s a nice lineup, but I wouldn’t want to move any picks from the upcoming draft, especially when they have two. Moving Randle for one or more #1s gets them more. His contract is very attractive at 18M with an option for next year as well. 3-4 #1s and they’ve got some serious youth and depth, or ability to move up in the draft if they’d like. And while LaVine can ball, the price tag he brings and cost in picks he’d require would set the Knicks back when they could go out and sign a free agent or two. Oladipo for example, who would probably be a preference for Thibs because of his D.

        Interesting times for the Knicks.

        • hiflew

          I disagree. I think trading Randle for picks feels like a step back for a team that FINALLY seems to be moving forward. If they can maintain their record, their own pick next year is likely going to be no better than 16 or 17. That’s not a huge risk to trade because a pick like that could be easily acquired on draft day if there was someone the Knicks loved. Plus, they still have the Dallas pick. Oladipo seems like a good fit also, but Houston is playing better and might not trade him. I just feel like Knick fans deserve a playoff push, even a small one, this year even if it means using some of the future draft capital now.

    • x%sure

      Feb.6 is when a lot more players than before are eligible to be traded, so things might loosen up. (post does not apply to hiflew^.)

      I always said, Knox needs to get into coming hard around screens for shots to be effective. Here I see he’s in the same article with Allan Houston, I presume that Allan Houston who did that and got promoted to “leadership VP”, and Obi Toppin, who could be setting them. Probably Randle & Robinson are less willing or able to do that comfortably. Wing screens are harder to time up.

    • Cap & Crunch

      I agree, its not that Randle is bad its just his best value to the team is to get a younger/cheaper/more controlled asset for their time arc right now

      Always be weary of usage based stats, they still look pretty to our eyes even if we know what they are doing while they are doing it.

      Id like to see them get a young controlled player with upside (whoes maybe just blocked or trading team just has more immediate need for Randle today) rather than get picks- They have plenty of picks already

  2. yankees28

    I’m convinced tibbs told Barrett first 20 something games shoot anything get used to being a playmaker and then later on we will work on % and Takeuchi only the good shots

  3. Luckylefty2

    Obi toppin is literally a poor mans Aaron Gordon. Funny how the “experts” tried to compare him to amare.

    • Sillivan

      Toppin will be a superstar only if
      Knicks trade away RJ and Randle

      Toppin is an offensive power only if he has 20 field goals a game

  4. munlou

    Again Randle is only 26 and a possible all star this year the improvement the Knicks have showed this season has a lot to do with his improvement and leadership stop talking about trading him and hope that youngsters follow his example and keep improving just watch the game’s and see how he makes the Knicks better

  5. I love that Thibs got Gibson back and is trying to turn Mitch into Noah! What’s next? Get Rose back? Reanimate Kirk Hinrich? Tell Boozer to Sharpie his hairline and get ready for the call?
    I like his loyalty to his players.

    • mlbnyyfan

      Can Toppin and Randle play on the court together? Could they have a front court of Obi, Randle and Mitch?

      • Cap & Crunch

        Imo No today , 05 maybe, 95 status quo

        You would need prime Reggie Miller and Isiah Thomas today to make that lineup work- NYK is almost starting from scratch, just dish Randle, makes all too much sense

      • buttholesurfer69

        Prob not but he could log 24-28m backing up both Randle and Mitch

        Sh*t let him be the small ball 5 for 5 minutes a night – it’s not like the team is contending anyway

      • Walladipo and Wood

        That’s the Chicago way. Or now it’s the New York way for Thibs.

  6. Knicks aren’t giving up on Toppin, or selling low on him, nor should they. I didn’t want to draft him at #8 (vs other players then available) in large part because of his lack of position flexibility. I never imagined Randle could clean up his game to the point of warranting the role and minutes he’s getting. But I did know that rebuilding teams, with fluctuating rosters, need flexibility.

    In any event, Toppin’s here. He’s an elite athlete with a great offensive skill set. He’s going to turn 23 next month. We need a plan to find out about him over the next 1.5 years. That starts with getting him on the court in his best role NOW, if only to see where he’s at now. If that can’t be done with the Knicks, then it has to be done in the G-league. They can’t just sit around with their historical wait and pray attitude on him. He’s not 19-20, and it didn’t work on guys who were.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    It’s been nothing but critical the past yrs. 20 gms in with new coach and already we want to find the fault. That’s the media we deal with. Knicks are one of youngest teams in NBA. They have 4 picks in next draft. We should only care about progress and establishing a core. 20 gms in is not a basis for anything. Obi1 is playing 12 mins, inconsistent mins. What excatly do you expect from a rookie with no preseason. What do you think you get when. Randle who plays his position is having a career Year (36.7 mins). We should all be overjoyed and jumping to the heavens. That Obi1 is pushing Randle to do this. Thank you very much and it’s about time. Randles value will never be better. He’ll be gone soon IMO. It’s the right move. Obi1 is more a system 4. And fits and mixes better with RJ. Randle will bring back excellent value. Like Morris last yr brought in Quickly this yr. If you watched the Bulls gms. You saw when we get PG play. We usually win. Knicks are 8-2 when Payton scores 10 and plays well. Quickly is a great pickup. But we need more a traditional PG who can score. (David Duke). There is no rush to rebuilding its 20 gms people. We’ve been terrible for yrs. So now we are going to blow this up, please. Mitch is better than Noah, potentially. Cause he’s a true rim protector. Who with a real PG avgs easy 16 a gm. Knicks have the TD, we have FA coming, we have 2021 draft coming. Thibs builds this young core now (7-9 players). With our three big options I just laid out. We are a playoff team with a big future next yr. A Big Future
    You don’t mess with that. Plus we have two #1 picks in 2022. The media has worked against us for too many yrs. And our owner unfortunately buys the hype. It’s why this rebuild is so important to see thru.
    In Thibs we Trust …..

    • KnickerbockerAl

      PG play …. imagine Knicks or Bulls with Halliburton

      Bulls vs Knicks gm1. Bulls 110 – 102
      Payton – 17.41 mins, 5 pts, 2 reb, 2 tov
      Quickly – 30.19 mins, 16 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast, 1 Tov

      Bulls vs Knicks gm2. Knicks 107 – 103
      Payton – 34.42 mins, 20 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 1 Tov
      Quickly – 13.17 mins, 9 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 2 Tov

      I was the biggest Halliburton guy on this board. Still big on him. But I do not pass on Obi1. He will be special.
      Just want to add that P Williams is young but he looks like he has big upside too. Looking back now If I’m Bulls I take Halliburton.

  8. Sensitive Fanboy

    Obi is gonna have a hard time getting PF minutes when Randle is playing out of his mind. He really should be gettimg more though. Just to see what he can do.

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Randles value will never be better. If we can use him in three way for Oladipo or Lavine or a PG, SF. It’s major and we can keep building. Toppin is the future. Don’t get confused by 12 mins a gm. Rookies didn’t have preseason or camp this yr. I would even trade Randle for Morris. He can be our vet and leader at SF.
    Point is Randles value is sky high. Sell sell sell
    Randle n Payton >>for<< Morris n Williams.

    • Sensitive Fanboy

      With the Wood injury, that did not look good, Randle might be a feasible option?

      Oladipo for Randle, Dal 1st. Maybe throw in Knox, DSJ, or Nkilitina?

      • buttholesurfer69

        Maybe Knox, Nkilitina, and DSJ for Oladipo – Houston can have all three!

        But Randle is better than Oladipo this year. So I wouldn’t give the Dallas pick (which could be lotto) in addition. If anything I’d be asking for picks from Houston

        Plus VO is a free agent this summer and it seems like he wants to go to Miami

  10. Darkknicks#1fan

    You don’t trade your best player-Randle, for a back up-Toppin on the basis on what he could be. Obi needs to recover from his injury and he needs more confidence. I wish I knew why Knox stopped defending and going hard towards the hoop. The Knicks never had real player development til now. Let the players develop. The team needs 3 players, a premier point guard, a center, wide and tall body, a wide body power forward. We need to work with what we have and let the team learn how to play with each other— a core that is together at least 3-4 years and stop overhauling 8-9 players every year. We are getting better, time, patience and the core of the team in tact with players who are showing improvement. The next 2 years in the playoffs. If we make it this year which is possible, great!! The cream of the crop teams will be getting better now learning from their mistakes, tightening up their games. Beating the teams they’re supposed to. Our team looks like they’re still figuring it out. It’s going to take 9 players in double figures, defense and energy, over 25 team assists every game, the entire game from here on out!!! Can they do this, still remains to be seen. Just as long as we are working to get close to these goals is good enough for me. I predicted the Knicks win 33 plus games… is definitely a winning season in my book. Go Knicks!!!

  11. MadDogNoGood

    The Knicks should not trade for Oladipo, he’ll be a free agent after this season. Thibs needs to cut back minutes on Randle and RJ so he doesn’t burn them out. Payton and Bullocks don’t serve a purpose and should be released or traded. Knox and Frank should be playing their minutes so they can develop or be shopped for a trade.

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