Knicks Rumors: Julius Randle, Obi Toppin Frontcourt 'Considered Unappealing' to NYK

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2022

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The New York Knicks reportedly find building around a frontcourt of Julius Randle and Obi Toppin "unappealing" as they seek to add the latter to Donovan Mitchell trade packages.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Knicks management feels it'll struggle to find the "right roster equilibrium" with Randle and Toppin both serving as power forwards who can't play the 5.

Of course, this is an issue of the Knicks' own making. Toppin never projected as anything other than a 4 coming out of Dayton, and the Knicks already had Randle—a player who has struggled his entire career to defend 5s when asked—on their roster.

Former general manager Scott Perry could have targeted a point guard like Tyrese Haliburton or a more versatile big man in Jalen Smith with the No. 8 pick two years ago but instead chose a largely redundant player in Toppin.

It's been an up-and-down first two seasons for Toppin, who struggled mightily as a rookie before showing potential as a role player in 2021-22. He averaged 9.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. The Knicks outscored their opponents by 7.1 points per 100 possessions when Toppin was on the floor last season, and he had an excellent plus-9.9 net rating.

Even if Toppin is ultimately a high-level role player, there's a level of positive energy he brings that helped prop up bench units. Building around him and Randle is untenable because neither are plus defenders, but it's not clear if Toppin is meant to be a long-term NBA starter anyway. It would not be the worst outcome to have consistent production for 48 minutes from the 4 spot.

That said, Knicks president Leon Rose has seemingly prioritized retaining Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley in trade talks as they look to make a blockbuster move for Mitchell.


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