Coming off a strong second season, Obi Toppin could see even more playing time for the New York Knicks during the 2022-23 campaign.
Per SNY.tv's Ian Begley, members of the Knicks coaching staff think Toppin might play a bigger role for the team.
The Knicks used the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft to select Toppin. He played sparingly as a rookie when they were a surprise playoff team.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has been criticized at times in his career for not giving minutes to young players. He has shown a willingness to change during his time in New York, with players like Toppin, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley carving out roles for the team.
Toppin saw his playing time increase from 11.0 minutes per game in 2020-21 to 17.1 in 72 games last season. The 24-year-old made 10 total starts in 2021-22, including eight in the final 11 games. He averaged 19.1 points and 5.5 rebounds with a 44.1 three-point percentage on 5.4 attempts per game during that stretch.
New York made a significant financial commitment to Julius Randle prior to the start of last season. He signed a four-year, $117.1 million contract in August 2021 that kicks in this season.
After being named to the All-Star team in 2021, Randle disappointed in 2021-22. He led the team in scoring (20.1 points per game), but his field-goal percentage (41.1) was the worst of his career in a full season. (He shot 33.0 percent in one game as a rookie in 2014-15.)
If Randle's struggles carry over to this season, Toppin's strong closing stretch at least gives Thibodeau the option to increase his minutes if he doesn't want to move the more-experienced Randle to the bench.
This is shaping up to be an important season for the Knicks. They gave Jalen Brunson a four-year, $104 million contract in free agency, hoping he can provide a spark to the offense at point guard after his breakout year for the Dallas Mavericks.
New York's 41-31 record in 2020-21 is the franchise's only winning season since 2012-13. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Atlanta Hawks. The team missed the playoffs and play-in tournament last season with a 37-45 record.