As much as we enjoyed hearing from the Austin Rivers of the world Wednesday — seriously, he’s a great interview! — Thursday’s post-practice interview sessions were more exciting due to the presence of rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.
Toppin praised head coach Tom Thibodeau, whom he believes will improves his defense.
Obi Toppin thinks Tom Thibodeau will do wonders for his defensive progression:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 3, 2020
"He's gonna make sure that I'm good at defense" pic.twitter.com/DxM03m5jVs
Toppin is known as an athletic freak (on one side of the court), and he has been putting in the work to improve that athleticism.
Obi Toppin asked about what the Knicks' highest score for their conditioning test was.— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 3, 2020
He then went out and beat it. pic.twitter.com/0ayWt5DEGF
SNY’s Ian Begley backs up Toppin’s claim that he topped a few franchise marks for conditioning:
Toppin is just days into his NBA career, but it’s worth noting that his conditioning and athleticism has impressed some people at early workouts.
One observer said Toppin has performed at franchise-record levels in some agility, conditioning and athleticism drills/measurements.
A cynic might scoff at the notion of Knicks conditioning programs under previous regimes, but these ‘Bockers employ assistant coach Kenny Payne, who is legendary for his tough conditioning program at Kentucky. Toppin has been working with the resident big-man whisperer.
Obi Toppin says he's been working with Knicks assistant coach Kenny Payne a lot lately on conditioning to prepare for full team training camp.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 3, 2020
Former Jazz coach Johnnie Bryant was also a big get by the Knicks coaching staff. He helped convince shooting guard Alec Burks to sign with New York.
In terms of role models, Quickley looked to a former Knick, Carmelo Anthony. Melo is from Baltimore, and Quickley grew up in nearby Harford County.
Immanuel Quickley spent time with Carmelo Anthony pre-draft:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 3, 2020
"It was really good to have him in my corner" pic.twitter.com/byrmhg1EAJ
Quickley compares himself to some quality guards.
Immanuel Quickley models his game after CJ McCollum and Lou Williams: pic.twitter.com/ZaXVXk9ESo— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 3, 2020
And finally, we have third-year man Kevin Knox.
Kevin Knox says he’s expecting a ‘huge’ season for himself, feels good coming into the year after his offseason work. Knox said Tom Thibodeau told his players all summer to come into the season in shape & Knox feels like he’s well conditioned entering camp.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 3, 2020
I’m a firm believer of “Knox actually made some decent strides last season despite his shooting woes” camp, so it’s nice to see a focused confident Knox. The Knicks are a bit thin at the forward position, so they could really use him.
Most of the roster has spoken already — we’re missing Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ignas Brazdeikis, Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock and a few other bros.