The New York Knicks lost to the Toronto Raptors in their Summer League opener by a score of 89-79. The Raptors hit many threes, and the Knicks missed many threes (7-40)—that about sums up the game for you.
Since this is Summer League, and the wins and losses are basically meaningless, let’s get right to the individual notes, shall we?
- Obi Toppin is an awkward fit on the regular-season Knicks roster. He backs up Julius Randle, who plays almost all the time. He does his best work in transition, but plays with guards who hate to push the pace.
That is not a problem in Summer League, where he is a starter playing with a ton of youngsters who love to get out and run. This is the perfect opportunity for Obi to get out there and show what he can do.
And show off Obi did. The big man led all scorers with 24 points. He was quick and decisive with his moves, which is essential for Obi’s success. I thought he was especially potent in the fourth, posting up a smaller Raptor on one possession and then going to the face-up game to blow by a Toronto big. He shot poorly from beyond the arc (2-10), but so did every other Knick. Let’s see more of that inside game, Obi!
- The big revelation this afternoon was the play of rookie Jericho Sims. The No. 58 pick played like a stud, with 12 points (6-6 shooting), 8 rebounds and a block. We knew the kid was an athletic freak, but Sims showed off a surprisingly well-rounded game, hitting a hook shot and a floater in traffic. He sets screens like a tank, which is something most veteran Knick centers struggle to do. Oh, and the crazy athleticism was still on display in the form of a couple of absurd dunks off lobs from Immanuel Quickley. I know centers aren’t highly valued these days, but how did this kid nearly go undrafted? It’s only Summer League, but as P&T’er NeedForShved said, he looks like he could be something.
- Immanuel Quickley struggled immensely with the normal IQ parts of his game. He shot 2-11 from three, with many of those misses coming on ridiculous attempts from far beyond the arc. Can he hit those? Yes. But we don’t need like 7-8 heat checks per game. He tried a little too much of his foul-baiting bullshit, and the refs were not calling it. Maybe the crackdown is really happening this season. Anyway, it was rough to watch. He was thoroughly outplayed by fellow 2020 draft pick Malachi Flynn.
When he actually settled down and focused on dishing the rock, however, IQ wasn’t half-bad. He had three sweet dishes to Sims for dunks, and his drive-and-kick game looked swell in the second half. If the Knicks could hit any shots at all, IQ would have had 11-13 assists. Here’s hoping he calms down a bit and plays more under control with his shooting.
- Quentin Grimes really took that “potential NBA 3-and-D player” post-draft label to heart—8 of his 11 FGAs came from beyond the arc. He hit 3, which led the team on this day. His defense did indeed look compelling, even though he was often matched up on No. 4 overall pick—and much larger human—Scottie Barnes.
- Miles McBride is truly a disruptor on defense. His hands are everywhere. That activeness can burn him on occasion, but generally I thought he played a fine game defensively. On offense, he struggled to finish at the rim—a weakness for him in college—and from beyond the arc. We didn’t get to see much of his PG skills, as Quickley was usually the initiator on offense.
- Luca Vildoza just got off the plane from Tokyo, so I’m not judging him yet.
The Knicks turn right around and play again Monday at 2 PM EST against the Pacers. Maybe young Rokas Jokubaitis, who didn’t play in this game, will get some burn.