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Obi Toppin is reportedly frustrated with his role on the Knicks, could be a name to watch in trades

Better for both him and the team to part ways unfortunately

NBA: New York Knicks at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

It was pretty much the worst kept secret in New York, but yesterday, it was confirmed that Obi Toppin was indeed frustrated at times with his role on the Knicks. And Toppin had every right to be. Since being drafted by the Knicks with the eighth pick in 2019, the high flying big never really god a fair shot at developing or showcasing what he is capable of. In 201 career games, Toppin is averaging just 14.6MPG, has started just 15 games, and has played more than 30 minutes just 10 times. And the worst part is, the few times he’s gotten an opportunity to play a larger role, he’s shined. In the six games where he’s played 30-39 minutes, he’s averaging 24.7PPG, 5.8RPG and 2.8APG on 57.7% shooting from the field, 46.7% from three, and a perfect 15-15 from the free throw line. And in the four games where he’s played 40+ minutes, he’s averaging 28PPG, 6RPG, and 4.5APG on 57.7% shooting from the field, 41.2% from three, and 84.2% from the free throw line.

Toppin obviously still has his flaws. He’s an inconsistent defender who still makes mental mistakes, he’s a very streaky shooter who can knock down four threes in a game but also airball back to back threes, and his ability to get his own shot is still not really there. And he had a down year last season. But he likely wasn’t asking to start or consistently play 30+ minutes a game. That just isn’t really plausible when he’s playing behind Julius Randle, who has been an All-Star two of the last three season. But Toppin, given how much he’s talked about loving the city, the team, and his teammates, likely just wanted to get around 20-25MPG, especially when Randle was struggling (which happened a lot two seasons ago), to allow him to develop and have the confidence to work on some of the aforementioned weaknesses.

It’s gotten to the point where many would agree that the organization’s handling of Toppin’s development has been poor to say the least. It’s one thing to have a lottery pick end up being a bust after being given ample opportunities, but never giving that lottery pick a chance a fair shot to even showcase what he is and what he is capable of being is just inexcusable. Toppin, who many believe is a name to watch on the trade market, could very likely have played his last game as a Knick and there’s a good chance that the team and the fans never got to see what his ceiling is and that’s just poor asset management. Sure World Wide Wes, who is known to be a big fan of his could convince the team to keep him, and if Randle were to be traded, Toppin would slot in nicely. But right now it’s hard to not root for Toppin to be traded and for him to do well elsewhere.