Carmelo Anthony calls Knicks' Obi Toppin 'impressive,' says New York 'needed him'

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Ryan Morik
·2 min read
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Obi Toppin looks to shoot against the Pacers
Obi Toppin looks to shoot against the Pacers

The Knicks had two first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft — their latter selection in Immanuel Quickley has stolen the spotlight from Obi Toppin, the eighth overall pick in the draft.

The Dayton product and Brooklyn native has played in 13 games this year. He missed 10 games right after his professional debut with a calf strain and is averaging 4.3 points per game in 11 minutes on average.

But former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony thinks the 22-year-old is "impressive."

"Once I knew [the Knicks] was gonna be in that top picks, this was a place I feel like needed him - meaning New York," said Anthony. "Great situation for him, hometown guy, but also just the way that he play[s] and what he brings to the game. Once he starts to fully develop, I think the city will be happy."

Toppin's head coach agrees.

"There's a lot of good things that he's doing each day, but I think the first time through, it's a challenge for every rookie," said Tom Thibodeau. "The second time through will be better. The third time, hopefully better after that. And he's making good steady progress. He's had some really good sequences. Obviously there's some sequences where he's still learning, and he'll get better at it, but his approach has been terrific."

A four-year player in school with no summer league, it's been a tough adjustment for most rookies, not just Toppin.

"You're coming into a new league that has different rules. You have a skillset of all the players in the league that is a lot different than college," said Thibodeau. "The lane is different, the rules are different. Then he has to get to know system he's in. He has to get to know all the players in the league and the systems that he's going against."

Toppin and Anthony will face off on Saturday afternoon at the Garden.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Sacramento
+155+4O 237.5
Portland
-189-4U 237.5