Obi Toppin excited ahead of Knicks first preseason game: 'I've been training for this moment for a very long time'

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Obi Toppin during Zoom conference call
Obi Toppin during Zoom conference call

The Knicks head to Detroit Friday night to face the Pistons and tipoff preseason play, in what will be their first time taking an NBA court since March.

Additionally, this will mark the first time 2020 No. 8 overall pick Obi Toppin takes the court against NBA players, something he's been very much looking forward to.

"I've been training for this moment for a very long time, and the time is finally here," Toppin said Friday while speaking to the media. "I'll have the opportunity to say I've been on the court with NBA guys and we're going to work to get a W today."

One of the few players Toppin had been compared to during the draft process and now with the Knicks is Pistons forward Blake Griffin. The two share high-flying abilities and look similar on the offensive side of the ball.

With the Knicks seeing Griffin and the Pistons tonight, there's a chance Toppin will get to pick the six-time All-Star's brain a bit on the court.

"I've been hearing a lot of people compare me to Blake Griffin," Toppin said. "He's a great player, competitive and I can't wait to get on the floor with him and learn in the moment.

"I'm not going to come out and just ask him questions. ...He's a vet, so if he feels that he can give me some pointers while we're playing, I'm open ear and I'm looking forward to it. But at the same time, we're competing, we're trying to both get the W at the end of the day and that's what it is."

Toppin has been getting accustomed to NBA basketball over the last couple of weeks training and practicing with the Knicks, and has seen some differences between his time in college to now as a pro.

"I feel like the pace is a lot faster, that's something I had to adjust to. The pace is a lot faster at this level," Toppin said. "A lot more physical, definitely have to be able to bang with the big guys.

"Other than that, I feel like Dayton prepared my for this moment."

The Knicks will face the Pistons Friday night and Sunday before hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers twice next week before the regular season starts on the road for New York on Dec. 23 against the Indiana Pacers.