Re-Grading the Knicks 2023 Offseason Moves Ahead of the Playoffs

The New York Knicks' journey to the 2024 NBA postseason didn't happen overnight, but it did take a slew of really important decisions to get the ball rolling back to the playoffs.
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Trading Away Obi Toppin

Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin (1) celebrates a made
Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin (1) celebrates a made / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It came to a point last season when the Knicks knew they had to make a decision regarding Obi Toppin and his role within the team’s rotation. Would the former first-round selection find his way into more minutes behind Julius Randle or was it time to let his wings soar to a new destination amid frustrations with the demand on Randle’s numbers growing?

The Knicks chose the latter route, trading away their homegrown selection to the Indiana Pacers who held a slew of players from the 2020 class that Toppin could grow his game alongside. It wasn’t an easy decision given the Knicks were thin at the power forward position behind Randle, but one that helped them secure draft assets that they could use to strengthen the periphery of the roster for playoff contention in 2024 and beyond. 

While he was a threat in transition and above the rim, the Knicks didn’t receive enough scoring production from Toppin to justify keeping him in their rotation for limited minutes. Even with the position being barren, he only averaged between 4.1 and 9.0 points in his first three seasons with New York and was hurting them with poor efficiency the further away he stepped from the basket. 

The Knicks also expected to receive more rebounding output from the 6’9” forward, but it only panned into the highest average of 3.7 boards per game in his sophomore year with the team. Toppin boasts a 220-pound frame but had a hard time winning the glass against the biggest premier forwards and centers in the NBA and that was becoming a liability for the Knicks. 

To sum it up, Toppin had all the charisma and heart to draw the liking of the fans in Madison Square Garden. He just couldn’t produce at a rate large enough to earn increased minutes in a stiff rotation and was losing that opportunity behind an established veteran in Randle that the team elected to send him off to a better locale where both things could become reality. 

Since getting moved, Toppin has averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 21.1 minutes per night meaning his stats have not changed dramatically to give the Knicks any serious remorse. His overall shooting metrics have improved to their career-best, but the 26-year-old is still overshadowed by Pascal Siakam and Aaron Nesmith in the Pacers leaderboards. 

Meanwhile, the Knicks have established themselves a stronger frontcourt with pieces like OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Bojan Bogdanovic, each bringing stronger elements of the overall player New York wanted to establish out of Toppin when they first drafted him. 

Grade: B+

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