The Knicks’ first-round selections on Monday received important endorsements before and during the Friday’s end of the season.
Rookie striker Obi Tobin Ranked third in the Junior League polls for 2020-21 Award in the annual NBA.com General Manager Survey.
Point keeper Emmanuel Quickley also looks as if he’s planning to get into that conversation, moving into the starting line-up and scoring 22 points with five assists and five steals as the Knicks finished 3-1 pre-season with a quick 119-83 win over the Cavaliers in the park.
“If he continues to do so – we are building it all on performance,” coach Tom Thibaudeau said after the match when asked if Quikley had a chance to win the starting point. “So if he keeps doing it in practice and he’s moving it to games … he’s winning his way, and so we’ll see how things unfold.”
Quickley, the No. 25 general pick from Kentucky, kicked off Friday with goalkeepers Elfred Payton (hamstring), Dennis Smith Jr. (quadruple), Austin Rivers (thigh) and Frank Ntelikina (Achilles) all for what Tibudo said were precautionary reasons.
But Thibodeau noted to Quickley, “It caught our attention in practice, and if you practice well you usually play well.”
Kevin Knox also played well in the second game in a row, scoring 6 of 7 3-pointers and scoring 20 points. RG Barrett finished with 15 points and Mitchell Robinson contributed eight points, 12 rebounds and four shots to Knicks, who opened his season on Wednesday in Indiana. Reggie Bullock added 17 points and Julius Randall 11, with eight assists, for the team.
Tobin, eighth in the overall selection outside of Dayton, was relatively quiet, with six points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
Earlier in the day, the 22-year-old Toppin was listed third in the General Manager’s Starter-of-the-Year predictions with 18 percent of the vote, particularly before first public pick Anthony Edwards of Timber Wolves (7 percent). Hornets goalkeeper Lamello Ball topped the list with 39%, followed by Warriors’ James Wiseman (29%).
“These surveys and expectations, to a large extent, are meaningless. I just want him to continue to handle it the way he does – he comes every day, works as hard as he can, and tries to improve every day,” said Tibudo. The little extra that the player takes and that’s how I want him to approach it. Then he looks back and sees that he has made a quantum leap. “
Toppin also garnered votes in the category asking which rookie would be the best player in the NBA in five years, ranks seventh, and Weizmann tops that list with 36 percent. He is listed at number five on the “Biggest Robbery Where Picked Up in Enlistment” list, behind Kings Therese Halliburton (12th), Bay’s friend (19th), Keira Lewis Jr. of The Pistons (13th place) and Therese Maxi 76ers’ (21).
Toppin and Quickley were part of a young pentathlon – with Barrett, Robinson, and Knox – that ended in wins over the Cavs on Wednesday. Quickley ended that match with nine points and seven assists in 24 minutes.
He’s doing a really good job of controlling the team and getting everyone involved, ”said Knox. “He did a good job of hitting too, getting into the aisle and making the correct readings. I think he brings a lot of energy to both ends of the field.”
The rookie kicked off fast on Friday, burying two of the 3-pointers early and scoring 15 points as the Knicks advanced 72-35 in the first half and never looked back.
“It was great to put my feet off a little. The coaches trusted me and I put in the production, but I feel like it’s just the beginning,” said Quickley. “I feel like my entire life has been somewhat underdog, so it’s not new to me.”
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