N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

New York Knicks have a challenging offseason ahead of them in terms of improving the roster without setting themselves back. Obi Toppin became a bright spot late in the season once he began to receive more playing time. The more Toppin played, the more comfortable he got on the basketball court, the more his confidence rose night in and night out. The season finale should be taken with a grain of salt due to many NBA players scoring at will, however, Toppin’s 42-points against the Toronto Raptors was still huge for his confidence headed into the off-season. Marc Berman expressed Tom Thibodeau is almost regretful for not depending on Obi Toppin earlier last season. Thibodeau’s understanding of his personnel has been in question most of the season. Thibs realizing he was wrong about Obi Toppin further solidifies that question.

Increased Young Core Minutes Is Crucial For Knowing & Understanding Personnel.


Practices are very important for both coaches and players. Basketball players display their work ethic consistently during practices and workouts which leads to improving upon weaknesses, or building on their strengths. Coaches, assistants, trainers, and specialists know their personnel to a certain extent in a practice setting. However, the main reason for practicing and getting extra work done when the cameras are off is to be able to perform at a superior level when the cameras are on. Young players developing in practice warrant a fair opportunity in regular season games especially if that particular season is lost. Why not try to make the Play-In Tournament with the young core instead of the veterans who weren’t really getting it done in the first place? Did Head Coach Tom Thibodeau mishandle the process of developing the talented young Knicks group by not playing them in more meaningful game action?

Tom Thibodeau Almost Regretful For Not Trusting Obi Toppin Earlier Last Season.

NBAE via Getty Images

JEllis of The Knick of Time Show asked Marc Berman the following during an interview:

You mentioned Obi before right, so do you think the success of Obi Toppin, all those small sample sizes will make the front office prioritize moving Randle in the offseason, and also what do you feel like the Knicks would like to receive in return for Randle, if they were actually able to move him?

Marc Berman responded with the following:

JEllis, that’s a great question, but I do believe what you said. What Obi did late in the season definitely motivates the Knicks to look harder at trading Julius. At the trade deadline Obi was in a slump, he couldn’t hit a three-point-shot and Thibodeau didn’t trust him, and the big thing about what Obi did late in the season is he got Thibodeau’s trust now. I’m told that Thibodeau is almost regretful that he didn’t turn more to the younger players earlier. But I think Obi is part of that equation, that he regrets maybe not giving him more time, and let’s be honest, Obi had a confidence issue and he explained it on a couple of occasions late in the season when we spoke to him. He said “I was afraid anytime I made a mistake I’d be pulled out of the game.” And you know that’s how Thibodeau coaches, some coaches let the young players play through their mistakes, Tom Thibodeau doesn’t believe in that. If you’re not helping the team, you’re out the game. You earn your playing time. So it was tough for Obi and then when Obi excelled so much Thibodeau finally saw so many different things about his intangibles and how he lifted his teammates giving them energy when he runs the floor, everyone else runs the floor. When he makes an exciting dunk it lifts the spirit of everybody, and the three-point-shot is crucial and he was starting to make that three-point-shot instead of not even looking to shoot, which if you noticed earlier in the season, he would get the ball on the perimeter he wouldn’t even look at the basket, and he’d hand off, and I think that frustrated Thibodeau.

Marc Berman

Knicks Young Core Headed Into The Offseason With More Overall Knowledge & Familiarity.

With injuries piling up, Tom Thibodeau turned towards the young core late last season. Quentin Grimes had his moments, so did Jericho Sims and Immanuel Quickley. Obi Toppin provided the sweetener against the Toronto Raptors with his extravagant season finale performance against a tough defensively coached Nick Nurse team. RJ Barrett played phenomenal during the second part of the season, he definitely is a part of the young core, however, he’s the only young player getting tons of minutes. Some argue RJ Barrett played too many minutes at certain points making him vulnerable to significant injuries.

Overall, the Knicks young core will have a much better idea of what to improve on this upcoming offseason. Certain players, like Immanuel Quickley are already in the gym getting work in. The mental switch must stay on this offseason for the Knicks young core in order for steady improvement carrying over into a crucial 2022-23 NBA Season.


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