Going into their second years, New York Knicks youngsters Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley headline the Summer League roster and the team is expecting them to flash huge improvements as they look to build off the success of last year.
These two players trained with the Olympic roster that came away with a gold medal, which gave them the chance to play with the likes of Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, something that would be a boon to any young NBA player.
However, according to a new report from the New York Post, head coach Tom Thibodeau said Quickley and Toppin need to show more leadership in the Summer League as they are veterans, even though they are both coming off their rookie seasons.
Thibs Calls Out the Pair
The report says that Thibodeau told the two players they needed demonstrate some more leadership to the young squad, and it looks like that paid off in a big way.
Toppin and Quickley combined for 54 of Knicks 94 points in the win over the Pacers on August 9.
Both of these players will play key roles on the Knicks next season, and Toppin will definitely be looking to breakout and earn more minutes on the team. Perhaps the biggest issue for him is he’s trapped behind Julius Randle in the depth chart, but he should be able to lock down the sixth man role, unless Derrick Rose continues to come off the bench that is.
Quickley should take a big leap forward as Reggie Bullock left the Knicks and signed with the Dallas Mavericks in free agency. This should allow Quickley to step into a starting role unless recently signed Evan Fournier takes the spot.
There are a lot of directions the team could go, and depending that could possibly change depending on how these two players perform in the Summer League.
How Does the Upcoming Season Look?
There was a lot of chatter going into free agency that the Knicks could improve their roster in a big way and swing for the fences.
That turned out to not be the case as the team spent most of their available money resigning their key players, but they did make some upgrades in some key areas.
After letting Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton leave, the Knicks filled the void with 4-time All-Star Kemba Walker and signed Fournier.
Walker will presumably assume the role of starting point guard, and he’ll prove to be a major upgrade over what the team went with last season, if he can stay healthy.
At this point in his career, Walker’s health is his biggest question mark, but nobody would argue that he’s not worth the risk if he’s able to stay injury-free.
Derrick Rose was able to revitalize his career by avoiding devastating injuries like he did earlier in his career, so the Knicks will be hoping for something similar here as well. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the team that’s coming off its first playoff series in years, so we’ll just have to wait and see what they can cook up going into the next season.