With the NBA Summer League in full swing the buzz is starting to build around the newest member of the San Antonio Spurs roster: Tony Parker. Parker has been quiet during his first week with the team, but he has been active on the court, showing off his new looks during the Spurs’ practice sessions. His new haircut, also known as “The Birdman,” will have plenty of fans talking when the Spurs’ Summer League tips off tomorrow.
This week, former Utah Jazz guard and current Los Angeles Lakers forward, Alec Burks, was at the NBPA rookie photo shoot in New York City to introduce himself to the class of 2015. While there, he shared that he was having the best time of his life playing for the Lakers. Since being drafted by the Jazz, Burks has spent each of the past three seasons with the revitalized Jazz, and this year, they managed to post a 40-42 record.
On Wednesday, the Spurs small forward, Da’Sean Butler (D-Butler) signed a two-year contract with the team. The team announced his signing with a press release that read, “Butler is the third Spurs’ player to sign a new contract this summer: Richard Jefferson re-signed earlier in June and Kawhi Leonard inked his own new deal in June.”. Read more about nba summer league and let us know what you think.
Getty Obi Toppin dunks the basketball during a game against the Detroit Pistons on August 13.
So far, it seems like Leon Rose and the New York Knicks front staff have begun their tenure in the Big Apple with near-perfect hits in two NBA Drafts.
However, as thrilling as it has been to watch newcomers Deuce McBride and Quentin Grimes, second-year forward Obi Toppin has recently stolen the show.
He was the ninth overall selection in last year’s draft and a late bloomer in New York, not really “found his legs” until the conclusion of the regular season and early in the playoffs.
Some supporters think Toppin’s cautious attitude, coupled with head coach Tom Thibodeau’s unwillingness to extend his leash, means he may not have a future in New York.
This season, it seems he’s on a quest to prove his critics wrong, and he’s already made an impression on the Las Vegas Summer League.
In their most recent game, a defeat against number one overall selection Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons, Toppin scored 31 points and collected nine rebounds.
Play VideoVideo about the Knicks lottery selection showing a “new level of ease” in the summer league2021-08-14T19:45:13-04:00
Toppin highlights of this quality serve as a premium consolation gift for Knicks fans, as much as a perfect record in the Summer League appealed to them.
And it’s had everyone in the NBA talking about the 23-year-old forward, not just New York Knicks fans.
Toppin is displaying a new level of comfort, according to Wasserman.
Jonathan Wasserman, one of Bleacher Report’s resident draft gurus, went to Twitter on Saturday morning to express his admiration for Obi Toppin.
But there was one specific highlight in the fourth quarter, a pull-up jumper over almost three opponents, that grabbed his eye:
Obi’s play is simple, yet it is maybe the most noteworthy in the summer league. Stepping into a pull-up requires a new degree of ease and fluidity. There aren’t many of these around. Through four games, he’s averaging 23.5 points. pic.twitter.com/zzIHsxwzwK
— August 14, 2021, Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass)
As Wasserman points out, it’s conceivable that Toppin hasn’t tried a shot like this since joining the NBA.
Fans are ecstatic to watch him open up on offense, whether of whether it’s just Summer League or they’re playing in an exhibition game.
Obi Toppin averaged only 4.1 points and 11 minutes per game last season.
It’s uncertain if tape like this will help him see an increase in those statistics, but it’s a positive indication for the New York Knicks’ future.
Toppin is looking forward to playing alongside Kemba.
On Thursday, Obi Toppin was questioned about newly arriving point guard and four-time All-Star Kemba Walker (via the New York Post), and he expressed his enthusiasm to play with a fellow New York native:
It’s fantastic to have Kemba join the squad. Excellent player. Since he left UConn, I’ve followed him for as long as he’s been playing. It would be a dream come true to be able to play alongside him.
After securing a buyout from the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month, the Knicks signed the 31-year old to a two-year, $18 million contract.
Despite their positional differences, Toppin has watched a lot of Walker’s film, similar to rookie Miles McBride:
It’s Kemba Walker on the other end of the line. He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic point guard. I’ve seen a lot of his highlights and films. I’m a huge admirer of his work.
But the second-year forward’s excitement doesn’t end there; he has high hopes for New York’s new-look offense next season:
We have so many different weapons. We have him who can score, Derrick [Rose] who can score, Jules [Julius Randle], RJ [Barrett], Quick [Immanuel Quickley]. So many different people who can put the ball in the hoop. At the same time, our main focus is defense. Whatever we do on the defensive side will determine our offense.
In their first-round series defeat to Atlanta, the Knicks were the weakest offensive club in the playoffs, averaging only 97 points per game.
With the additions of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, those problems should slowly but definitely go away.
Perhaps Obi Toppin will contribute to those expected enhancements as well.
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