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Two reasons Obi Toppin will win Rookie of the Year

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When you look at this year’s draft class, you just can’t foresee anyone standing out with big-time numbers in the upcoming season, not like what Zion Williamson or Ja Morant did during their rookie debuts. Even Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, the first overall pick and the batch’s best scorer, will find it difficult to even eclipse close to the 20-point average in the scoring column this season.

But then again, there will be rookies who will immediately assume more playing time than their counterparts. Obi Toppin will be one of these lucky first-years, as there’s no doubt that the rebuilding New York Knicks will be more than happy to give him the exposure he needs to fast-track his progress.

Here’s a hot take: Toppin is a darkhorse contender for the Rookie of the Year plum. I do think that James Wiseman has the best solid shot at that award, given the Warriors’ dire need for a towering presence in the paint. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney have been plagued with injuries in the past couple of years, so there’s a high chance that Wiseman could be integrated into a major role for Golden State.

So why do I still believe that Toppin can claim the Rookie of the Year award this season? It’s based on these two important reasons.

With age comes wisdom

Toppin enters the NBA as a 22-year old rookie. In March of 2021, he will turn 23. He is even older than Mavericks’ MVP candidate Luka Doncic, and Hawks star Trae Young. Scouts place a question mark on older prospects because their potential has already shrunk.


But if you look at it the other way, it also means that they already have an advantage in terms of experience and maturity. You can see it in how Toppin approaches the game. He is an energy bunny who will like to be the first one to sprint to the offensive end when he or his teammates get the rebound. Yet, there is a sense of discipline in the way he plays. When he commits mistakes, his attitude is to move on to the next play. He has this business-like approach to the game that comes with being a more experienced player.

Will Randle be traded in March?

Normally, the NBA trade deadline is set in February. But with the season starting late this year, the league put it off until the last week of March. That’s when every team has an idea of whether they could make a push for the playoffs, or accept their fate and tank for the top prospects in the next draft class.

Unfortunately for the avid basketball fans in the Big Apple, their favorite basketball team will again stink this year. The Knicks front office already learned a lesson from their obvious failures the last offseason, and they are focusing mainly on developing the young talent in the team. With that said, I expect Julius Randle to figure in a mid-season trade, paving the way for Toppin to get starter minutes and increase his production.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Toppin will turn 23 by that time. The Knicks should take a quicker route in developing his potential, and they could do that by giving him more minutes on the court.
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