The New York Knicks closed out the 2021-22 season in the worst way. The team finished the year on a two-game win streak, which boosted morale before a long offseason, but the bad thing is that Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley combined for 76 points in a 105-94 win over Toronto on Sunday.
Wait, why is that a bad thing? It involved a career-high for Toppin and another triple-double performance for Quickley. That’s a big exclamation mark, right?
Yes, but here’s the thing, New York fans now have to wait six months to get to see Toppin and Quickley play again. That’s half a year. It isn’t fair.
Although Knicks fans have known for nearly two weeks now that New York wouldn’t be in the playoffs, the season ended on a cliffhanger.
Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley dominated in New York Knicks’ final game of 2021-22.
Can it be October already? It’s always a little sad when seasons come to a close, and in the case of the Knicks, things felt a bit more bittersweet this year.
New York closed out the season with a 37-45 record, good enough for 11th place in the East. After finishing in fourth place in the conference last year and making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13, this season feels like yet another bust.
Without a doubt, the emergence of RJ Barrett was a silver lining. Since the start of 2022, he’s proven that he has what it takes to lead a franchise. He’s surrounded by other players with promising futures, too.
Toppin averaged 9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in the 72 games (10 starts) that he played in this year. He shot 53.1% from the field and 30.8% from the 3-point line.
In his final five games of the year, he averaged 27.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. Toppin’s ability to knock down 3-pointers has been called into question, but he hit six each in the team’s last two games.
Quickley posted a career-high 34 points, a career-high 12 assists, and 10 rebounds in his third start of the season. It marked his second triple-double in four games.
The two rode together en route to Madison Square Garden on Sunday and during the ride, they decided to end the year with a bang.
That’s exactly what happened and is why it stung as the final buzzer sounded on Sunday night in Manhattan. Hopes are high for 2022-23, but for a team that could have an entertaining offseason, there’s a chance that Toppin and/or Quickley could be involved in a trade.
Should they be? No. For a team that’s been in desperate need of a point guard, New York needs to keep 22-year-old Quickley. As for Toppin, he’ll likely continue to come off the bench unless Julius Randle is traded, but he finished the year playing like a true starter.
Tough decisions could be on the horizon for the Knicks, but the trio of Barrett, Toppin, and Quickley is undoubtedly the future. The front office doesn’t need to lose sight of that.