While other teams may have dominated the spotlight, the Indiana Pacers quietly had a solid summer. They made a string of moves that included signing Bruce Brown, drafting Jarace Walker, and trading for Obi Toppin.,
All three players should play major roles on the team this year, and all of them could even have a chance to make some waves in the starting lineup, as Indiana is reportedly starting Tyrese Haliburton, Brown, Benedict Mathurin, Toppin, and Myles Turner in their first preseason game.
Obi Toppin gives first impression of Indiana Pacers after trade
Toppin joined the Pacers by way of a deal with the New York Knicks, and he could form a nice lob duo with Haliburton. As training camp rolls on, he’s already settling in nicely. (H/t Tony East of All Pacers)
“These guys [are] great. It’s easy to catch on to things quickly with these guys,” Toppin said after Wednesday’s practice. “The coaches [are] amazing, players amazing. It’s easy to catch on to things.”
After being selected eighth overall by the Knicks in the 2020 NBA Draft, Toppin’s role in New York was inconsistent under head coach Tom Thibodeau. He struggled to maintain his place in the rotation.
Last season, he appeared in 67 games for the Knicks but only played 15.7 minutes per contest. Toppin averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 44.6% from the field and 34.4% from behind the three-point line.
At just 25 years old, Toppin still has plenty of time to improve, and head coach Rick Carlisle is already confident in his ability to learn and grow.
“He’s shooting the ball well. We know he can run like a deer. I think for him, he obviously has a very good opportunity here. Day-to-day, just come in and just keep building on little things,” Carlisle said. “One of his challenges is that he’s tall and angular, so the velocity he runs, stopping, and getting his balance is a bit of a challenge. He’s got to learn to set his base for his shot. But he’s a sponge. He’s a wonderful guy to work with every day.”
If he can keep his spot in the starting lineup, this has the potential to be a breakout year for Toppin, as he’ll have more opportunities to play than ever before at the NBA level.
It seems as though the Pacers are willing to invest in him, and that should bode well for all parties involved moving forward.