New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin has undoubtedly heard, and embraced, the "shooters shoot" mantra at some point in his career.
For Toppin, that shooting ability came to fruition in his second season with the Dayton Flyers, leading to a Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year honor. Toppin earned the honor thanks in part to upping his triples to 32 from 11 in his freshman campaign.
In the early stages of this season, his third in the NBA, Toppin showed that same growth on an NBA level, connecting on over 40 percent of his three-point attempts in the Knicks' first 14 games.
But over the past six outings, Toppin has failed to get much of anything going from beyond the arc, connecting on just four of 22 attempts (18.1 percent) from long range.
Despite the struggles that come along with a long NBA season, Knicks management still has all the confidence in the world for the 24-year-old who has played some of the best basketball of his career in recent memory.
"I trust his process," Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He’s very diligent. I think he has a strategy for everything. He’s put a lot of time into his shooting. Players go through things like that, but he can help us in a lot of different ways. Just the way he moves the ball, the way he runs the floor, gets some rebounds. But I’m very confident in his ability."
"I think he has the ability because of his athleticism to put it down and blow by people. It’s one of the things he does well,” Thibodeau continued. “Running the floor, he’s gifted at that, great athlete, but if they fly at you, show your shot and go by them.”
The trust the Knicks show has resonated with Toppin, who has made a diligent effort to expand his range this season, even as he entered the year shooting less than 31 percent from three-point range.
Even with the current cold stretch, Toppin has improved that mark to nearly 36 percent this year on over four attempts per game - both career highs.
“I’m still confident,” Toppin declared. “All the coaches and players are still telling me to shoot it. With me missing all the shots I’ve been missing and them telling me to still shoot, that’s helping my confidence.”
Toppin and the Knicks are back in action tomorrow night against the Detroit Pistons (7 p.m. ET, MSG).
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