November 18, 2020
Bristol, Connecticut, USA
Q. I know you didn't expect to fall to the Knicks at 8. Can you take me through the whole emotions of what happened just now and were the Knicks a team you wanted to go to?
OBI TOPPIN: To be honest with you, me hearing my name called is a blessing. A lot of people dream of this moment. There's only 60 picks, and I was one of those picks. Whether I was 1, whether I was 60, I had the God-given blessing to be No. 8, and go to my hometown, which was New York. Me being in this position is a blessing.
Q. What do you think about coach Tom Thibodeau and how do you think you fit on to this roster?
OBI TOPPIN: I learned a lot about Coach through this pandemic. Basically, I understand he's a defensive coach, and that's one of my biggest things I need to work on. I feel like having him as my head coach, he's going to make sure that I lock in and make sure that I become great one day.
I feel like if I get that defensive scheme down, I'm going to be a really good player one day, a really great player one day. I feel like everybody in this organization is going to push to help me be great, and I'm glad I'm here.
Q. When you think about some of the other young guys on this roster and how you might fit with them, RJ Barrett to start, what do you think about your fit with RJ?
OBI TOPPIN: Yes, sir, I feel like me and RJ are going to be a great duo. It's going to be like me and Jalen all over again, me and Jalen Crutcher, who I played at Dayton with. Me and RJ being on the court together, there's going to be a lot of situations where we're going to put people in tough situations like pick-and-roll coverages, knowing I can pick and pop, knowing I can roll to the basket. And RJ having the IQ and skills he has, I feel like we're going to be a very dynamic duo in the NBA, and we're going prove that this year or this upcoming season.
Q. What would you like to achieve for the city and team of New York?
OBI TOPPIN: I want to have a brotherhood. I want to build the relationship with everybody on the team, and not only the team, the organization, and have a lot of W's. New York has been down a couple years, and I feel like with the guys they have now, and myself added to that, I feel like we're going to win a lot of games, and we're going to put New York back on the map, for sure.
Q. How do you feel that your work ethic got you to this moment, not having a Division I offer coming out of high school and not being highly touted and things of that nature, and now here you are a couple years later in the NBA?
OBI TOPPIN: Yeah, I feel like nothing has came easy for me. I went through a lot of things growing up, and I feel like through those struggles and through those bad times that I've been through growing up, it's made me the person and player that I am today. I learned from those experiences on court and off court. I feel like going through those experiences helped me become who I am today, and I wouldn't change it for anything.
Q. And how about coming back home to New York?
OBI TOPPIN: Coming back home to New York is a blessing. Being able to play in front of all the family and fans out here and in front of my friends, it's a blessing. I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm glad I landed where I landed.
Q. You've gone through a lot and you mentioned how that's shaped you into the man and player you are today. Can you elaborate a bit more on all the lessons specifically that you learned throughout this period and how this journey really shaped you into being who you are today?
OBI TOPPIN: Right, so through high school I changed schools a lot. I was living in Florida, I was living in New York and I went to prep school in Baltimore. So going through all those challenges, meeting new people, having to adapt to a new city, create new friends, new teammates, I had to go through that.
And also me not being able to play my freshman year in college, it was hard going through that. But at the same time, I had a good group of guys around me to push me to be great.
I feel like without those guys being around me, I wouldn't be in the position I am today. So I'm very grateful for them and can't wait to start my new journey with the Knicks.
Q. A lot of downtime. Who are some of the players you've studied and modeled your game after, and what NBA player is your game kind of similar to or reminds people of?
OBI TOPPIN: I feel like I studied a lot of people through this pandemic. A lot of Anthony Davis, and that's who I'm trying to mimic my game after. I feel like Anthony Davis, he has a lot of different tools to his game on the offensive side and defensive side.
I understand I need to work a lot on the defensive side to be as efficient as Anthony Davis is. But I feel like offensively, studying the things he does on and off the court, he's a great player. I've been watching a lot of his film.
A lot of people have been saying that I play like Amar'e Stoudemire. So I've been seeing how dominant and the hard work he put in through every game and every practice. Watching those two guys has been helping me throughout this pandemic, and I feel like I got better off of that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports