Rookie’s Killian Hayes And Obi Toppin Face Off In Preseason Debut

Welcome BF viewers and sports fans abroad. The NBA has started preseason games and there have been some key matchups on the first night. Our goal is to bring true and fearless journalism to the forefront of sports media, so let’s get ready to talk some preseason basketball!

The Knicks and Pistons kicked off their preseason schedule with back-to-back games in Detroit. Today, we’ll be covering the highflying forward and 8th overall pick, the New York Knick’s Obi Toppin. Before that selection, the Detroit Pistons were on the board salivating over the French phenom and now Piston’s point guard Killian Hayes. These men took two different paths to the NBA. But with trial’s and tribulation’s character is built, that’s one thing they both found on their journey good characteristics.

Obi Toppin; 6’9″ SF/ PF; Brooklyn, New York, New York

Tonight, the Knicks dominated, forcing over 25 turnovers. Obi came in off the bench and definitely gave a spark on both ends using his length and athleticism to their fullest potential. Whenever he wasn’t throwing down a monster dunk, he was challenging shots and disrupting passing lanes. He looked like the elder statesmen here tonight.

He finished with a decent stat line showing exactly why he was taken in the top ten with 11 points, seven boards, and a block; he had an impactful showing with the second unit. Knick’s fans should be excited to have him representing the organization. It’s only one preseason game, but if he can produce at this level, he’ll have a long and valuable career. He showed the ability to switch which will be a key moving forward as small is the new normal, so New Yorkers, get your popcorn ready and enjoy the Obi Toppin show.

Killian Hayes; 6’5″ PG; Lakeland, Florida / France International

To say Killian is mature for his age is an understatement. At the tender age of nineteen, he controls the tempo like a seasoned veteran, waiting on defenders to make the slightest mistakes then takes advantage. He’s best recognized for his ability to facilitate out of the pick and roll. His passing is all scouts were speaking on when covid stopped play on a worldwide level.

Pistons fans, this youngster can do so much more. He’s now 216 lbs; a big jump from the 187 he was listed at before training camp. Overseas is not as spread out as the NBA floor, they still playback to the basket. This is almost prehistoric in today’s league where floor spacing and stretch bigs are essential. Hayes could take advantage of the newfound style. His ability to switch speeds and get to his spot will be maximized in the NBA, driving lanes open up, and he’s a solid finisher at the basket. Expect his game to translate quickly.

For optimistic Pistons fans, this was not what you wanted to see. Everyone seems to be high on Kilian, but his preseason debut was lackluster, to say the least. I admit, I’m high on the young man myself, and I left slightly disappointed. I say slightly because after all, it’s only the first preseason game and training started a week ago. I expected a better showing than what was exhibited at Little Ceasers Arena tonight.

Bluntly speaking, he played badly! Some would say not too bad for a 19-year-old in the league in his first preseason game, and I can understand this is not the final judgment of him by any stretch of the imagination. He’ll learn from today, and come back better than he ever was. The projected starting guard ended the game with more turnovers than points though. Hayes was hounded by Elfrid Payton, and if it wasn’t him it was his fellow Frenchman, Frank Ntilikina, applying the pressure defensively.

He managed to still fill up the stat sheet showing exactly why he was high on GM’s draft boards. He finished with five points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals, shooting a mediocre 2-7 from the field; however, he did look decent staying within his game, not trying to overdo things. For some of the turnovers, he rushed the action and made normal rookie mistakes; it could have been jitters, but we shall see!

The Final Breakdown

Like I mentioned in the column earlier, this is a back to back with the second game Sunday, so it won’t be long till we see these two rookies matching up again. Both rookies showed good things, but, unfortunately, tonight just wasn’t Killian’s night. The turnovers took him out of a rhythm; then, he was questioning things on the court instead of playing instinctually.

Toppin proved tonight that he can make plays now, and that’s what the Knicks’ fans want and need. Obi Toppin is a breath of fresh air for Knicks fans in this year’s draft; they had to get it right, and I think they did. I still think that the Pistons made the right decision, and I’m eager to see Sunday how he responds.

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