Addressing the Biggest Questions About NBA Draft Prospect Obi Toppin

Addressing the Biggest Questions About NBA Draft Prospect Obi Toppin
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe NBA didn’t take Obi Toppin seriously last season, leaving him off a list of nearly 70 prospects for 2019’s scouting combine. This year, he’ll receive an invite to the draft’s green room, whether it’s live in Brooklyn, New York, or virtual. Toppin has lottery teams’ attention now after transforming into a 20-point-per-game scorer,…
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 07: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers looks on during a game against the George Washington Colonials at UD Arena on March 7, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NBA didn’t preserve Obi Toppin severely final season, leaving him off a list of on the subject of 70 potentialities for 2019’s scouting mix. This 300 and sixty five days, he’ll receive an invite to the draft’s green room, whether it be are living in Brooklyn, Glossy York, or digital. 

Toppin has lottery groups’ consideration now after reworking staunch into a 20-point-per-game scorer, National Player of the 300 and sixty five days and better shooter to give a enhance to his projected NBA fit.

But some scouts are serene hesitant about how high it be worth drafting Toppin, with their questions mostly connected to his protection and how it is going to occupy an tag on his price.


How would possibly possibly presumably serene Toppin’s questionable protection occupy an tag on his review and price?

A complete lot of groups will be sold on Toppin’s scoring translating, given his skilled instruments (6’9″, 220 lbs), explosiveness around the basket (76.7 percent at rim), efficient publish game (1.02 PPP, 87th percentile), untapped face-up seemingly (1.33 PPP utter-ups, 98th percentile), developing soar shot (32 3PTM, 39 percent) and atmosphere friendly manufacturing (32.5 participant efficiency rating).

But what if he is a defensive liability? How much wouldn’t it offset what he is in a local to enact offensively?

Toppin confirmed runt seemingly in rim protection. Despite his dimension and athleticism, opponents shot 57.6 percent around the basket when he used to be defending. His 4.1 block share used to be scarily low since he customarily performed center. The instincts, response effort and time originate no longer expose up on tape. 

Toppin figures to originate his skilled profession as a 4, despite his struggles containing around the perimeter. 

Tony Tribble/Associated Press

He doesn’t appear heavenly guarding away from the basket, whether he is remoted, closing out or requested to abet. His footwork and frequent movements are clunky. Shooters shot 40.4 percent over him off the catch. He graded in the 26th percentile defending utter-ups, and he didn’t cease catch-and-rolls (opponents converted 17-of-22 instances). 

Even his 14.5 rebounding share raises issues. How would possibly possibly presumably a huge man as bouncy as him preserve correct 7.5 boards in 31.6 minutes per game?

Teams occupied with Toppin would possibly possibly presumably must ranking they would possibly possibly no longer be getting a plus defender or intimidator. And which technique eager to bring to mind whether or not they occupy the best sort supporting forged to abet cowl his weaknesses.


How much would possibly possibly presumably serene groups part Toppin’s defensive fit when occupied with him?

What if a struggling defensive team deems Toppin the best participant on hand when it be on the clock?

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Could well possibly well moreover serene groups correct anxiousness about talent in the draft and adding the best sort beef up later? Toppin would possibly possibly presumably efficiently give groups 20-plus parts a game. A scorer like that would possibly possibly very successfully be more challenging to search out than defensive feature avid gamers who can receive in around him. 

Ideally, the team that drafts Toppin can slot him between a rim protector and defensive trek. Or, it might use him on the 5 in the back of a exact team protection and shooters, like in Golden Remark. 

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press


How legit is Toppin’s shooting development?

Freshman flashes of shooting (11-of-21 3PT) created optimism. This past season, Toppin took one other step forward, hitting 32 threes in 31 video games at a 39.0 percent clip. 

The lack of volume serene makes it stressful to fully capture in. He made three half-courtroom jumpers all 300 and sixty five days that weren’t threes, hit one pull-up and didn’t originate any photos off of a camouflage. His 70.2 free-throw share used to be pleasing but no longer persuasive. 

Toppin didn’t place evident self perception in his shot. He hesitated or passed up originate looks, and a couple of of his misses occupy been capacity off. He objectives it. His shot consists mostly of upper-body work. 

But the gradual development would possibly possibly very successfully be worth making a wager on to proceed. On the quite a lot of hand, he’ll manufacture his NBA rookie season at 23 years aged (March 2021).


How worrisome is Toppin’s age?

Since 2007, the list of lottery picks who grew to alter into 22 sooner than the draft entails: Cameron Johnson, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, Taurean Prince, Denzel Valentine, Frank Kaminsky, Doug McDermott, Kelly Olynyk, Jimmer Fredette, Wesley Johnson, Ekpe Udoh, Hasheem Thabeet, Brandon Bustle, Joakim Noah, Acie Rules and Al Thornton. 

Historical past suggests groups are usually no longer drafting a star at 22, even supposing some occupy slipped by the cracks (into the 2d spherical) and long gone on to alter into exact mavens like Malcolm Brogdon or Devonte’ Graham. Toppin grew to alter into 22 in March, raising questions about his NCAA dominance and NBA upside. He used to be the connected age as many seniors at some stage in his breakout season. And how much room does he occupy left to give a enhance to his shooting, scoring skills and defensive IQ/protection? 

Teams must quiz how end Toppin already is to his ceiling, after which according to that acknowledge, negate where to depraved him in a tier that entails mostly 18- to 20-300 and sixty five days-olds with additional time/room to originate. 

DAYTON, OH - FEBRUARY 28: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers brings the ball up court during the game against the Davidson Wildcats at UD Arena on February 28, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

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Toppin in the draft

Between this draft’s uncertainty and comparatively a couple of opinions, Toppin would possibly possibly presumably bolt as high as No. 2 or later towards the lottery’s 2d half. 

Within the best-participant-on hand discussion, Toppin will be competing for looks with mostly youthful ball-handlers and wings—LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes and extra. And in these days’s league, it be that it’s seemingly you’ll possibly presumably presumably imagine that in doubt frequent managers lean towards guards over a huge who struggles defensively. 

But there are moreover lottery groups who would possibly possibly presumably use a energy forward, both to crawl staunch sort in or to originate long duration of time, like the Golden Remark Warriors, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs or Detroit Pistons. 

Toppin versus James Wiseman would possibly possibly presumably serene spark a attention-grabbing debate when discussing bigs. Wiseman, who’s 7’1″, 240 pounds with a 7’6″ wingspan, has the superior physical profile and proper grew to alter into 19 on March 31. But whereas Toppin used to be main Dayton to a 29-2 file, Wiseman used to be training after leaving Memphis correct three video games into the season, and it be handsome obvious he can no longer at the moment match Toppin’s scoring versatility, passing or shooting vary.

Wiseman’s dimension and dimension are better suited to rim protection, but like Toppin, there are moreover questions about his defensive affect.

Compared with USC’s Onyeka Okongwu, the quite a lot of projected lottery huge, Toppin is the extra beautiful offensive participant. Okongwu is stronger, but he is no longer forever in actuality as contented or threatening originate air the paint.

Then again, Okongwu blocked 2.7 photos per game, and he comes off as a center who’ll anchor a protection, no longer like Toppin. Particular groups would possibly possibly presumably capture his defensive presence/seemingly and potentialities of bettering his originate air contact.

It looks to be like a protected wager to project a productive scorer in Toppin who’ll shoot a high share from the bottom. Offensively, it be no longer loopy to tell he places up numbers equivalent to Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins. But will they be enough to originate up for his defensive issues, to what level can he originate them disappear, and is he positively heading in the right direction to conform from a energy participant to an inside of-out stretch huge?


Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports,


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