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2020 NBA Draft Prospect Spotlight: Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Obi Toppin is a walking highlight reel. Toppin is the guy that seemed to always be filling my Twitter feed whenever Dayton played that night. The dunks that this dude was pulling off during games were insane. But is dunking the only thing Toppin is good at? What else does he have that can help him develop at the next level? Let’s take a quick look at the 2020 John R. Wooden Award winner.

Strengths: Speed, Athleticism, Strength

Toppin is really fast given his 6’9 220 pound frame. He was able to get most of his highlight dunks because he just outran the defense in transition and was open. It probably won’t happen as frequently in the NBA, but it’s nice to have a big that can quickly aid on the break. Toppin’s dunking ability is insane and rivals Zion Williamson in the hype when he drives with the ball (yeah I said it). He does have the ability to stretch the floor, but it’s not as great as someone would like a stretch 4 to have in the modern NBA. We don’t have a combine to look at the stats, but I bet Toppin, just by looking at him, is one of the stronger picks in the draft. He’ll bully bigger defenders in the paint and looks like a freight train when running at full speed.

Weaknesses: Perimeter Defense, Playmaking

I’ve typed it once and I’ll type it a thousand more. Bigs aren’t known for their playmaking, but the ones that can elevate to another level. Toppin’s perimeter defense is pretty lackluster. If Toppin has to switch onto a smaller and quicker defender, chances are he gets beat. His size and length could help catch up, but not against elite finishers. Toppin a lot of times isn’t in (at least what I would consider) a defensive stance. He will get torched on screens where the defenders switch. Again, his outside shooting isn’t bad enough (39% 3pt) to consider it a weakness, but it’s too weak to be considered a strength.

Some will complain about his age (22) but I don’t see that as a flaw. I’ve preached in the past that older players coming out of college are still extremely valuable and can blossom into great NBA players. I like Obi Toppin, but have some reservations (especially when you see my player comp). He’s a great college player, but I’m not sold yet on if he’ll be a great NBA player. Only time will tell.

Bets Fit: Washington, San Antonio, Minnesota, Portland

Current NBA Comparison: Aaron Gordon


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