When the Knicks selected Dayton’s Obi Toppin on Wednesday night with the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, they got a player they thought earlier in the day they might have to trade up for. And they got a player who should be able to make an immediate impact.
Toppin, 22, joins a young core that features RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, and the New York native is excited to get going at MSG.
Here’s what draft experts have said about the strengths and weaknesses of Toppin, who wants to model his game after Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony Davis…
Scouts expect his explosiveness, post game, passing and shooting to translate to high-level scoring and offense. There is optimism about coaches’ ability to mask his defensive question marks.
He has a high floor—at minimum, he should be an effective sixth man in an offense-first role for a long time—but his ceiling is tougher to pin down as he begins his NBA journey in New York.
The crazy length and dynamic jumping ability make Toppin an energetic weak side defender. He was a prolific shot blocker in college and many of his swats came as a help defender sprinting over from the opposite side of the floor to vaporize layups.
Toppin has exceptional leaping ability but lacks a bit of functional athleticism. Offensively he is so talented that this doesn’t hurt him but defensively he may have issues at the next level.
An absolute monster athlete in terms of explosiveness. Great speed for his size. Knows how to slip screens and get separation with that quickness. Really tough for defenders to stay attached to him in exchanges. Can beat taggers to the spot on the back side. Powerful leaper who is an elite dunker and finisher at the rim. Goes through contact to finish.
Real defensive concerns, although it’s tough to tell how much was role versus talent. He was not a particularly engaged defender this year. He didn’t kill Dayton on defense by any stretch, but he wasn’t good in ways that look problematic, particularly for NBA translation. Was that because he needed to conserve energy for offense? Or does he just struggle to diagnose offensive sets? Think it is a bit of both.