Obi Toppin's Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Knicks Roster

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2020

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 07: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers reacts after a dunk in the second half of a game against the George Washington Colonials at UD Arena on March 7, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton defeated George Washington 76-51. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Dayton power forward Obi Toppin was selected by the New York Knicks with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, which was held virtually Wednesday amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report

Player: Obi Toppin

Position: PF

Height: 6'9"

Weight: 220

Pro Comparison: John Collins

Scouting ReportObi Toppin is the draft's most popular prospect among NBA teams. They all love him, even if he isn't No. 1 on boards. 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.


Here's an early look at where Toppin will slot in on the team's depth chart:

Knicks Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)

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Obi Toppin, PF: Rookie scale contract (2024)

Julius Randle, PF: $20.7M (2022)

Bobby Portis, PF: $15M (2021)

Taj Gibson, PF: $10M (2021)

RJ Barrett, SF: $8M (2023)

Wayne Elliington, SG: $8M (2021)

Elfrid Payton, PG: $8M (2021)

Frank Ntilikina, PG: $4.7M (2021)

Dennis Smith Jr., PG: $4.3M (2021)

Kevin Knox, SF: $4.2M (2022)

Reggie Bullock, SG: $4.1M (2021)

Mitchell Robinson, C: $1.6M (2022)

Theo Pinson, SG: $1.4M (2021)

Ignas Brazdeikis, SF: $1.2M (2022)


Free Agents

Maurice Harkless, SF: UFA

Damyean Dotson, SG: RFA

Jared Harper, PG: RFA

Isaiah Hicks, PF: RFA

Theo Pinson, SG: RFA


Toppin is coming off a tremendous sophomore season with the Flyers that earned him Naismith College Player of the Year honors. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks while shooting 63.3 percent from the field across 31 appearances.

The 22-year-old New York City native also began the process of crafting his game to fit the modern mold of a stretch 4. He made 32 threes, nearly three times the amount he had during his freshman campaign, and he connected from outside the arc at a 39 percent clip.

"I just knew coming into Dayton I was going to have to work really hard," he told CBS Sports HQ (via David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News) in April. "Everyone pushed me as soon as I got there, and that's why I loved those guys. They helped me be the player I am today, and without those guys, I wouldn't have accomplished this. I thank them every single day for that."

Toppin owns high-end offensive upside with the versatility to score in a variety of ways at the NBA level.

His outlook at the defensive end is less clear. He doesn't possess an ideal frame to play center in small-ball lineups at 6'9" and 220 pounds, and his lack of small-area quickness on display at times in college raises questions about his ability to guard other stretch 4s or wing players on the perimeter.

He does have the athleticism to make up for some of his physical or technical shortcomings, but he has work to do to become a high-end two-way contributor in the NBA.

Toppin should make an impact for the Knicks as a rookie by providing frontcourt depth behind Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.

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.