Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report
Player: Obi Toppin
Pro Comparison: John Collins
Scouting Report: Obi 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:
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)
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.