Projecting Where Obi Toppin Will Be Selected After 2020 NBA Draft Lottery

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Dayton forward Obi Toppin (1) dunks against Davidson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton won 82-67. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Gary Landers/Associated Press

In an NBA draft with few sure things, Dayton forward Obi Toppin could be the safest option in the class and an early pick in October.

The 2020 draft order was set with the lottery Thursday, with Minnesota Timberwolves landing the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Golden State Warriors and then the Charlotte Hornets. Though each of those teams could use Toppin, we're more likely to see high-upside players like LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Killian Hayes go off the board with the first few picks.

However, it won't be long before the 6'9" forward hears his name called.

Toppin went from an unranked prospect to the top player in men's college basketball in a span of a few years. He finished the 2019-20 season with averages of 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals on his way to winning both the Naismith and Wooden awards as the best player in the country.

The versatile player made 39.0 percent of his shots from three-point range during his final season (41.7 percent during his two-year career) while producing some highlight-reel in-game dunks:

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With an incredible 67.4 effective field-goal percentage and 32.5 player efficiency rating, per Sports Reference, it was clearly a dominant season from Toppin.

Though his play was enough to turn Dayton into an NCAA title contender, the coronavirus pandemic caused March Madness to be canceled. It ruined the opportunity for the Flyers to put together a deep run, potentially depriving Toppin of a chance to become more of a household name, but he still showed enough for teams to be excited about him.

Every squad drafting early could use the 22-year-old as someone who could contribute immediately, but the teams closer to competing might be the best options. 

The Golden State Warriors (No. 2), Washington Wizards (No. 9) and Phoenix Suns (No. 10) could each compete for playoff spots if they are healthy next season, and adding a ready-made starter like Toppin could be huge. 

The Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura last season, but the two have different styles and would be able to share the court in bigger lineups. The Suns could use someone to replace Dario Saric and provide some size next to Deandre Ayton.

Though the No. 2 spot could be early for the Warriors to pull the trigger, there could also be trades.

The best option for Toppin might come at No. 8 with the New York Knicks, who had a disappointing result on lottery night for the second straight year. This pick could allow the team to go relatively safe after several riskier options the past few seasons. RJ Barrett had more problems shooting last year than many expected, while Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina both had rough seasons.

Toppin could be exactly what is needed to get the franchise back on track while adding an important young piece to the team's core.