As the Nov. 18 NBA draft draws nearer, the Cleveland Cavaliers will take a closer look at Dayton forward Obi Toppin via a private workout this week in New Jersey, according to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor.
Fedor reported that general manager Koby Altman, assistant general manager Mike Gansey and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will travel for the private, in-person workout and a meal, which will allow them "to get to know him better on a personal level."
Toppin, who set the Dayton program record for dunks in a season, is one of "six or seven prospects" being considered by Cleveland for the the fifth pick in the upcoming draft, though it has met virtually with around 100 prospects. The teams in front of the Cavaliers—the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls—are also showing interest in the 6'9" Brooklyn native, who did some draft preparation in Las Vegas but is now closer to home.
League rules allow teams to conduct 10 in-person workouts with no more than four team personnel present, including a member of the medical staff, as the NBA navigates a draft during a pandemic. In speaking with Cleveland.com, Bickerstaff expressed the importance of meeting with prospects for in-person evaluation:
"Coaches, we want to see how big a guy is. It's not always easy to tell. Let's say a guy plays in a smaller conference and he's 6-7 but he looks 6-11. How big is he? How thick is he? How fast does he move? When you're watching him and he's working with whoever, can he listen? Whatever the drill that is being explained to him, can he pick that up? Those are all things you can't necessarily see on tape. You don't know what coaches are running and you don't know what defensive schemes are being run or how they're teaching it. So, to not be able to see that in person has been disadvantage with all this going on, but hopefully with the league's rules changing we are going to be able to see more of them if they allow us."
Fedor also reported that the team is still waiting on confirmation of in-person workouts for Auburn's Isaac Okoro and Israel's Deni Avdija, both of whom are working out near Atlanta.