"I think eight is definitely the lowest he goes," ESPN's Jonathan Givony said of Dayton's Obi Toppin on the Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe (h/t RealGM). "The guy who recruited him all year who signed him, you know, is running the team that has the number eight pick. I think from all understanding, he's dying to get Obi Toppin. There's nobody that he trusts more in this draft. We're talking about Leon Rose and the Knicks."
Unfortunately for the Knicks, Toppin may not be available at No. 8.
"I can't see any scenario that Toppin goes below eight," Givony said. "I think honestly he's going four or five. I really don't think he's going very far. He was the best player in college basketball. They were a number one seed. He fits the modern NBA offensively really, really well."
There aren't many concerns with Toppin's game, but he does turn 23 years old in March.
That means he'll have a shorter prime than some of the other players in the draft if he takes a couple of seasons to adjust to the NBA level. That is a fair worry for any team near the top of the draft, although Givony suggested it won't be enough to knock the Dayton product all the way to the Knicks.
Toppin was a dominant presence in his final collegiate season as the Associated Press Player of the Year, Wooden Award winner, Naismith College Player of the Year, A-10 Player of the Year and consensus All-American.
He averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals while shooting 63.3 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from three-point range as someone who can stuff the stat sheet and take over on either end of the floor.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Toppin to go No. 5 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the Knicks selecting Auburn's Isaac Okoro at No. 8.
Whichever player the Knicks select will face the pressure of trying to help turn around a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs since the 2012-13 campaign.