Knicks' Obi Toppin: 'Very Realistic' That I Could Win 2020-21 Rookie of Year

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIINovember 20, 2020

Dayton's Obi Toppin goes up to dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against George Washington, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)
Tony Tribble/Associated Press

Obi Toppin may have fallen to the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft, but the latest member of the New York Knicks is betting he'll be the best newcomer in the league this season.

Asked by Steve Serby of the New York Post how realistic a goal winning Rookie of the Year is for him, the Brooklyn native didn't hesitate. 

"Very realistic, especially with everyone I have around me," Toppin said.

Asked what kind of impact he thinks he can make as a rookie, Toppin said: "I feel like I can make a big impact, especially with the organization that I'm with, with Coach [Tom Thibodeau], I feel like we're all gonna grow and develop together and put New York back on the map and have fun with it."    

Should Toppin succeed, he'd become the first player to win the Wooden Award as college basketball's best player and NBA Rookie of the Year since Blake Griffin accomplished the feat in 2011. 

Kevin Durant, Elton Brand and Tim Duncan were the last to do it before Griffin. 

FanDuel Sportsbook gives Toppin the fourth-best odds to win Rookie of the Year at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) behind Charlotte Hornets point guard and No. 3 overall pick LaMelo Ball (+440). James Wiseman (+480) and Anthony Edwards (+500) are both ahead of Toppin as well. 

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The odds begin to separate significantly after Toppin, however, with Killian Hayes (+750) and Deni Avdija (+1400) following the Dayton product. 

Toppin's game seems tailor-made for the NBA. The 22-year-old forward averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game during his final college season while shooting 39 percent from behind the arc. 

As the Knicks continue rebuilding, Toppin should see plenty of minutes and receive every opportunity to develop his skillset at the pro level as possible. 


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