Height/Weight: 6’9, 220 lbs.
Obi Toppin is a one of a kind athlete who took the NCAA by storm this season. He showed us flashes in his freshman campaign at Dayton, but he took it to a whole new level in his sophomore year.
The athleticism is the first thing that jumps out for Obi Toppin. He’s completed two eastbay dunks in live game action since arriving to Dayton. That’s the athleticism that we know about, but the athlete part extends far passed just a vertical leap. Obi is fantastic in transition. He is so great at running the floor for his size and always seems to be in great position for easy transition buckets.
In the half-court, Obi’s bread and butter is in the paint. On the block, not many players in college basketball were able to stop in. Most teams, if not all, had to bring the double nearly every single time he touched the ball in the paint. He can finish with either hand, but especially loves to go to that right hand hook off of the spin on the block.
The greatest strength for Obi Toppin in the paint is his quick decision making. He is great at recognizing when the double team comes and greatly improved on that throughout his sophomore season. Obi makes strong and direct passes once that double comes and it, more often than not, ends in a three for Dayton from one of his teammates. Even if the double doesn’t come, he gets right into his action in the paint once he gets the ball. There is no waiting around from him.
Obi’s shooting mechanics are very solid. He shot just under 40% from deep on the year and above 70% from the line on the season. He may not be a 40% shooter from deep in the NBA, but he certainly will force the defense to get out on him and there’s a chance he can become very good from there as he continues to work on his game.
The corner is where Obi loves to go, to be able to shoot the shot from three point range. He loves to float on the perimeter as he was the main screen setter for Dayton, so Obi became familiar with pick and rolls and pick and pops. It seemed as though he was most comfortable spotting up on the wing or in the corner.
Keep in mind that Obi Toppin was playing center for Dayton. That not only means that he was doing the jump ball each game, but also that he was going up against the strongest players on the court night after night. Obi projects more as a PF in the NBA, but his willingness and ability to play multiple positions if needed will be a huge positive for NBA teams.
The last strength to discuss for Obi Toppin is his IQ and personality. Obi is such a great kid that everyone wants to be around. Once Obi gets on the phone with each NBA team, he will impress each and every single team. He’s someone you want on your team because he’s going to work hard, accept his role, and is very intelligent.
Obi Toppin isn’t a creator on offense. He isn’t someone who is going to create his own shot with an array of dribble moves if it’s anything more extensive than a straight line drive to the basket. Now, he wasn’t asked to do that because of how dominant he was in the paint, but it’s something to certainly monitor for Obi. Many of his turnovers have come from the inability for him to handle the ball at an elite level.
Obi’s defense is certainly concerning for NBA scouts. In college, he was a paint defender. He protected the rim adequately (1.2 BLK/G), but he’ll be asked to defend more on the perimeter in the NBA. There isn’t much tape of him defending out there, but he has a tendency to not move his feet as well as we know he can. His closeouts are also very poor at times as he primes himself for a block when it’s not needed out there given how long he is.
Toppin turned 22 in the beginning of March. I believe we’ve moved on from using age as a huge indicator when scouting prospects, but it certainly should be noted.
I mentioned the good mechanics in Obi Toppin’s jumper from earlier, but we still will need him to fully prove his ability to shoot from NBA distance. At Dayton, he wasn’t someone who shot from too deep. It’ll certainly take an adjustment for Obi.
There is a reason why Obi Toppin was the National Player of the Year in college basketball. He is just THAT good. Obi has the makings of being a classic case of a star college player that people overlook. He is quick, smart, and will fit into any NBA team.
I believe there is a strong case to be made that Obi Toppin should be the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. There still is LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, and a few others that deserve consideration and will most likely earn a higher pick in the draft. Obi will undoubtedly be a top 10 pick and should have a very good NBA career.