Age: 22 (March 4th, 1998)
Weight: 220 lbs
Toppin’s biggest strength is his athleticism as he has scouts drooling over the combination of length, size, and vertical. His ability to make a defense pay as a lob threat will be valuable. He also possesses a 7’2 wingspan that will help him be a weak-side rim protector at times. Obi can simply make plays most people aren’t capable of making. As a shooter, he is decent enough to make a defense pay if he’s left wide open and gets his feet set. Then as a passer, he can make some really nice passes that will surprise you. He is also comfortable dribbling with both hands. Toppin’s gonna be one of the better cutters in the NBA with his natural ability to move without the ball. Obi was never afraid of big moments too as he hit many clutch shots to help Dayton this past season. Defensively, Toppin can guard multiple positions in theory. He can capitalize against bad passes and turn steals into easy points. He also poses the threat as a rim protector at times with highlight-real blocks. He should be a very good rebounder as a four man because of that same athleticism that’s impossible to stop mentioning. He also seems like a good teammate
Unfortunately most of his pros defensively are more theoretical than actual. In reality he doesn’t have great instincts. He lacks the effort and discipline to sit in a stance and stay in front of his man. He can get backed down by centers fairly easy because he stands tall and just waits to time a potential block attempt. Then he will struggle in the NBA to create his own shot. He has miles to go as a dribbler and doesn’t have a good pull-up. His mechanics on his jumper aren’t great in general. First off, the ball has a little bit of a sideways spin at times and you can tell he uses his off-hand more than he should. Toppin’s jumper is also a little stiff with a low release point so despite the 41.7% from 3 in his career, those numbers don’t tell the whole story. He also is a guy that needs the ball in his hands fairly frequently without getting frustrated. If he didn’t touch the ball for 5+ possessions straight, he would practically just come and call for the ball and jack up a bad shot. This is not a good trait for someone who’s expected to do a lot of his work without the ball. However, he was by far the best player on Dayton so once he gets to the NBA, hopefully there’ll be a realization moment that he has to buy in.
Obi Toppin has real upside but the lack of ball-handling as well as his mentality makes me question how he will actually fit in the NBA. There’s only a few guys that possess the same athletic traits as him. Some of these names are John Collins, Aaron Gordon, and Blake Griffin before the injuries. Toppin reminds me a lot of Aaron Gordon in ways. Gordon definitely has improved his handle, but he still can’t create his shot despite crazy athleticism. It will be interesting to see what position people view him as. I believe PF will be the best position for him because at 6’9 and 220, he’d get bullied by average centers, which is what he played at college. The jump shot will improve over time, because he does have a very good work ethic and he wants to score. That’s just how he’s wired. He wants to be the main event and that can be a con in a way. Aaron Gordon could find a role on a lot of teams because he doesn’t demand a lot. Toppin will want to get 15+ shots a game. Some people think he can help a team in that way, but it most likely won’t work on a consistent basis for a winning organization. He will need a lot of spacing around him in order to capitalize his potential as a pick and roll man because that is where he will do most of his damage. Toppin is best at the rim and has a poor handle. He can’t just get the ball in an isolation and score like other elite players. Defensively, you would like to see him buy in, but he showed very little flashes of consistency on that end of the floor. He is also a little older than many of the top prospects. I think he lacks instincts of elite defenders, but with his athleticism, he should be more than serviceable. With his personality, I could definitely see him being a much better defender in bigger matchups/playoff games because he craves the attention. He will probably average close to 1 BPG once he’s getting 27+ minutes per game. Other than that though, I don’t know if an organization can truly trust him. He’s a great story coming out of nowhere this season, but there are too many serious question marks to be a top 5 pick most likely depending on the teams. Toppin is more in the 8-11 range, because he is most likely not a number 1 or 2 option for an offense. That is so concerning, because when he’s not getting his touches right now, he gets disengaged. This could be a part of the lack of competition, but at 22 years old, by NBA standards, you would hope he would have matured past this by now. Despite this, you’re still getting a player with athleticism only few possess and he has the work ethic to make it in the NBA. The ceiling may not be as high as some people hope, but he will still be a very good player in the NBA.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Sports-Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/obadiah-toppin-1.html)
Image found Sportsnaut (https://sportsnaut.com/2020/03/watch-daytons-obi-toppin-throws-down-absurd-between-the-legs-dunk/)