If you've dreamed of having a power forward on your favorite NBA team that consistently looks to terrorize rims with his power and athletic ability...then Dayton's Obi Toppin is your guy. The 2019-20 NCAA Player of the Year, Toppin was a walking highlight machine on a nightly basis. There's plenty to be in love with when you take a deeper dive into his game. He has a fantastic combination of explosiveness and athletic ability. One of the best parts of Toppin's ability is his Basketball IQ, especially on the offensive side of the ball. While some prospects with Toppin's ability might settle for outside shots, Obi demonstrates a great recognition of showing patience to get high percentage shots. He also does a great job of knowing how to put his teammates in the best position to succeed. While Toppin will draw plenty of criticism for his play on the defensive side of the ball, the offensive tools leave you drooling when you project his potential at the NBA level. Another thing that needs to be pointed out when looking at the NBA potential of the former Dayton Flyer is Toppin's age. Toppin recently just turned 22 in March and with the 20-21 season projected to potentially not start until December, that means that Toppin could be a 23-year-old rookie.
As you'll see throughout this Film Room, Obi Toppin is an athletic marvel. It doesn't pop off of the tape immediately, it hits you more like a jump scare in the middle of a dramatic scene in a horror movie. Toppin has phenomenal lower body strength and can jump with the best of them. Right here is a perfect example of Toppin using some rapid explosiveness to finish this putback slam. Notice how quickly he can load up and use his length to finish above the rim.
This is one of the more underrated aspects of Toppin's game. It's easy to be in awe of his ability to live above the rim, but Toppin will entice NBA organizations as a Top 10 selection due to his overall ability to stretch the defense. One of favorite things about Toppin is his proper understanding of his ability. He knows he can work to get to positions that improve his percentages from the field or get better looks. But, Obi also knows he can make himself a more dangerous player if he shows teams he's able to hit the outside shot. Nice little ball fake after a pop from a P&R here and Toppin shows us his simple shooting form. Nothing too fancy and it's solid moving forward for a player of his position.
This is a good demonstration of the offensive versatility that Toppin has in his game. Too many people fall in love with Toppin's ability in transition when it comes to playing above the rim. Yes, he's an incredible athlete that is a threat to start printing posters whenever he has some daylight. But the part of his game that has seriously caught my attention is his ability in the post. Toppin has a great understanding of letting the game come to him. Along with that, his awareness on the offensive side of the ball is fantastic. Too many possessions Toppin will get the ball and patiently pick apart a defense in order to get a better shot. Right here Toppin get's the ball at the elbow and while this play might look a bit "vanilla" to some, there's plenty to be impressed by. The footwork is outstanding, and Toppin has this defender all over the place.
While there's going to be plenty of evaluators that are turned off by Toppin's defensive ability (especially when covering P&R situations) he shows the potential to become an asset on the defensive side of the ball. There's going to be plenty of head scratching plays when you focus on Toppin defensively. Some question whether or not it was Toppin trying to "save energy" throughout games. Others wonder if there's simply a lack of desire. While you can pencil me in as one of those doubters when it comes to his ability as a P&R defender, I think there's some potential for Toppin to unlock numerous levels to his defensive ability. Here good example of Toppin's timing and how he can use his length+athleticism.
If you've watched Toppin at all this year, you know that this was almost an every game type of highlight.
Notice the big man run the floor. Great job of getting up the middle of the court and keeping his head on the ball. Once he sees that he has an opening, as well as getting the attention of his teammate, Toppin throws his hand up and finishes with a quick gather.
TRANSITION THREAT PART II
Another example of Obi's ability to run the floor. He doesn't move like a 6'9 stocky forward. Toppin looks like a wing here. It doesn't take him long to get up to top speed and his hands are impressive in the open floor.
This is one of my favorite Toppin possessions and allow me to educate you why. This set by Dayton does a great job of creating a lot of movement away from the ball. Toppin has a choice here once he receives the pass up top. He can hand this off to his teammate on the wing or he can go to work. Notice the patience and ability by Toppin to set up his defender. He knows that he can create a higher percentage shot if he works for it. The result? An and-one opportunity.
PICK AND POP
This is how you get teams intrigued in the Top 10 of the Draft. Toppin's offensive firepower is the real deal and if his outside shot can continue to take steps forward, he's going to be a problem on the offensive side of the ball. While Toppin has this weapon in his game, he does a great of knowing not to "overuse" it. Obi has a great basketball IQ and shows intelligence.
POST WORK PART II
Again, if you want to sell yourself on the offensive ability of Obi Toppin...it starts here, not just the high-flying ability. Toppin can go to absolute work in the post because of his anticipation, quickness, and footwork. Notice the ability here for Toppin to catch the ball and immediately feel that he has an advantage against the defender. A quick baseline spin and Toppin is flying.
It's not going to be a surprise when Obi Toppin goes in the Top 10 come draft night. The discussion that needs to be had is...where does Toppin fit best? He's going to intrigue NBA organizations that are looking to add some offensive firepower. As things stand right now, Toppin's name should start to warrant consideration right around Cleveland at #5. While Cleveland has plenty of forwards in the stable already, Toppin could be a nice piece to move forward with, pending the Cavaliers figure out if they want to keep Kevin Love around or try to move him. New York is still a team at number 8 that I believe will give Toppin a serious consideration. His offensive ability would be a nice piece to add the puzzle alongside last year's lottery selection RJ Barrett.