Warriors

Warriors, Toppin could be wild-card NBA draft pairing

Warriors

Eight months ago when quarantine started and the Warriors' 2019-20 season came to an end, there was a ton of talk about Golden State and Dayton star Obi Toppin.

Remember that?

One million news cycles later, the Warriors have been connected to every prospect from James Wiseman to Deni Avdija to Tyrese Haliburton and everyone in between. But perhaps the first feeling was the correct one.

With the 2020 NBA Draft one month away, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman asked around the NBA and got the sense Toppin is expected to be picked between No. 2 and No. 6.

Could the Warriors take Toppin at No. 2? Everything is on the table for Golden State.

"The Golden State Warriors are a wild card at No. 2 given the wide range of possibilities: taking Toppin for his NBA readiness, making a trade or filling a need with either Wiseman at center or one of the top-tier wings," Wasserman writes.

After speaking with a number of scouts and executives, it's clear that Toppin is seen as one of the draft's "safer" prospects, along with the likes of Avdija, Haliburton, Isaac Okoro and Onyeka Okongwu.

"He has great touch with both hands, and his shooting looks like it could be replicated over and over," one NBA executive told Wasserman. "A stretch 5 than can be a finisher is tough to ignore. He'll never be quick laterally, but he's capable."

 

According to Wasserman, the Minnesota Timberwolves, who own the No. 1 pick, are high on Toppin but it's unclear if they would take him atop the draft or just in a trade down.

The Warriors enter the offseason with plans to vault back into NBA title contention after a season at the bottom. They need to get another center, add a few wings and fill out their bench depth.

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In a draft with no generational talent, could Toppin in fact be the player the Warriors are looking for?

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward had an incredible final season with the Flyers, He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 63.3 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range. He has incredible leaping ability and his age (22) could be seen as a plus for a Warriors team that might not want to gamble on the immaturity of 18- and 19-year-olds.

Armed with great athleticism and the ability to score on all three levels, Toppin could become an elite offensive weapon in the NBA. Those skills would mesh well with a Warriors team that needs to add some more role player shooting and versatility. Toppin could fit nicely in a lineup with the Warriors' big four of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. While that lineup would be at a disadvantage height-wise against the likes of Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic, it's a unit that could have incredible offensive potential.

Toppin is really good in the two-man game and has shown flashes of being a good playmaker with the ball in his hands.

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Toppin's defense, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. He is long and gets into the passing lanes but will struggle defending on the perimeter early on in his NBA career.

However, some NBA officials told Wasserman that Toppin's defense wasn't a concern and they believed they could mask his issues.

The Warriors will have a number of options in front of them when they go on the clock at No. 2. A trade down remains a very realistic possibility. Wiseman, Avdija, Okoro and Haliburton all are likely possibilities as well.

But Toppin has a more polished offensive game than most of the prospects in the draft and just might be exactly what the Warriors are looking for.