Warriors

Why Warriors drafting Toppin would 'terrify' Mike Wilbon

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From a very early point in the preparation process for the 2020 NBA Draft, Warriors fans became quite familiar with the name Obi Toppin.

The Dayton product swept the awards circuit in the abbreviated 2019-20 NCAA season, winning both the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award, which are given annually to the nation's top college player. ESPN's Michael Wilbon, a Chicago native who has spent decades as a sports columnist, explained to 95.7 The Game Wednesday why he's so high on Toppin, and hopes the Warriors don't draft him at No. 2 overall.

"As a Chicagoan and a Bulls fan picking at four, I want Obi Toppin," Wilbon said Wednesday. "I'm terrified that the Warriors are gonna take him, and because he's 22 years old, and played four years of college, I'm terrified that they're going to take him and win with him. At 6'8, 6'9, he fits perfectly what the Warriors do."

Toppin's experience likely would make adapting to the Warriors' schemes and rotations much easier than it would be for a younger, more raw player like James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball.

Primarily playing power forward during his time with the Flyers, Toppin has shown an ability to shoot and score and a variety of ways. At 220 pounds coming out of college, he also won't need to make as much of a body transformation to hold up in the more physical NBA.

 
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His defense does offer some concern, as he didn't show much of a skillset in defending the rim despite playing center frequently in college, and his mobility away from the basket isn't where you'd like it to be for someone who likely will be asked to play multiple positions in the NBA.

Many teams also would be scared off by a draft prospect who is a full three years older than much of his lottery contemporaries, as not many 22-year-olds go in the top five. But as we saw with Eric Paschall last season and Draymond Green years before him, general manager Bob Myers isn't fazed by a four-year college player.

Whoever the Warriors select at No. 2 (or acquire through a trade with the pick) will be joining a roster hoping to instantly return to title contention. After finishing with the NBA's worst record in 2019-20, Klay Thompson is expected to return at 100 percent after missing the entire season with a torn ACL, while Steph Curry and Draymond Green got their first extended offseason to heal after a taxing five-year stretch of runs to the NBA Finals.