If Obi Toppin is on the board and the Bulls keep and use their No. 4 selection in the Nov. 18 NBA draft on him, don’t say you weren’t warned.
On the draft lottery night in August when the Bulls moved up from the seventh pick, executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas emphasized that, when drafting, he focuses on best talent available, not fit or position.
And the high-flying, 6-foot-9 Toppin just happens to play power forward. That’s where the Bulls currently employ Lauri Markkanen, Thad Young and even Chandler Hutchison or Wendell Carter Jr. in some lineups.
By all accounts, Toppin is an explosive, athletic prospect who drew a comp to Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins from one Eastern Conference scout, who spoke to NBC Sports Chicago on background about the draft.
Toppin’s ability to run the floor hard and fast might remind Bulls fans of Daniel Gafford. And the Dayton forward's limited half court game, in which he currently mostly favors a baby hook, also might be reminiscent of Gafford's.
However, a Western Conference executive cited Toppin’s strong shooting form as a reason he believes his offensive game will evolve. Indeed, Toppin shot 39 percent from 3-point range in his sophomore season at Dayton (82 attempts), albeit from the shorter collegiate distance.
Where Toppin has acres to grow is defensively. Phrases like “he’s raw” and “a mess” were offered in background conversations with the scouts and executives. He also gets pushed out of rebounding position too often and will need to strengthen his base.
But for athleticism and upside, Toppin will check plenty of boxes for some team soon. Will it be the Bulls? They'll be on the clock soon enough.