The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Obi Toppin
2019/20 stats: 31 G, 31.6 mpg, 20.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.2 bpg, 63.3 FG% (7.9/12.5), 39.0 3PT% (1.0/2.6), 70.2 FT%
Player comparison: Amar'e Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 7th, Sports Illustrated 9th, Ringer 11th, NBADraft.net 2nd, Bleacher Report 4th
5 things to know:
*Many anticipated that Toppin was going to have an explosive sophomore season with the Dayton Flyers. No one could have guessed that he and the Flyers were going to take the college basketball world by storm by season's end. Toppin won the prestigious 2020 Naismith Player of the Year award and Player of the Year awards from the AP, the USBWA, the NABC, CBS Sports, The Athletic and many more.
*Toppin is a player that immediately draws attention on the floor and a future dunk contest competitor. He's electric and loves to attack downhill at any small window he sees. Pair that with flashes of great vision and passing skills, he is a huge threat to score and set up his teammates on every possession. He's a perfect fit for the modern NBA. The comparisons to Amar'e Stoudemire and Tracy McGrady are not light either. He has nasty dunking skills and also has elite athleticism that is among the best in the entire class. In two years with the Flyers, he recorded 190 dunks, a program record. Like McGrady, he can step it out from behind the arc and has fantastic handles for his size.
*At 22, Toppin is the oldest projected lottery pick in this year's draft. In his freshman season at Dayton, he was forced to redshirt after academic eligibility issues. Typically teams are inclined to draft younger players toward the front of the draft due to maximizing the longevity of their career and entering the league with less of a load on their body.
*After high school, Toppin shockingly had no Division I offers. Enrolling for one year at Mt. Zion Preparatory School, he received several offers the following season from around the country, including Georgetown, Georgia and Texas Tech.
*His dad, Obadiah, played professionally across several former US leagues. He played for a while with the USBL's Brooklyn Kings and the Harlem Strong Dogs in the ABA.
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Fit with Wizards:
If Toppin is available when the Wizards make their first-round selection, Washington is going to have to make a tough decision. Unless the Wizards get up into the top five, in all likelihood Toppin will be the best all-around prospect that could plug and play immediately.
Ideally, that is who the Wizards are looking for; someone that can immediately contribute rather than developing a player for the future.
However, Washington drafted its dynamic, athletic forward just a year ago in Rui Hachimura. Toppin and Hachimura both possess similar games and play the same spot on the floor. One could make the argument that they could coexist, but it would be hard to fit them both on the floor with John Wall and Bradley Beal as the backcourt. In some ways, Toppin is a more-exciting option and is a late bloomer which leads many to believe that last year was just the beginning for him.
If the Wizards believe the two could fit together on a small-ball lineup, then Toppin could be a legitimate option. While doing so, they would sacrifice size from a rim protector's standpoint and relying on the offensive ability to carry the unit.
There's also the age question. Toppin is 22, which is two, in some cases three years older than many other options at the top of the draft. Analysts regarded Hachimura as an 'old player' when the Wizards drafted him last year. Hachimura is only a month older than Toppin and has a year of NBA experience.
Toppin is one of the few draft prospects that is projected to be All-Star caliber within a handful of years. His style will make him a fan-favorite and it will be hard for teams to pass on his upside. For the Wizards, they just wouldn't be building on the roster that was set in place by the last two first-round selections.
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