Where will Toppin land in draft? Picture clearer after NBA lottery

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton fans wish Obi Toppin luck in the NBA

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Most NBA Draft experts see former Dayton Flyers star Obi Toppin getting selected early in the first round, and after a long wait, Toppin now knows what teams have those picks.

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Thursday. The Golden State Warriors will pick second. The Charlotte Hornets will pick third. The Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers round out the top five.

One mock draft, updated by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony on Friday, predicted Toppin would go to the Bulls with the fourth pick. Another mock draft, by Sam Smith, of NBA.com, predicted the Hornets would selection Toppin.

Usually held in late June, the draft was pushed to Oct. 16 this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which also has prevented Toppin and the other top prospects from working out for scouts in person. Toppin was one of the players selected to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, which is expected to be a virtual event held at regional sites in September.

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When Toppin is drafted, he will be the first Dayton player taken in the first round since Jim Paxson in 1979. Paxson was drafted 12th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Interviewed by ESPN earlier this month, Toppin was asked what he will bring to a NBA team.

“I feel like my athleticism helps a lot,” Toppin said. “I run the floor really well. When I was at Dayton, they told me if I wasn’t getting the rebound, be the first one down the floor. As soon as the ball comes off the backboard and I know my teammate has it, I’m gone. I’m like a jet going down the court. I feel I can spread the floor a little bit. I can shoot a little bit. Pick-and-pop situations.”

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Toppin swept the major national player of the year awards in the spring after helping lead Dayton to the best record in school history (29-2) and a perfect season (18-0) in the Atlantic 10 Conference. In two seasons with the Flyers, Toppin scored 1,096 points. He entered his name in the draft in March.

If Toppin slips out of the top five, he could fall to any of these teams. Here’s the rest of the lottery order: 6. Atlanta; 7. Detroit; 8. New York; 9. Washington; 10. Phoenix; 11. San Antonio; 12. Sacramento; 13. New Orleans; 14. Boston from Memphis.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Toppin will hear his name called in the top five. A group of NBA writers from The Athletic combined to predict the top eight picks Friday and did not include Toppin, while another mock draft by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie predicted Toppin would go to his hometown New York Knicks with the No. 8 pick.

“Toppin is arguably the most skilled offensive forward in this draft class,” Vecenie wrote. “He’s a terrific shooter, a good decision-maker who can really pass it, he finishes around the rim at an elite level, and has some shot-creation ability off the bounce.