By: Tobias Bass
2020 Draft Age: 22.30 (March 4, 1998)
Background: Obi Toppin is an uber-athletic scoring forward with a unique skill set that will translate perfectly in today’s NBA. A late bloomer that really took advantage of a redshirt year. Toppin was an academic issue during the 17-18 season. Overcame that with hard work on and off the court which made him the National Player of the Year.
Injury Report: (Public Information) No Major Injuries
Personality: Not a high energy guy, especially on defense. Won’t make many big effort plays in the same sequence. Although, he shoots a good percentage from three he passes out of open opportunities. At times doesn’t seem confident in his outside shot. Toppin play’s to his strengths well and is a willing passer that creates opportunities for his teammates to score.
Athleticism: Arguably the best vertical athlete prospect in this class. Led the nation in dunks at 107. Moves well in transition in a straight line, but has tight hips and doesn’t change direction well. (Heavy Feet). He has a good frame, but could some weight in his lower body that won’t take away from his pop as a rim runner.
Projected Role: All-Around Scoring 4, P&P Specialist, Post-Playmaker
Projected Draft Landing: Top 10 Pick
- High: Starter: Versatile scoring forward
- Could create a unique role for himself if he can make a good percent on C/S three-point shots. In the HC will be used often in P&R and P&P situations. Finishes around the rim very well. Above-average defender if he can improve footwork and focus when defending P&R/P&P situations.
- Medium: Starter or Top of Rotation: Spacing 4/ P&P Specialist
- Spacing 4 that makes outside shots at a decent percentage on C/S opportunities. Has the ability to cause havoc in the HC in P&P situations. Rim protection improves but still struggles when defending the P&R
- Low: Middle of rotation: Elite P&R threat
- Elite P&R threat with an average three-point percentage. Rim protection doesn’t improvement nor does his defensive footwork
- Scoring Versatility: Toppin has shown that he can score in a variety of ways. As a roll man, in the low-post, perimeter scoring, and off the catch. His form has some inconsistencies but that can be fixed. He doesn’t create many opportunities off the dribble as a shooter. As a straight-line driver he can throw down ferocious dunks at the rim. Toppin is a good shooter off the catch, but the volume is not there yet. Ranking in the 67th percentile (22/60, 65 points, 54.2 aFG%). Off the dribble he shot 6 of 69. Only 27% of his shots in the HC are jumpers, 42% is around the rim and 30% of his offense are post-ups.
- Finisher Around The Rim: Obi is a very high-level finisher with either hand. Finishes through contact with powerful dunks and is a crafty finisher with nice body control when contested. Great vertical athleticism especially off two feet which makes him a bigtime P&R threat. Smart cutter off the ball and picks his spots well when to dive when the ballhandler starts to drive. Also, he does a nice job cutting from the perimeter. Tries to dunk everything. Is prone to get bodied off his spot which forces him to attempt tougher chances at the basket. Body control and strong hands help him make tougher finishes.
- Passing: Really good all-around passer. Can make any pass with either hand. Great passer in the post and out of double-teams. Toppin can see the double team coming and makes quick accurate passes to shooters. Passes very well on the wing when he drives to the basket to cutters, open shooters, or drop-offs. Very versatile passer than you can run the offense through.
- Shot IQ: Really plays to his strengths and does a nice job of sticking to them. Does a nice job of using his size and athleticism to create his own shot. Soft-touch around the rim and uses his body well when he seals off defenders in the post. He doesn’t have a lot of moves in the post but makes a high percentage of his shot attempts.
- Shooting Confidence: Often Toppin will pass up wide-open threes and instead will pass out of it. He makes a good percentage, I’d like to see him shot those shots more often and make the defense respect it. Teams may question how good a shooter he is if he continues to hesitate. Toppin doesn’t take many shots off the dribble. Adding this to his game will make him more complete as an offensive player. He only took 11 shots off the dribble and made 4.
- Post Moves: 30 percent of Toppin offense comes in the post. He has very few moves and loves to spin going baseline. He has face-up potential but prefers to bully smaller defenders under the basket. Over time I would like to see him add a post-fadeaway or a more consistent spin-move to his game.
- Ball Handling: Toppin is comfortable handling the ball until he is pressured or forced to go left. The ball gets away from him unless he’s driving in a straight line. Toppin doesn’t change direction well or respond to defensive shifts as a driver.
- P&P Shot Making: Shoots a low percentage in this area (5/22, 22.7%). His release is delayed on the majority of P&R opportunities which he will have to fix. There is potential for him to thrive in this area, but he will have to fix his balance and footwork as a shooter first. His footwork has some inconsistencies in it which causes him to miss badly at times.
- Post Defense: Shows flashes of being a good post defender when motivated. He needs to work on his lower body strength and foot positioning to gain more leverage. On 73 possessions he gave up 54 points which is 0.74 PPP. Gambles too much for steals and struggles with bigger low-post players. The potential is there but needs to work on his discipline.
- ISO Defense Potential: Doesn’t fall for dribble moves and keep his hands high, but will drop them at times. Toppin can get downhill pretty quickly but his hips aren’t fluid.
- P&R/P&P Defense: Very poor when defending against this action. Often losses his man and is late contesting the jump shooter. Often caught out of position or opening up too much in his stance which allows the ball handler to blow by him. Must improve in this area, especially in today’s NBA.
- Communication: If he is not involved in the action he doesn’t talk much when calling out screens or communicating coverages. Will complain to teammates and does not take responsibility for his own mistakes
- Effort: Gives up on plays too often or relies too much on his athleticism as opposed to getting in a stance and defending. In P&R situations when rotating back to the shooter gives very little to no contest. Often drops back too far in coverages and has to many lapses in focus on the defensive end. He has a high center of gravity which affects his ability to be physical in the post.
- ISO Defense: Defensive stance needs work, feet are too close together and has slow hips. He doesn’t change direction well as a defender and his feet often cross instead of sliding. I would try to avoid switching with him on the floor due to his lack of mobility.
A versatile scoring forward that could create a unique role for himself if he continues to develop his outside game. Toppin’s skill-set should fare well in today’s NBA. If developed properly he could be more effective than Aaron Gordon. We could see a new trend of positionless basketball with Toppin on the offensive end. With Toppin’s skill-set and tools he should be able to fit with any team and make an immediate impact. Must work on his effort and footwork on defense to become a more well-rounded player. Toppin is on the higher end of safe prospects to draft in this class.