The New York Knicks have selected Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Toppin, the consensus National Player of the Year after a stellar season at Dayton, is one of the lottery's more unorthodox prospects. He didn't play for a blue-blood collegiate program, and at 22-years-old, will be among the oldest players selected in this class. But his production at Dayton speaks for itself, and unlike many previous college stars to flameout as professionals, at least some of Toppin's game should translate well to the NBA.
Toppin is going to be an excellent pick-and-roll finisher even as a rookie thanks to his elite leaping ability and craft near the basket. That alone makes him a valuable offensive player. His chance at stardom relies on the rest of his promising offensive game. Toppin made 39 percent of his 3-pointers last season at Dayton. He handles the ball well for a big man, and while his size could be a limitation in the post against centers, he should thrive against mismatches off of switches. He's drawn comparisons to Amar'e Stoudemire for a reason. Toppin has a chance to be the very best offensive player in this class.
He'll have to be in order to make up for his defensive shortcomings, though. Toppin is too small to play center and not nearly quick enough to function as a modern power forward on defense. He doesn't move well laterally, he's often in the wrong place schematically and is a fairly underwhelming rebounder. Toppin's future relies on finding a way to at least play average defense. With his offensive upside, that's all he needs.
That is especially true now that he'll be paired with Mitchell Robinson, one of the best young defensive big men in basketball. A decade ago, the Knicks added Stoudemire in free agency and kicked off the best stretch of basketball this franchise has seen this century. Now, in Toppin, they've found a similar talent. The Knicks may have plenty of power forwards on their roster, but Toppin should own the position for them moving forward.
NBA Draft grade: A+
The Knicks obviously need a lot, but that fan base will love this guy. They desperately want something to be excited about. Toppin can be that. I would not have taken him first overall, but he should not have dropped this far and should be the favorite for rookie of the year. -- Gary Parrish