Warriors: 2020 NBA Draft prospect Obi Toppin wants to play for Golden State

Warriors, Obi Toppin (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Warriors, Obi Toppin (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors are eyeing the top prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft and one player who might want to play for them is Dayton product Obi Toppin.

The Golden State Warriors may be on hiatus with the rest of the NBA, but that doesn’t mean the 2020 NBA Draft grind stops. Even though the draft may be pushed back, the Warriors are still eyeing a number of prospects including Dayton forward Obi Toppin.

Toppin’s name has come up in relation to the Warriors recently after his parents were interviewed on an edition of the “Raising Fame” podcast with Dell and Sonya Curry, the famed parents of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

When asked which team their son Obi wanted to play for, his mother, Roni, replied without hesitation, “Golden State. Let’s go to the Bay.”

His father, Obadiah, is a notable street-baller in the Brooklyn area who played for multiple semi-professional teams in his day. He chimed in as well and gave praise to Dell and Sonya’s son.

"“I got my few point guards that I always dreamed of playing for, just because they were the truest point guards — like Steph Curry. I think Obi would be great playing with Steph Curry.”"

Of course, this is all just discussion and it’s not as if Toppin’s parents can determine his landing spot. But it’s worth analyzing the possible fit between the Dayton forward and the Warriors.

Toppin is a 6-foot-9 power forward who is probably the fastest-rising prospect in this year’s class. A late-bloomer, the 22-year-old didn’t even play varsity basketball until his senior year of high school and measured in at just 6-foot-2 as a junior.

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After averaging 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds as a redshirt freshman, Toppin originally declared for the 2019 NBA Draft. But the Brooklyn native decided to return for his sophomore season after receiving feedback that he’d be a second-round pick.

And within one season, Toppin has seen his draft stock skyrocket.

Toppin was the only player unanimously voted to the Associated Press All-America first team and, on top of that, he was named the AP Player of the Year after leading Dayton to a 29-2 record this season.

The Flyers were ranked No. 3 in the latest AP polls and were expected to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament before it was canceled. Much of that was due to Toppin’s success.

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As a stretch-four, Obi Toppin could fill a similar role to Draymond Green on the Warriors. He has ample energy on offense, is a smart passer, and can shoot efficiently from beyond the arc. That alone makes him a perfect fit for Steve Kerr‘s system.

The one major knock on Toppin, however, is his lackluster defense. The noticeable drop in energy when he’s on defense as compared to when he’s on offense is worrisome and the Warriors must determine if his defensive woes are a result of poor effort or simple inability.

Players can get better on defense if they’re willing. If Toppin wants to play for the Warriors — a team that places a heavy emphasis on role players playing defense — he’ll need to show a willingness to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

The possibilities are endless if that’s the case. Drafting Toppin would allow the Warriors to play Green at the five utilizing a proper small-ball lineup. His athletic profile and offensive upside are definitely appealing.

But he must show that he could play defense if he’s going to be a fit on the Warriors. Look no further than D’Angelo Russell for proof of failed experiments with players who couldn’t play defense.

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The Warriors have options, but Obi Toppin could be one of their most intriguing.