Warriors: Obi Toppin is an underrated 2020 NBA Draft prospect

The Golden State Warriors should have their eyes on one of the most underrated prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft in Dayton star Obi Toppin.

The Golden State Warriors, like every other NBA team, face a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to the 2019 season. However, unlike most other teams, the Warriors can be confident in one fact — they are the overwhelming favorites to hold the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Throughout most of the NCAA basketball and NBA seasons, there have been three consensus names atop most draft boards.

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is typically the top-ranked prospect, followed by Memphis’ James Wiseman and the Australian National Basketball League’s (NBL) star LaMelo Ball.

However, there could be a fourth option rocketing up draft boards — Dayton forward Obi Toppin. Here’s why the Warriors should consider him with their first-round draft pick.

The Talent

The 6-foot-9 wing enjoyed a breakout year during his sophomore season in 2019. He averaged 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks on 63% shooting. He also shot a blistering 39% on threes, while taking over two and a half per game.

Additionally, he collected an array of highlight reel dunks that made it apparent he was ready to compete at the next level.

He has an intriguing blend of athleticism, power, and shooting ability. He is likely to fill the power forward spot in the NBA, while potentially being a center in small-ball lineups.

Some have even compared his game to former All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire. While he lacks the size to dominate the center position as Stoudemire did during his prime, he does have similar explosiveness.

Toppin’s 6-foot-9 frame is also much more valuable in a modern NBA that tends to focus less on height than ever before.

The Fit

Toppin’s potential fit on Steve Kerr’s roster is one of the most intriguing aspects of this union. While Wiseman, Edwards, and Ball are all talented, none of them possess a consistent outside shot.

In fact, barring a Kawhi Leonard-like improvement by any of the players in that trio, Toppin will likely have the best career as an outside shooter.

This is a critical component in the Warriors’ system. The team fully expects to have a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to join Draymond Green and the newly-acquired Andrew Wiggins.

Golden State is clearly at their best when they have five players on the court who can stretch the floor and maximize space.

Wiseman would be an amazing rim-runner, but he could also clog the lane. Ball’s passing and rebounding skills would make a fast-paced Warriors team even more dangerous. But he, much like his brother Lonzo Ball, has struggled with shooting form and consistency.

Edwards has an NBA-ready body and ability to finish around the rim. However, he was a sub-30 percent shooter during his only season at Georgia. It will be interesting to see with Kerr and Bob Myers believe he is capable of developing a jumper.

Toppin also brings more to the table than just his shooting ability. His athleticism would also be a major asset.

Players like JaVale McGee, Marquese Chriss, Andrew Bogut, and David West have all found success as rim-runners in Golden State’s system. While Toppin lacks the size of a player like McGee, his dunking ability could help him fill a similar role.

Imagine a scenario where Curry brings the ball up the court, Thompson, Green, Wiggins, and Toppin are all in position as shooters, and Toppin cuts hard to the basket to finish a Curry alley-opp.

It could be an incredibly dynamic offense.

For what it’s worth Toppin recently made news when it was revealed that he has a special interest in playing in the Bay Area.

The Conclusion

At the end of the day, Edwards’ natural scoring ability would be difficult to pass up. He has been the consensus No. 1 pick for a reason.

While Wiseman’s abrupt departure from Memphis also robbed many scouts of an opportunity to see him develop, a skilled seven-footer who moves well will always be a valuable commodity.

However, the Warriors are a smart team. They would be foolish to limit their consideration to a small handful of players at the top of everyone’s board.

There is also a precedent of players surging up boards at the last minute. In 2008, Michael Beasley was considered to be the obvious first overall pick. That is, until a guard from a smaller school named Derrick Rose rightfully claimed the top spot.

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Toppin’s skill set and potential fit make him worthy of jumping into the top tier of college prospects.

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