After a tumultuous 2019-20 season, the New York Knicks were looking to bolster their team with a premium pick in the 202 NBA Draft, unfortunately, the lottery did not fall their way. The Knicks landed the 8th overall selection, putting them out of reach for the top prospects in the draft, but they managed to land a premium player regardless.
New York native Obi Toppin, who dropped to the 8th pick for the Knicks, was their easy selection.
Toppin’s godfather and mentor, Victor Monaros believed that despite being a bit undersized in high school, the young power forward had an advantage.
“He learned to understand how to play at a high level against the nationally-ranked programs. It’s not like going to a typical high school. For him coming in just to get the chance to play against the best kids, compete against the best talents all over the country. That was one of the biggest adjustments for him —understanding the pace of the game at a high level. Once he embraced that, we started to see him getting unleashed and make that great strides.”
Toppin spoke with the Knicks in a pre-draft interview, in which he stated it went “very well.”
“I spoke with the Knicks,” Toppin said on an NBA Zoom, according to Empire Sports Media’s own Alder Almo. “I had an interview with them. It went very well. They have a great organization. It would be great to go home but there’s a lot of other teams that are in front of them that are great too.”
For Dayton during the 2019-20 season, Toppin averaged 20 points and 6.4 defensive rebounds per game. He shot .633 from the field and .390 from beyond the arc, while he seldom took shots from downtown.
According to ESPN, Toppin is an “explosive leaper with solid size. Big hands. Runs the floor hard. One of the most efficient transition finishers in college basketball. Lob threat out of pick-and-roll and from the dunker spot.”
This is a big move for the Knicks, who needed to add a powerful player in their front-court, and Toppin fits the bill perfectly.