New York Knicks Draft: Former NBA All Star Draws Similarities Between Obi Toppin and Kristaps Porzingis

Published 11/30/2020, 5:15 AM EST


The New York Knicks were very lucky on one front this offseason. Despite having the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, they landed one of the top prospects, Obi Toppin. They wanted Toppin so badly that they were rumored to be in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers to strike a deal to move up to the 5th pick.

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The 22-year-old was the 2020 National College Player of the Year. In his sophomore year at Dayton, Obi averaged 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1 steal, and 1.2 blocks. Shooting 63 percent from the field, he made it clear that he has the ability to create an impact in many ways.

Not only is he a 6’9 efficient scorer, but his defensive abilities and rebounding skills are also good too. However, the reason the Cavaliers didn’t pick him was that they weren’t convinced with his defensive abilities. Cleveland has had the worst defense since the past two seasons. So they decided to pick a top wing defender, Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, instead. This led to Obi falling miraculously into the Knicks’ lap.

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Feb 8, 2020; Dayton, Ohio, USA; Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin (1) reacts after he dunks the ball against the Saint Louis Billikens in the first half at University of Dayton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Is Obi Toppin what the Knicks need?

A former All-Star, Wally Szczerbiak, who is well versed with Dayton University since he has played many games against them, talked about Toppin going to the Knicks.

“He’s NBA-ready right now,’’  Szczerbiak told The Post. “He continued to get better every year. He’s a completely mature, physical specimen, an incredible athlete. He’s a capable outside shooter at the college level and it will translate to the NBA.”

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Szczerbiak also claimed that this was similar to the 2015 NBA Draft when Kristaps Porzingis fell to No. 4.

“Obi is ready to go and contribute,’’ Szczerbiak said. “The Knicks were very fortunate. It’s similar to [Kristaps] Porzingis falling to four. People were wondering if KP would go top three, but Philly took [Jahlil] Okafor [at three]. And [Porzingis] became an All-Star as a Knick. Hopefully, the same situation works out. I foresee [Toppin] to be very effective and having a great career.”

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The Knicks had other intriguing options, which they gave up to select Obi Toppin. There are doubts that Toppin might have trouble sharing the floor with Julius Randle. While the Knicks might have been lucky in landing Toppin, are they lucky enough for him to be the perfect piece for their franchise?

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Yashima Bhatia

1329 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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