Knicks take Dayton star Obi Toppin with No. 8 pick of 2020 NBA Draft

Obi Toppin Knicks
Obi Toppin fell to the Knicks at eighth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have selected forward Obi Toppin out of Dayton with the eighth pick of the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.

Toppin was originally expected to be a top-five selection after coming out of nowhere to win the Naismith, AP, and John Wooden awards as the best player in college basketball. At 6-foot-9, the 22-year-old averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during his second season starting at the Atlantic-10 school.

Initial rumors tabbed the Knicks to be interested in moving up to the No. 5 pick — held by the Cleveland Cavaliers — to get Toppin. With an additional first-round draft pick, originally obtained from the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks traded the No. 27 pick and a second-round selection (No. 38) to the Utah Jazz for the 23rd pick, which could have been used with the No. 8 pick to move up.

Toppin, an Ossining, NY native, built his reputation as a high-flying highlight-reel maker above the rim as a strong finisher near the basket. With a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a strong frame, he’s able to do so with authority through contact as well, making him a prime candidate to immediately contribute to New York’s frontcourt. 

He possesses the versatility to play both forward positions and even the center position at times in a small lineup, pairing a surprisingly strong outside game with his affluent interior play. In 64 games at Dayton, he shot 41.7% from three-point range

In the Knicks’ system, Toppin is slated to play at the 4 (power forward) between RJ Barrett at small forward and Mitchell Robinson at center to suddenly create a young, very promising trio in New York’s frontcourt.