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.