Chicago Bulls: Front office feels they can ‘mask’ Toppin’s weaknesses

Obi Toppin (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Obi Toppin (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Dayton Flyers former superstar sophomore forward Obi Toppin could be a possible NBA Draft Lottery target of the Chicago Bulls come Nov. 18.

An often discussed potential target for the Chicago Bulls with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is the former breakthrough superstar Dayton forward Obi Toppin. The 6-foot-9 and 220 pound reigning Naismith and Wooden Award winner is projected to fall well within the top 10 in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery.

But there’s also a very limited ceiling that Toppin appears to have compared to other forwards that sit this high up on most draft boards. His physical tools and limited mobility down low could also limit the role and ceiling that he has with whatever team he lands with in the 2020 draft.

That might not be the end all be all for Toppin at this level, though. According to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman on Oct. 19, there’s quite a few NBA front offices that feel like they can cover up a lot of the weaknesses that Toppin potentially brings to the table on the offensive end of the floor.

Apparently the Bulls aren’t the only team that has a front office/scouting department that feels like they can cover up whatever offensive weaknesses they feel Toppin has. This piece mentions that the Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, and Cleveland Cavaliers, are just a few of the other teams that are in the same boat in this school of thought pertaining to Toppin’s fit.

Here’s more on what this piece from Wasserman has to say on the matter.

"While teams may take needs and fit into account more this year (based on the perceived parity among prospects), there is a sense any team could take Toppin—including one he doesn’t fit perfectly with like the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers or Atlanta Hawks—because of the stronger likelihood he receives a best-player-available nod over more divisive prospects.He still falls under the perceived “safe” category with Tyrese Haliburton, Isaac Okoro, Deni Avdija and Onyeka Okongwu. But teams see more upside tied to Toppin’s vertical bounce, three-point shot, post game and passing. The perception is that he offers the most favorable ratio of risk and reward.Multiple NBA front office members told B/R they feel they can mask Toppin’s defensive weaknesses by playing him at center, where he won’t guard as much around the perimeter and can still use his athleticism for shot-blocking at the rim."

The Bulls might have a good potential draft target in Toppin if they already feel he’s the right fit in the scheme that the new front office regime wants to run under recently hired head coach Billy Donovan. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley do have a lot of ways they could go in this NBA Draft.

During his truly special and memorable 2019-20 season that was cut short in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic with the Dayton hoops program, Toppin was one of the nation’s best players. He played in 31 games with Dayton during their shortened 2019-20 campaign (all of which he started in).

And Toppin averaged 20.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks. He shot a stellar 63.3 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from beyond the arc, and 70.2 percent from the free-throw line.

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The 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place on Nov. 18 as it stands as of the afternoon of Oct. 19. We’re still in the midst of the draft scouting process in this dramatically altered offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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