Cleveland Cavaliers draft chatter: Obi Toppin not a fit

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

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and while Obi Toppin’s stock is rising, there’s a case he wouldn’t be a great fit.

With COVID-19 at front and center of the news everyday, a lot of sports talk is prognosticating the future. Who’s signing where? Whom are the Browns going to draft? Well, the same discussion applies to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2020 NBA Draft.

Dayton big man Obi Toppin won me over back in December, long before the Flyers worked their way up the national rankings. At 6-foot-9, the kid is a dunk machine who is more than capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. Plus, he can even dribble a little bit thanks to his time as a guard in high school.

Factor in that Toppin is 22, with two full college seasons under his belt, and you’ve got to like the fact the Cavs might be getting a player who might be a little more seasoned than many of the other prospects pegged for the top of the draft.

Cavs GM Koby Altman and assistant GM Mike Gansey have scouted Toppin in person, twice, however,’s Chris Fedor doesn’t see the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year as a fit because he’ll likely play the four or five.

"“The view I’ve heard recently is that Toppin’s NBA home will probably at the 5, which is how Dayton used him — a high ball screener who can roll and fly to the rim. At least one executive sees him as a 4 who will also play some small-ball 5.”"

Fedor went on to compare Toppin to Larry Nance Jr., while also pointing out the position he’d play is occupied by Nance, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Andrew Drummond. There’s a chance, that every single one of those players could be gone by the time next season tips, with the exception of Nance.

Thompson is a free agent, while Love wants traded. Drummond has to opt into his contract and he’ll likely do it because no one else is likely to give him the $25 million he’ll earn simply by doing some paper work to stay in Cleveland.

I don’t think the Nance comparison is that far off, however, I do see Toppin as more as an explosive force inside. As Fedor noted, the guy flies to the rim. No one uses those words to describe Nance.

There’s a long way to go until draft day, and unfortunately we were robbed of the opportunity to see if Toppin could carry UD to the national title.

There may be one player I’d take ahead of Toppin, and that’s Georgia 3 Anthony Edwards. Even then, it’s not a slam dunk choice.

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Toppin is really good basketball. If you saw any UD game this year, you’d recognize that fact in two minutes. He’d be worth Cleveland’s top pick in my book.