Despite James Wiseman and Deni Avdija being on the board in their mock, Yahoo thinks Obi Toppin will go to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Trying to predict who’s going to fall where within the NBA Draft is maddening. Where the Cleveland Cavaliers fall in the NBA lottery is nearly impossible to predict. Then you have the uncertainty of the prospects coming out, as so many fail at transitioning. Sure, you have your “can’t miss prospects” that rarely fall flat but most of the time you see guys get listed on things like “athletism” when they can’t move laterally, or “great” defenders because they were 7’1 in high school, playing against centers who were, at best, 5’8. Yet, Obi Toppin has excited a lot of people and a lot of outlets think he’ll end up with the Cavs.
Toppin was on his way to having a great season, and with the NCAA tournament just around the corner, the 29-2 Dayton Flyers were a top team in the tournament with expectations of going deep. We’ll never know how they could’ve done, but we do know that they had a great start to lean on for the run. Yet, is Toppin the right pick for the Cavs?
Personally, I’d love to see the Dayton prospect end up in Cleveland. He’s able to play the three, four and five spots and could be an impressive compliment next to Andre Drummond and Kevin Love for short spurts. Especially with his explosive athleticism. Yet, the team is on so many paths at the same time it’s impossible to know where they go from here.
There exist all possibilities in the world that they trade some of their young corp for a proven commodity. While Damian Lillard is a pipe dream, if a deal became possible to land him or someone like him (hypothetically), the team may make that trade. They pulled the trigger for Drummond after all.
Yet, the team is also rebuilding, which makes the Drummond trade so peculiar because he’s anything but a pup. He’s not Old Man Rivers by any means but you’re not getting Drummond to rebuild, you’re getting him to compete. Then there’s the Love deal, which makes it feel like the Cavs are looking for a quick rebuild by not trading him away and locking him down long term.
If that’s the case, then a player like Deni Avdija makes more sense. He’s a wing player with great scoring performances in Europe and has shown to have a dynamic skillset over there. Will it translate is anyone’s guess but having him with Cedi Osman, Darius Garland, Love, and Drummond in the starting five could work. Then you can have Collin Sexton as a sixth man. It works, in theory.
Toppin was the breakout star in college basketball this season. Not only did he average 20 points per game but he shot 52.4 percent from the three-point line and 63.3 percent from the field. The NBA values shooters and there is no better outside-shooting forward in this draft class. Toppin was named the Naismith Player of the Year and did enough at his two years at Dayton to be a serious contender for the No. 1 draft pick this year.
If the team is in a full rebuild, Wiseman might be the pick. You’re not sticking around with Drummond for long and unless you can move Love, there is no need for Toppin at that point. Now, if you can swap Love and Drummond for another top-5 pick, then get both Toppin and Wiseman. That seems unlikely though.
I think if the plan is that the Cavs are moving forward to compete as soon as possible, the pick is either Toppin or Avdija. Both works, both are great prospects, both could be exactly what this team needs, or both could be the next Dejuan Wagner.
God, sports are so unpredictable and they hurt my head.