Cavs 2020 NBA Draft: ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes’ comments about Obi Toppin show he’d be nice pick

Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin dunks the ball. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin dunks the ball. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

Dayton’s Obi Toppin should be a player the Cleveland Cavaliers are targeting in the 2020 NBA Draft, and comments by ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes on a recent talk show appearance regarding Toppin highlight how the big man would be a nice pick. If he’s available at Cleveland’s pick and they choose him, there should be no complaints.

At this juncture, the 2019-20 NBA season for the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams is suspended due to precaution being exercised and social distancing induced by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Given that, it’s unclear if the season will eventually resume, and if it does, a reduction of the rest of the remaining regular season games is seemingly a possibility. In relation to the latest potential financial impact of game cancellations, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hit on that in a report on Tuesday.

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It’s also uncertain as to when the 2020 NBA Draft will be, but what is certain it seems is that the Cavaliers should have a very draft pick, and they’d need it to be in the top 10 to still have their pick and not have it go to the New Orleans Pelicans, which is a virtual certainty, anyhow.

While the Wine and Gold were playing pretty well post-All-Star break with J.B. Bickerstaff taking over at head coach, of which they went 5-6, the squad did go into the season suspension with the league’s second-worst record still at 19-46.

Needless to say, whenever the 2020 NBA Draft does turn out to be, I’d expect Cleveland to have a top five selection, and while I’m well-aware lottery projections at this time are anything but absolute, Cleveland is projected to have the second pick, according to Tankathon.

To me, I’m not particularly glued to any one particular prospect as my favorite for the Cavaliers right now, even if they were to theoretically land the number one pick.

That being said, given the Cavaliers having a bunch of perimeter players that need the ball in their hands in coming years and him not showing promising playmaking feel and it being unclear how he’d affect games without the ball, I’ll pass on Georgia guard/wing Anthony Edwards.

I also am skeptical of Memphis center James Wiseman. Wiseman only played in three games this season before being ruled ineligible and eventually withdrawing from school, as KJG’s Corey Casey detailed, and it’s an unknown if he can have much inside-out ability or switchability defensively, so that’s a hard pass for me, and I’ve changed my tune since dating back to before the NCAA season.

Granted, if the Cavaliers ended up drafting prospects such as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv or LaMelo Ball of the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks, who I believe can have notable positional versatility at 6-foot-8 and has immense playmaking potential, those would all warrant a thumbs up.

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Perhaps even more so, USC big Onyeka Okongwu is a player I feel the Cleveland Cavaliers should strongly consider in the 2020 NBA Draft if he’s available at their selection, given his ceiling on the defensive end as a switchable player, in particular.

However, while he is already 22 years old, Dayton big man Obi Toppin is also a player that Cleveland should very much have their eyes on in the upcoming draft.

Toppin, whom KJG’s Tyler Meitin gave quite a glowing endorsement back in February, is a player that’d I imagine Cleveland could groom as a replacement for either Kevin Love (who they could seemingly look to trade down the road). Along with that, Toppin could feasibly fit as a potential replacement for Andre Drummond as a roller/low-post big, with it seemingly being a high possibility Drummond opts into his $28.8 million player option for next season and I believe could be a solid expiring trade chip for Cleveland.

Furthermore, in a radio talk show appearance on Tuesday on 92.3 The Fan’s “Bull and Fox,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes emphasized how he’s all-aboard the Toppin train in regards to this upcoming draft’s crop of prospects. He also touched on other things, such as how college football coaches believe the conditioning of players could very well be affected by social distancing.

This soundbite was what resonated with me about that conversation with Dykes when discussing the 2020 NBA Draft to me, though, as was transcribed by Bull and Fox, as in Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber and Dustin Fox.

"“I place a lot of stock in Obi Toppin because I know what I’m going to get; as solid of a good player that this draft has to offer.”"

Toppin did play in the Atlantic 10 at Dayton, which was not nearly as loaded as others conferences, but I can’t argue with him being a dominant force and Dykes’ comments demonstrate how Toppin would be a nice pick.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Toppin put up 20.0 points per game on 67.4 percent effective field goal shooting, to go with 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per contest this season for the Flyers, according to Sports Reference.

That production warranted him being named a First-Team All-American and most notably, the Men’s NCAA Player of the Year by the Associated Press.

Moreover, with Toppin’s rare athleticism, projection as a hard roller that has shown good playmaking instincts for a big, combined with him potentially developing into a viable pick-and-pop threat and impact team defender, if the Cavs selected him in the 2020 NBA Draft, fans should be pleased.

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Dykes’ recent comments just reminded me of that, realistically. I’m also pretty sure the likes of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. would fit with Toppin in no-time in minutes alongside him on the floor, too.