Cavs rumors: Obi Toppin could be viewed as a ‘long-term’ Kevin Love replacement

Dayton Flyers big Obi Toppin looks on. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Dayton Flyers big Obi Toppin looks on. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Obi Toppin is not a player that I’m too in favor of for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2020 NBA Draft, but Cavs rumors would make it appear he’s firmly on their radar.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to select fifth in the upcoming draft, and with that selection, they should be slated to snag a high quality defensive piece on the wing or at the 4/5.

The wing names that immediately come to mind are Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Deni Avdija of the I-BSL’s Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, whereas that 4/5 spot brings me to definitely consider USC’s Onyeka Okongwu for them.

Cleveland could potentially look to select a guard such as Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, who could pair really well with Collin Sexton, as KJG’s Amadou Sow detailed. Or maybe the Cavs could go with Killian Hayes of the BBL’s Ratiopharm Ulm.

In any case, in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Cavs, who’ve had the league’s worst defensive rating in the past two seasons, should clearly be prioritizing the defensive end. At their selection, that would appear to be obvious, too, one would assume.

Nonetheless, Cavs rumors have made it seem as though a player that would not qualify as a quality defensive piece, in Dayton’s Obi Toppin, is firmly on Cleveland’s radar regarding their selection.

Albeit Toppin, who did take home the Naismith and Wooden awards in 2019-20, is a gifted athlete vertically and one that would project as a good rolling scorer, lob threat and showed some three-point shooting ability. Toppin, who had 20.0 points per game, hit 39.0 percent of his three-point attempts as a sophomore at Dayton during this past season, and he could give the Cavs another low-post presence.

But it seems as if the Cavs would be looking more so for further down the road in regards to Toppin.

Cavs rumors have made it seem as if Toppin could be looked at by the team as a meaningful big contributor for the near and long term future.

Per a report from last week from The Athletic‘s Sam Vecenie (subscription required), he gets the sense that Toppin and Avdija are seemingly being zeroed in on as the Cavs’ key targets at #5.

In addition to that, per a report from’s Chris Fedor in a mailbag set of responses on Tuesday, Fedor make it seem as if Toppin to the Cleveland Cavaliers fifth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft is gaining more traction. Here was some of Fedor’s response to a fan expressing displeasure over Toppin-to-Cleveland talk.

"“Not an Obi Toppin fan, eh? I’m not thrilled about the possibility either. But I sent a text to my insiders early last week about Toppin. After a handful of conversations I’ve gotten the vibe that Toppin is very much in play at No. 5. More than I originally thought. Not only would the Cavs lean on the best-player-available justification, but some in the organization see a need for another frontcourt piece — now and in the future.”"

Fedor would then note how Kevin Love is seemingly set to likely sit on the second leg of back-to-backs, as he typically did in 2019-20, again, but also, with how the Cavs could eventually look to deal Love, how Toppin could be seen as a replacement down the road for him.

Fedor hit on how Toppin could be a center option at times, too. That’s especially given how Andre Drummond, who though is seemingly highly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option for next season, could be gone following next season, and how the expiring Tristan Thompson could sign elsewhere this offseason.

"“To the Cavs, Toppin, who is grouped in a big cluster of prospects in Tier 2, could be viewed as a long-term replacement for Love, who is constantly in trade rumors, while also being an option at the 5 in case Thompson and Drummond leave in back-to-back years. Toppin is a screen-and-roll big who has shown the ability to pop out to the 3-point line. He is arguably the most polished offensive player in the class. The high-flyer doesn’t fit the need to improve the putrid defense, however, considering the primary questions about him center on that end of the floor.From a team-building and future-planning perspective, the Cavs view Toppin as one of the best fits of the non wings — even though he’s already 22 years old and further along in the developmental spectrum, lacking the upside as some of the other prospects.”"

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, to further drive it home, they’d be much better off picking one of the wings mentioned, for instance, or Okongwu, who is highly switchable and is a high IQ interior defender and legitimate rim protector.

Now, I understand that Toppin has shown some stretch big capability and could end up as frontcourt depth/a long-term replacement if Love is eventually dealt, as Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale suggested as a possibility. But I can’t say if that stretch big flash is really going to translate to much of a high three-point rate/volume in Obi Toppin’s minutes-share.

Toppin’s lack of lateral quickness defensively and likely issues with him in instances with Kevin Love and/or Drummond, even, could be problematic for Cleveland as well, and I’d still expect Love to play out next season with the Cavs, anyhow.

Frankly, Cavs rumors involving Toppin as Cleveland’s fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, should they keep the pick, which I honestly believe they will, shouldn’t have Cavs fans jumping for joy.

Albeit the draft, which was previously given a tentative date of October 16 and pushed back, per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium on Tuesday, is still some some time away. That’s after Charania hit on what the NBPA notified to agents via memo. So we’ll have to see what plays out eventually.

And as would be coincided with that draft push back, Charania noted how in turn, upcoming free agency and the start of next season, which were originally slated for October 18 and tentatively, early December, as was reported previously, will be moved back as well, fittingly.

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly seeing Toppin as a potential “long-term” Love replacement is less than ideal, at any rate, and while I could’ve maybe been on-board somewhat before, I’ll pass.

Next. Isaac Okoro would fit right into hard-working culture Cavs are trying to build. dark

Please prioritize the defensive end, and help out pieces such as Darius Garland, KPJ still and Collin Sexton, more so in the team sense I believe, and go with a wing such as Okoro or Vassell or Okongwu, Cavs. Come on, now.