Obi Toppin Scouting Report

Obi Toppin
This season, Obi Toppin ranked in the top 10 of the nation for field-goal percentage (63.3), PER (32.9), win shares (6.9), and plus-minus (11.8). (Photo courtesy of Dayton Athletics)

Toppin had a fine freshman campaign, but he truly burst onto the national scene this year, as he helped Dayton (29-2) rise to No. 3 in the AP and the Coaches Poll.  His sophomore season featured numerous highlight-reel dunks and other impressive plays, and to some degree, he brought back memories of Blake Griffin at Oklahoma for me.  Like Griffin, Toppin won numerous awards as a sophomore, including the A-10 Player of the Year, the Naismith Award, the Karl Malone Award, the Wooden Award, and a first-team Consensus All-America selection.

Toppin put up the stats to justify all of those awards.  Playing 31.6 minutes per night, he averaged 20.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.2 combined steals and blocks per game, with shooting splits of .633/.390/.702.  Nationally, he ranked in the top 10 for field-goal percentage, PER (32.9), win shares (6.9), and plus-minus (11.8).  He also ranked at the 99th percentile for overall points per possession (PPP).  

Position: Power ForwardTeam/Class:Dayton (So)
Birthday: 03/04/1998Nationality:American
Height: 6’9’’Weight:220
Wingspan:6’11’’Vertical: 
Shot Hand:RightStats:Click here

Toppin’s offensive profile this season was fairly diverse.  Nearly 25 percent of his offense came from the post, where he ranked at the 86th percentile for PPP.  Another 60 percent of his offense was roughly evenly split between transition (95th percentile), pick-and-roll (47th percentile), cut (96th percentile), and spot-up (98th percentile) possessions.  He struggled in pick-and-pop situations, which led to his modest numbers in pick-and-roll situations.  Overall, he did most damage on the inside, displaying soft, reliable hands, and an impressive combination of strength and vertical explosiveness.

In general, Toppin’s ability to hit from outside is still somewhat in question.  Over his two-year career at Dayton, he made 41.7 percent of his threes, but he averaged just 1.6 attempts per game.  Also, he’s a so-so free-throw shooter, with a career average of 70.6 percent.  Toppin is definitely not one to create and shoot jumpers off the dribble; he took just nine off-the-bounce attempts this season, making one.  Additionally, the sophomore can have trouble attacking the rim in the half-court due to problems dribbling with his right hand and an inability to be reliably finish with his left.  On half-court drives this season, he made a 62 percent of his shots within seven feet, but he attempted just 21 such shots. 

Defensively, Toppin is average, at best.  Perimeter shooters regularly beat him with the dribble for scores in the paint, and vs. the pick and roll, he typically drops and can’t recover in time to stop pick-and-pop shots.  In general, he doesn’t play with a lot of physicality, and he lacks elite defensive awareness and instincts.  Additionally, despite being known for vertical explosiveness, he is not prolific as a rebounder or shot blocker.  This past season in the A-10, he ranked 12th for rebounding percentage (14.5), and 9th for block percentage (4.1). 

There are a couple of other factors to consider.  Dayton played a relatively easy schedule, so Toppin’s stats are inflated to some degree.  He is also a late bloomer, with a very interesting story, which is typically positive, but in this case, he is very old (nearly 23) for a sophomore, meaning that he has a lower ceiling than most. 

Overall, I can see Toppin having offensive success at the NBA level, but I’m afraid that he may be a defensive liability.  I do not consider him to be an elite prospect, and I very much doubt that he will be a star at the NBA level. 

— Richard Harris

Dustin Barnes’ Player Profile

Obi Toppin

Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements:  Stats used in our scouting reports come from Synergy Sports Technology, RealGM.com, and Sports-Reference.com.  Other outside sources are noted with links to the source. 

About the Author(s)

  • Dustin is a teacher and Boys' Basketball Coach at Rabun Gap Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Georgia. He has trained and coached players in high school, college, and at the professional level for the past 10 years. He regularly tweets and posts NBA Draft content at @NBADraftBuzz1 on Instagram and Twitter.

  • Richard has worked as a sports writer/editor/analyst since 1998. He is the former CEO of FantasyFootballExperts.com and a former member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). He has contributed to various magazines, radio shows, and a number of other sites, including ESPN.com, SI.com, and USAToday.com. Follow on Twitter @HoopsProspects.