Warriors Draft Pick Tourney, Round 2: #4 Obi Toppin vs #5 James Wiseman
Second round, you decide.
Okay, welcome to the second round of the Warriors 2020 Draft Pick Tournament! Now we’re dealing with some much harder decisions. I have added a few more scouting reports and comparisons since the first round.
Which of These Two Prospects Would You Rather The Warriors Draft?
We’ll present scouting reports, and you can vote at the end of this post. For details on how these prospects were selected and seeded, see the master tournament post.
4. Obi Toppin
Wizzy’s Comps: (per 40 similarity > 70) Rui Hachimura, Larry Johnson, Dylan Windler, Adam Keefe, Brandon Clarke, Jeff Nordgaard, Stacey Augmon, Lionel Simmons, Cameron Bairstow
Wizzy’s Comps: (advanced similarity > 70) Kelly Olynyk, Dylan Windler, Brandon Clarke, Andrew Nicholson, Domantas Sabonis, Rui Hachimura, Doug McDermott, Markieff Morris, Killian Tillie
NBADraftRoom Comp: stronger Drew Gooden, Otto Porter
(Graphic from Sports-Reference.com)
No college player helped himself more this season than Toppin. The former zero-star recruit became the CBS Sports National Player of the Year after averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 63.3% from the field and 39.0% from 3-point range. He's a super-athletic forward who dunks everything; he actually led the nation in dunks; and consistently makes jumpers in pick-and-pop situations.
PRO COMPARISON: Blake Griffin
Toppin turns 22 in March, and it’s unlikely he ends up becoming a legitimate star at the NBA level, but there’s security in his shooting ability and hulking frame, and Dayton’s NBA-style spread attack has played to his strengths nicely.
Toppin might be the most accomplished offensive weapon in this draft.
Where he really struggles is changing directions to recover once he gets dragged one way by a guard. That “one-one-thousand” to stop and then recover to challenge a shot is all the time a pick-and-pop big needs to launch away.
His rebounding rate is quite ordinary. Finally, he’s likely a one-position player – too stiff laterally to check 3s, but not stout enough physically to battle 5s.
Glides through the air for ferocious dunks. Nimble ball handler who can attack from the perimeter. Good shooter from NBA 3-point range. Strong playmaker. Has the leaping ability and quickness to theoretically be an effective shot blocker.
Brutal pick-and-roll defender who displays little recognition or feel for reading a screen. High center of gravity limits his defensive ability in the post. Doesn’t change directions well laterally. Poor help defender and rebounder who doesn’t play with great awareness or effort. Lacks an arsenal of low-post scoring moves and is raw shooting off the dribble.
SHADES OF: Amar’e Stoudemire (on offense), Jahlil Okafor (on defense)
Toppin last season led college basketball in dunks and in 2-point shooting percentage for a top-10 Dayton team.
Anthony Grant’s offense at Dayton was as close to a modern NBA scheme as you are going to find in the college game, and the reason he is able to play that way has everything to do with Toppin’s skill set.
Ethan Strauss and Evan Zamir, The Athletic:
Evan: I don’t want to say he’s the “next Siakam,” but can he be perhaps the next David Lee (an explosive vertical athlete early in his career and very underrated playmaker) but with a 3-point shot? That starts to look a little bit like what John Collins is becoming, but with somewhat better playmaking ability. That’s sort of the archetype I’m seeing Obi occupying.
Ethan: First, I just want to note that Obi Toppin might be the best offensive player in college basketball. Second, I just want to note that I’m not sure he can dribble…. If he gets the ball off a pick-and-pop and the defender closes out properly, Toppin struggles on the drive that follows the pump fake. This concerns me if we’re projecting him as a 4.
5. James Wiseman
Wizzy’s College Comps: (similarity above 70): none. (similarity above 40) Greg Oden. Tough to find comps on basically no college data.
NBADraftRoom Comp: AD lite, David Robinson
(Graphic from Sports-Reference.com)
That’s not a typo… only 3 college games before injury and fighting with the NCAA.
Wiseman's decision to quit on Memphis midseason raised eyebrows with some NBA executives who were left wondering if the 7-1 center is wired to be great. But his natural ability is so overwhelming that he can't possibly slip too far in a draft this devoid of high-end talent.
Many scouts felt like Wiseman had started turning the corner in terms of playing hard consistently before his season ended. He’s the type of talent who’s essentially a lock to look good in solo workouts.
The player he most reminds me of physically is Hassan Whiteside, but Whiteside is among the best rebounders in basketball and Wiseman’s board work is a constant disappointment. Wiseman has some shooting touch, but that may almost serve as a hindrance – he seems to relish shooting 15-footers more than attacking inside.
Again, we’re operating with only a three-game NCAA sample, one of which was him dunking on Nerf hoops against Kenpom.com’s 339th-rated team. So we need to look at other information. Fortunately, we have it from his high school play. Believe it or not, AAU performance has predictive value for the NBA draft. In Wiseman’s case, despite his size he didn’t dominate the way you’d expect, especially on the glass.
Active rebounder. He displays a high motor and great instincts tracking the trajectory of missed shots on the offensive glass.
His best offensive role is as a screener who rolls hard to the rim since he can finish lobs or with touch. But he can also mix in pops to generate shots from the perimeter and keep defenses honest.
Strong post-up potential. Displays a rare blend of power and finesse and does a nice job of sealing off his man. But he currently lacks advanced power moves, instead defaulting to fadeaways.
Shooting upside: He has good mechanics and soft touch. But he lacks range and doesn’t have a track record of success shooting from midrange and 3.
Sluggish lateral movement on the perimeter due to a lack of quickness and shoddy footwork. Defenders blow by him too often. At this stage, he’s not switchable.
Shaky team defender who tends to find himself in the wrong position or a beat late when rotating. He reads the floor slowly, so his pick-and-roll defense is particularly underwhelming.
SHADES OF: David Robinson, mild-mannered Rasheed Wallace, Damian Jones
PRO COMPARISON: Chris Bosh
My gut feeling on Wiseman is that if he decided he wanted to be, say, the next Myles Turner, he could end up one of the eight-to-ten best centers in the NBA. If he decides that he wants to be the next Giannis, I don’t think it will go as well.
If those skills never come around, the 19-year-old won't offer exceptional value as a likely top-five pick. That said, he won't be a bust, either. His physical tools are off the charts, and he could slide into a rim-running role tomorrow.
The upside comes from the possibility Wiseman will build onto this foundation. If he's a pick-and-roll terror who can also hit outside shots, anchor a defense and survive the occasional perimeter switch on defense, he could have the best career of anyone in this class.
The concerning plays might be easy to dismiss if Wiseman was an outright killer in high school. Instead, he was far less productive on the Nike EYBL circuit than, say, Sacramento Kings’ big man Marvin Bagley.
Also, Wiseman has reportedly gotten into better shape over the last year and he may well be a late bloomer. I’m certainly not writing off a prospect whose physical profile evokes comparisons to a young David Robinson.
But I’m also not buying the “safe” pick thesis. The idea that physically dominant bigs are easy to project “safe” selections seems fit for another era. In this one, where big men are played off the floor more than ever before, bigs might present less upside and more downside. If James Wiseman completely fulfills his potential, forget I said anything. Those are big “ifs” going forward though, maybe even bigger than the young center’s massive frame.
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