The 2020 NBA Draft is set for October 16 and Blazer’s Edge is committed to producing an abundance of prospect-driven content prior to that date. In today’s post, Steve Dewald reveals his expanded board of 25 prospects. Following the rankings, Dayton star Obi Toppin and his unique experience receives a closer look.
Steve’s Big Board 2.0
|1.) Anthony Edwards||G||Georgia|
|2.) James Wiseman||C||Memphis|
|3.) Tyrese Haliburton||PG||Iowa State|
|4.) LaMelo Ball||G||USA|
|5.) Onyeka Okongwu||F/C||USC|
|6.) Killian Hayes||PG||France|
|7.) Obi Toppin||PF||Dayton|
|8.) Isaac Okoro||G/F||Auburn|
|9.) Deni Avdija||F||Israel|
|10.) Tyrese Maxey||G||Kentucky|
|11.) Theo Maledon||G||France|
|12.) Cole Anthony||PG||North Carolina|
|13.) Aaron Nesmith||SF||Vanderbilt|
|14.) Precious Achiuwa||F/C||Memphis|
|15.) Saddiq Bey||F||Villanova|
|16.) Patrick Williams||F||Florida State|
|17.) Devin Vassell||SG||Florida State|
|18.) Kira Lewis Jr.||PG||Alabama|
|19.) Jahmi'us Ramsey||G||Texas Tech|
|20.) Josh Green||SG||Arizona|
|21.) Jalen Smith||PF||Maryland|
|22.) RJ Hampton||G||USA|
|23.) Aleksej Pokusevski||F/C||Serbia|
|24.) Isaiah Stewart||C||Washington|
|25.) Tyrell Terry||PG||Stanford|
Obi Toppin’s Well-Rounded Game & Experience
The entire 2020 class will face unique hurdles in the months ahead. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional pre-draft process has flown completely out the window. When looking at that landscape, Dayton forward Obi Toppin’s experience stands above the rest. Following a successful freshman campaign, the 6-foot-9 star entered the 2019 draft pool. Toppin then took the feedback he obtained and exited the draft in hopes of bolstering his skill set prior to the 2020 NBA Draft.
Now facing a re-tooled process prior to October’s draft date, Toppin’s experience from last season has only increased in value. In an interview with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, Toppin explained that he is spending his pre-draft time working out in New Jersey alongside his brother (Jacob Toppin, who is headed to Kentucky), Lance Ware (also headed to Kentucky), and Seton Hall guard Myles Powell. Inside those workouts, Toppin revealed that his using the feedback he received from last year’s journey to guide his workouts.
When I worked out with NBA teams last summer, I was told to work on my shot consistency. I’m taking a lot of consecutive shots in a row. Working on hip mobility defensively, I can move a lot quicker and guard different positions instead of just the 4 and 5. Finishing around the rim — everyone knows I can get up and dunk, but finishing with soft touches around the rim.
Working out with Myles Powell, being able to guard that type of player — he’s a great guard. Everyone knows what he did at Seton Hall. He’s helping me a lot, forcing me to get low and really play defense. If I don’t, he’s going to destroy me every play.
Adding range and defensive versatility would only bolster Toppin’s impressive profile that is currently buoyed by his phenomenal production during the Flyers’ stellar run to a 29-2 record this past season. Inside a draft class that faces a long list of unknowns, Toppin’s experience with a redshirt college season and the traditional pre-draft process should serve as an important strength alongside his peers.
Risers & Fallers
Along with adding five new prospects to the big board, there was some movement inside the top 20. The most noteworthy drop featured RJ Hampton. He fell from No. 15 to No. 22 in today’s rankings. A combination of Hampton’s struggles in Australia’s NBL and a re-watch of a handful of Florida State’s ACC games led to the 19-year-old’s decline (shout out to Nate Mann for making me reconsider my placement of Seminoles standouts Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell).
Outside of Hampton’s fall, Jahmi’us Ramsey’s move from unranked to No. 19 stood above the rest. The Texas Tech guard has a modern three-point arsenal, allowing him to score off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations. Along with that, Ramsey’s size and motor make him a threat at either guard position in the NBA.