The 2019-20 NBA season is still under hiatus and we don’t know when or even if things will resume.
There will be a ton of opinions and rumors on what the Dubs should do with the pick. General manager Bob Myers will have plenty of options at his disposal, from potentially trading the pick, or selecting a player that will contribute right away to a team whose championship window is open.
Two of the most talked about draft-eligible prospects are Dayton’s Obi Toppin and Israeli forward Deni Avdija.
Both are considered players who are ready to step in and playing meaningful minutes, but each have differing skillsets.
Forward Obi Toppin - 6’9, 220 pounds
Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds with Dayton prior to the NCAA season being cancelled. His game will fit in nicely with the Warriors. His ability to run the floor and operate out of the pick-and-roll will allow him to come in and be a different maker alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the offensive end. Toppin’s game has been compared to the Amar’e Stoudemire. Although he’s just a notch below Stoudemire athletically, he is a better shooter, hitting on just under 40% of his 3-point attempts last season. There is a ton to like about Toppin offensively. His ability to operate out of the high post fits nicely with the Warriors roster. His true shooting percentage was an amazing 68.4%, aided by his dominance finishing around the rim. Toppin is also great at posting up on the run and establishing position in front of the rim.
The knock on Toppin is his defensive game. One constant knock is his lack of lateral movement, which will make it difficult for him to matchup against small-ball fours. At 6’9 and 220 pounds, he doesn’t have the size and strength to matchup with big men in the NBA. As great of a fit as he is on the offensive end on the pick-and-roll, he just as big of a liability in it on defense. Under head coach Steve Kerr, the Dubs have mainly switched on the pick-and-roll, something that wouldn’t work too well with Toppin in the lineup. He is also 22 years old, which is considered old for an NBA prospect.
Toppin has the looks of a double-double machine in the NBA. No one can question his offensive abilities, but his development on the defensive end will be critical for him to reach his potential as an NBA player.
Wing/Forward Deni Avdija - 6’8, 220 pounds
The 19-year-old Israeli played with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague last season and has shown the ability to be an impact player.
Avdija’s ability to control the temp offensively makes him a tantalizing prospect. Avdija can run the floor and dictate the play in transition. His passing skills and court vision are second-to-none in this draft and the main reasons why teams view him as a top 5 pick. Avdija is strong and although he most likely will never win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, projects to be a decent defender at the next level, something scouts are worried about when it comes to Toppin. Avdija’s basketball IQ is very good, so playing with a lineup featuring three basketball savants in Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green, he should pick things up quickly.
Avdija needs to work on being a more consistent shooter. He shot just 28% from deep in the Euroleague and his free throw percentage has been consistently in the 50s during his time as a pro. His shooting motion is good, so some scouts believe his shooting numbers will improve with coaching and practice. Another aspect Avdija needs to improve is his off-ball movement, which is a huge factor on this Warriors team. The Dubs use a lot of motion on their offensive sets and rely on their players to read and react to the defenses.
Both players have their strengths and weaknesses, but each can have a meaningful role on the Warriors for years to come. With the culture and system the Dubs have in place, Toppin and Avdija can step in and learn from some of the best players in the league while not having the pressure to carry the team from day one.
Who do you think will be a better fit on the Warriors if they end up picking one of these players?
Onto some more links:
Al Harrington spoke with SF Weekly about the “We Believe” squad. This story is done from a 4/20 angle, so there are some cool stories about Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s weed smoking throughout the season. Don’t miss the part where Harrington recalls the celebration after they beat the Dallas Mavericks.
Steve Kerr’s easy-going nature helped recruit Kevin Durant to the Bay Area. When Kerr coached the Western Conference All-Stars, KD apparently loved that Kerr and the staff enjoyed beers in the room.