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The NBA Draft prospect the Knicks are ‘dying’ to draft

Knicks, Obi Toppin, 2020 NBA Mock Draft

The New York Knicks have the no. 8 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and they reportedly have their sights set on the most recent Wooden Award winner: Dayton star Obi Toppin.

“I think eight is definitely the lowest he goes,” ESPN’s draft expert Jonathan Givony said about Toppin on Zach Lowe’s “The Lowe Post” podcast (via RealGM). “The guy who recruited him all year who signed him, you know, is running the team that has the number eight pick. I think from all understanding, he’s dying to get Obi Toppin. There’s nobody that he trusts more in this draft. We’re talking about Leon Rose and the Knicks.”

The lottery pick will mark the first major roster decision for president of basketball operations Leon Rose, who was formally hired in March. Rose’s revamped front office did make one significant move so far: hiring veteran head coach Tom Thibodeau.

It is also worth noting that Rose and Knicks executive vice president William “World Wide Wes” Wesley are both former big-wigs at Creative Artists Agency, which represents Toppin.

However, according to Givony, the Knicks may not get the chance to land their man without moving up in the Nov. 18 draft—a scenario that is not out of the realm of possibility.

“I can’t see any scenario that Toppin goes below eight,” Givony said. “I think honestly he’s going four or five. I really don’t think he’s going very far. He was the best player in college basketball. They were a number one seed. He fits the modern NBA offensively really, really well.”

In addition to the Wooden Award, Toppin won the AP Player of the Year, Naismith College Player of the Year, A-10 Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American in his final season at Dayton. The versatile wing averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on 63.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.0 percent from downtown.

The Knicks, to the surprise of no one, have not had a gotten a ton of sustained productivity out of their first-round picks this century. In fact, remarkably, the Knicks haven’t re-signed a first-round pick to a second contract since Charlie Ward in 1999.