2. Obi Toppin
Obi Toppin’s three-year tenure with the Knicks was one highlighted, in large, by his painfully inconsistent playing time within the rotation.
Despite being selected with the eighth overall pick back in the 2020 NBA Draft, the former Dayton standout remained trapped on the bench behind All-Star power forward Julius Randle during his stay in the Big Apple.
Now, with a move to Indianapolis as a result of the early-July blockbuster, the 25-year-old finally has a realistic chance of claiming a prominent role within a rotation, and, should he fare similarly to when receiving such opportunities during his stint in New York, he could easily be in line for a breakout season.
While his career numbers of 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds won’t necessarily blow anyone away, when seeing action as a starter, Toppin has only proven to shine as he sports stellar averages of 20.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from deep on 15 separate occasions.
The Pacers understand just how astounding the big man can be while serving as a key figure within a team’s lineup, as they were on the opposite side of his regular-season finale performance last year when he dropped 34 points on 56.5 percent shooting from the floor and 50.0 percent shooting from deep to go along with 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals.
Already in possession of the size, athleticism, and inside-out scoring intangibles, perhaps all Toppin has ever needed to live up to his lottery potential was more opportunities on the hardwood.
In Indiana, it’s more likely than not that he’ll finally get exactly that.