Perhaps Creative Artists Agency can pull some strings for Knicks president Leon Rose.
Though Dayton scoring forward Obi Toppin is considered out of the Knicks’ range at No. 8 in the NBA Draft, it’s interesting to note the club used one of its 10 live workout slots on the native New Yorker.
“I spoke with the Knicks,” Toppin said on an NBA Zoom call Wednesday. “I had an interview with them. It went very well. They have a great organization. It would be great to go home but there’s a lot of other teams that are in front of them that are great too.”
The 6-foot-9 slasher was signed by CAA after being recruited heavily by the agency. Rose was director of basketball operations for CAA before becoming Knicks president on March 2.
Toppin said he didn’t meet Rose before the Knicks’ interviews/workouts, as his primary agent at CAA is Austin Brown.
Can CAA play a role in getting Toppin to fall to No. 8 or will Rose have to trade up a few notches? He’s been widely projected to go No. 5 to Cleveland, keeping Toppin in Ohio.
But New York is where Toppin identifies with after being born in Brooklyn. Though he moved to Florida early in high school, Toppin moved back to finish his scholastic career at Ossining.
The Post reported last month if Toppin fell to No. 8, they’d surely snatch him. Rose is trying to hit a home run at No. 8 and Toppin’s ceiling is higher than most in the lottery, with scouting reports saying he could be the most explosive player in the draft.
As a sophomore, Toppin has won a series of Player of the Year awards after averaging 20 points per game on 63 percent shooting. The downside is he’s 22 – ancient for a high lottery pick – and played in a mid-major conference, the Atlantic 10.
“I would love to get picked by a place that best fits me,” Toppin said. “Going to a place where people are going to help me develop and get better and make sure I’m going to be great one day and be a Hall of Famer and Player of the Year, an MVP. That’s where I want to go, to the team that’s going to help me prepare most for me to be great and win lot of games.”
Toppin said he’s worked out with a handful of NBA players in South Jersey, including Knicks forward Kevin Knox and Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson.
“That’s very helpful for the next level playing against those guys and taking in that information,” Toppin said. “I feel I’m more prepared for the next level than I was before.”
Defensive versatility is the question mark for Toppin in terms of having enough quickness to switch onto different players, as is vogue in the NBA.
“I feel I’m going to prove them wrong that I can’t play defense,” Toppin said.
Spoken like a true New Yorker. New York City products haven’t been burning up the league as they once did, but Toppin said, “I feel like us, having that name behind us, especially New York being a basketball city, we have a lot of to live up to.”
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