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Mock Draft Monday - October 26


**NOTE: The news clips and articles listed don't necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of the Cleveland Cavaliers or their Basketball Operations staff, partners, or sponsors.**


Chris Fedor, cleveland.com

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: October 20

No. 1, Minnesota Timberwolves - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

No. 2, Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, University of Memphis

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - Anthony Edwards, University of Georgia

No. 4, Chicago Bulls - Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv

No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers - Obi Toppin, University of Dayton

Well ... it’s not a guard. For the past few years, the Cavs have used the “best player available” philosophy. This draft is no different. Even though Isaac Okoro and Devin Vassell make more sense based on need, the Cavs love last year’s first-round pick Dylan Winder and see him playing a big role this season. Having Windler back from injury and a valuable mid-level exception to spend in free agency lessens Cleveland’s desperation for a wing. The high-flying Toppin won’t help much on defense, which isn’t ideal for the league’s worst group, but he’s the most complete offensive player in the class -- a pick-and-pop threat who set a program record for dunks last season. He could play small-ball 5 in certain lineups. If the Bulls choose Toppin, this pick would likely become Avdija, but the Cavs are looking at six or seven scenarios.

Chicco Nacion & John Chick, theScore

Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Date Published: October 21

No. 1, Minnesota Timberwolves - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

No. 2, Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, University of Memphis

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - Anthony Edwards, University of Georgia

No. 4, Chicago Bulls - Obi Toppin, University of Dayton

No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers - Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Avdija is the top international prospect in this year's draft, coming by way of Maccabi Tel Aviv. The 19-year-old has a point forward's game that some have likened to a poor man's Luka Doncic. At 6-foot-9, Avdija has also shown the ability to play either forward spot and has impressed scouts with his confidence and basketball IQ. Avdija will almost certainly become the highest-drafted Israeli player ever.

Ricky O'Donnell, SBNation

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: August 20

No. 1, Minnesota Timberwolves - Anthony Edwards, University of Georgia

No. 2, Golden State Warriors - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - Onyeka Okongwu, USC

No. 4, Chicago Bulls - Killian Hayes, ratiopharm Ulm

No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers - Obi Toppin, University of Dayton

How great can Toppin be offensively? How poor will be defensively? Those two questions will be debated fervently in the run-up to the draft. Toppin was the best player in college basketball this year at Dayton, finishing in the 99th percentile of scoring efficiency throughout the country. The athletic 6’9 big man isn’t just a monster finisher at the rim, he also showed off an improved three-point stroke. The hangup here is Toppin’s struggles defensively. He often looked disinterested in protecting the rim, and it’s likely teams will hunt him in the pick-and-roll early in his career.

The pieces around Toppin will go a long way towards determining how effective he is at the NBA level. He needs to be paired with an electric playmaker offensively and with someone who can protect the paint defensively. While his age and defensive limitations are scary, Toppin is big, agile, and explosive while posting absolutely unassailable efficiency numbers for the Flyers. It won’t be easy to put him in the perfect team building context long-term, but if it happens his unique strengths should make him a thrilling NBA scorer.

The Athletic NBA Staff, The Athletic

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: October 20

No. 1, Minnesota Timberwolves - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

No. 2, Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, University of Memphis

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - Anthony Edwards, University of Georgia

No. 4, Chicago Bulls - Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv

No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers - Obi Toppin, University of Dayton

The common thread between drafts for the Cavs continues in this mock draft, as the best player available approach prevails. In this case, choosing a player like Toppin adds an elite level of offense. He’s a great shooter, solid decision-maker who can pass the ball, and can finish around the rim. Toppin can be a screen-and-roll big who can get all the way to the basket or pop, and help give the younger guards offensive options. However, the lack of a defensive game as a big is a red flag, especially since the Cavs finished with the worst defensive rating in the league for two consecutive seasons. With a large focus by Cleveland to find a solution to their defensive struggles — whether internally, schematically, in trades or the draft — this draft pick doesn’t totally fit that idea.

The frontcourt for this upcoming season is crowded with Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Andre Drummond — if he opts into his player option — Jordan Bell, Dean Wade and potentially Tristan Thompson. But after this season? If Thompson doesn’t re-sign in free agency this offseason and Drummond hits free agency in 2021, the frontcourt could look very different in a short time. That’s where a player like Toppin could come into play. This could be a pick more looking towards the future of this team, and not so much an immediate solution. — Kelsey Russo

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