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Mock Draft Monday - November 16


**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.**


Kelsey Russo, The Athletic

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: November 9

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

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

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

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

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

The Cavs have talked recently about the approach of taking the best player available, so with Avdija gone to Bulls, I could see the choice being Obi Toppin. He is a good shooter and a solid decision-maker who can pass the ball, and he can finish around the rim. Furthermore, Toppin is a solid screen-and-roll big who could fit well with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. The concern is his defense, and the Cavs finished with the worst defensive rating for two consecutive seasons, so that is something they need to address. But this could be a decision with a look toward the future with Andre Drummond’s player option still waiting a decision and potentially free agent Tristan Thompson not coming back.

This could be a sign of a team moving forward, and the Cavs will hope they can develop him on defense. His offensive game, though, is hard to look past, so I think the Cavs go with Toppin in this situation.

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: November 11

No. 1, Oklahoma City Thunder (via Minnesota) - 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, Washington Wizards (via Cleveland) - Onyeka Okongwu, USC

No. 6, Atlanta Hawks - Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State University

No. 7, Phoenix Suns (via Detroit) - Killian Hayes, ratiopharm Ulm

No. 8, New York Knicks - Patrick Williams, Florida State University

No. 9, Cleveland Cavaliers (via Washington) - Obi Toppin, University of Dayton

Washington Wizards receive: No. 5, Cedi Osman

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: No. 9, No. 37 (via Bulls), Troy Brown Jr.

This would almost certainly qualify as a best-case scenario for Cleveland.

Should the Cavaliers use the fifth overall selection, they might spend it on Obi Toppin. He might have some defensive limitations, but he's a brilliant player at basketball's most glamorous end. If his shooting holds up—he splashed 32 triples at a 39 percent clip in 2019-20—he could approach unguardable territory given his finishing, soft touch, comfort in the post and passing.

He'd be a little redundant on the roster for now with Kevin Love, Andre Drummond and Larry Nance Jr. all still residing in Northeast Ohio, but all three could be gone sooner than later. Our projected trade also delivers Troy Brown Jr., who would instantly address Cleveland's voids in the passing and perimeter-defending departments.

Jonathan Givony, ESPN

Obi Toppin, University of Dayton
Date Published: November 11

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

There are several reasons for the Cavs to be attracted to Toppin, who played a couple of hours down the road at Dayton and would bring considerable enthusiasm with his explosive style of play. The best player in college basketball last season, Toppin is older than Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., making him a fit with the team's timeline.

Chris Manning, Fear The Sword/ SB Nation

Onyeka Okongwu, USC
Date Published: November 12

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

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

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

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

No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers - Onyeka Okongwu, USC

For the record, Deni Avdija and Isaac Okoro were the other options strongly considered here. But the Cavs desperately need a defensive presence for now and the long-term. Andre Drummond just isn’t that. Okongwu’s ability to cover ground, rotate correctly and play smart defense is needed for a franchise that has been historically bad on defense for the past two seasons. What his offensive game looks like is a mystery and it’s hard to pass up two wings - another position of need. But Okongwu’s upside and ability to fill a need is just too good to pass up.

Kevin O'Connor, The Ringer

Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Date Published: November 12

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

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

No. 3, Charlotte Hornets - Onyeka Okongwu, USC

No. 4, Chicago Bulls - LaMelo Ball, Illwarra Hawks

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

Executives around the league believe Avdija won’t fall past the Cavaliers; they’re said to be high on the Israeli forward, who provides a playmaking presence and defensive versatility. Avdija must improve his jumper, but he’s the most natural fit on a roster loaded with bigs and guards. If Avdija isn’t available, Dayton big man Obi Toppin could be the choice.

Versatile forward with the playmaking ability of a guard, though the development of his jumper will be key to his success.

SHADES OF: Danilo Gallinari, Nicolas Batum, Dario Saric

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