Knicks’ NBA Draft decision is being celebrated by rival GMs

The NBA’s general managers seem to approve of the Knicks’ drafting of Obi Toppin.

The rookie forward out of Dayton was ranked third in polling for the league’s 2020-21 Rookie of the Year award, in NBA.com’s annual survey of GMs.

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball topped the list with 39 percent of the vote, followed by Warriors center James Wiseman at 29 percent.

Toppin, the eighth selection in the draft out of Dayton, is listed third at 18 percent, ahead of No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards of Minnesota (7%).

Toppin also received votes in the category of which rookie will be the best NBA player in five years, finishing seventh, with Wiseman topping that list at 36 percent. And he finished fifth for the “biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft,” behind Sacramento’s Tyrese Haliburton (12th), Detroit’s Saddiq Bey (19th), New Orleans’ Kira Lewis Jr. (13th) and Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey (21st).

The GM’s predictions for Rookie of the Year appear to jibe with BetMGM.com’s betting odds for the award. Ball is listed as a 4-1 favorite, followed by Wiseman and Edwards (9-2), with Toppin fourth at 13-2.

Obi Toppin
Obi Toppin
NBAE via Getty Images

The 22-year-old Toppin, a Brooklyn native who played his high school ball for Ossining (Westchester), has averaged 7.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in his first three preseason appearances ahead of Friday night’s finale against Cleveland at the Garden.

Additionally, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau finished tied for fifth in the poll for “which new or relocated coach will make the biggest impact on his new team.”

First-year Nets coach Steve Nash received the most votes (28%), followed by Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers (24%), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Tyronn Lue (16%), New Orleans’ Stan Van Gundy (16%), Thibodeau (8%) and Chicago’s Billy Donovan (8%).

The executives also predicted the Lakers will repeat as NBA champions, with 81 percent of the vote, followed by the Clippers at 11 percent.  

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was voted as the favorite to win his third straight MVP award (32%), ahead of Dallas’ Luka Doncic (21%), Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James (18% apiece) and returning Nets forward Kevin Durant (7%).

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