5. Portland Trail Blazers
In the case that the Blazers moonshot to the top of the draft, or Toppin has a big slide on draft night, this is a pretty ideal marriage for his offensive skill set. Nothing pairs perfectly with a vertical spacing pick-and-roll dive man than an elite pull-up shooter and passer, and Damian Lillard’s gravity could make Toppin look really good by himself. Toppin would slot in as Portland’s third big next season in the absence of Hassan Whiteside, who is a free agent, and could probably operate in a similar space quite well offensively. Toppin’s passing ability out of the short roll would also be a useful tool for the Blazer’s offense, which has lacked ancillary creation around Lillard and CJ McCollum this year.
The defensive fit of Toppin is clunky here, because he would likely demand a lot of minutes at the 5 on defense, which means that playing him and Nurkic together is probably a no-go. The Blazers will have the tools for small lineups again next year, and a good use of him could be in the small-ball 5 capacity, letting him operate as a weak side help defender and keeping him out of 1-4 pick-and-rolls on units that can definitely score to compensate for his less than ideal fit as a backline defender. The hope would be that Toppin can spend a lot of time on Lillard-led bench units early in his career paired with Zach Collins, a terrific space defender would can also provide spacing around Toppin pick-and-rolls.
The Blazers love to draft upside plays, and Toppin probably isn’t that. But with Nurkic and Collins returning from significant injuries next year and Whiteside likely leaving, it may behoove the Blazers to try to inject some lower-ceiling firm scoring punch into their rotation if Toppin falls to them.