The Blazers could have the past two Slam Dunk Contest champs on their roster
Obi Toppin has been a victim of Tom Thibodeaux’ fickle rotation-setting all season, but despite erratic usage, the 6’9″ Brooklyn native is second on the Knicks with a plus-126 rating for the season in just over 800 minutes played.
The winner of this year’s Slam Dunk Contest – Blazer restricted free agent-to-be Simons won last season – could combine with Nurkic to give Portland a formidable frontcourt pairing at both ends of the floor. Toppin’s freakish explosiveness would be a fine fit with the new, smooth running and widely spaced Blazer offense, and he won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until the summer of 2025.
The Blazers might need their pick and the Pelicans’ to get Toppin, or they could send Little or Hart along with a single draft choice if that’s all that they have available. But Toppin doesn’t seem to fit Thibodeaux’ style, or he wears the wrong shirts, or puts ketchup on his hot dogs, because for some reason he is barely playing 15 minutes a night and it’s not his performance on the court.
He has an instinct for the ball that belies his 23 years, and would presumably be enthusiastic about joining a young and upcoming team that would actually put him on the floor. Young and hungry has boosted the new-look Blazers to four straight wins and more would be welcome.