Troy Baxter Jr. 

Atlantic Notes: Toppin, Sixers, Knicks, Raptors, Baxter

Knicks forward Obi Toppin had an underwhelming rookie season after being selected with the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft. The former Dayton standout played just 11.0 minutes per game, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.2 RPG on 49.8% shooting.

However, Toppin is determined to take a major step forward in his second NBA season, and views participating in the pre-Olympics training camp as part of the U.S. Select Team as an important part of that process, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“The message, (the coaches) told me coming here is just be a sponge,” Toppin said on Wednesday from Las Vegas. “There’s great coaches and players out here and just get better and develop my game. I’m working really hard in this offseason to be better for my second season coming up. It’s going be a lot different than the first season.

“I was super excited to have opportunity to come out here work out with these guys,” Toppin added. “It’s the best players in the world on this Olympic team. Having the opportunity to learn under the coaches here and playing with these players, I’m learning a lot and I’m going to translate it into my game for the upcoming season.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Over at The Athletic, Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann provide an in-depth primer for the Sixers‘ offseason, Mike Vorkunov and John Hollinger preview what’s ahead this summer for the Knicks, and Blake Murphy identifies six guards the Raptors could consider selecting with one of their two second-round picks (Nos. 46 and 47).
  • Speaking of those two Raptors second-rounders, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca suggests (via Twitter) that most of the prospects Toronto has worked out so far in the pre-draft process are either candidates for those picks or potential UDFA targets. The lottery prospects who could be in play at No. 4 figure to start coming through next week, per Lewenberg.
  • Morgan State forward Troy Baxter Jr. is drawing interest from a handful of Atlantic clubs. He has already worked out for the Celtics and Nets and is auditioning for the Knicks later this week, he said on Wednesday (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).

Southeast Workouts: Wizards, Magic, Hornets, Hawks

The Wizards worked out six draft prospects today, and there are four more scheduled for tomorrow, according to team announcements. Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey, Texas’ Greg Brown III, and Isaiah Todd, of the G League Ignite, headlined today’s workouts, along with Jay Huff, Blake Francis, and Colbey Ross.

Tomorrow’s slate of workouts will include Troy Baxter Jr., Obadiah Noel, Jamorko Pickett, and Devontae Shuler.

We have more draft workout news from around the Southeast Division:

  • Corey Kispert, the sharp-shooting senior out of Gonzaga, worked out today for the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The 6’6″ guard/forward would fill a much-needed role for a Magic team that is well-stocked at some positions but still low on shooters.
  • The Hornets worked out potential lottery pick Jalen Johnson today, according to a tweet from the team. Johnson had a turbulent year at Duke, and eventually withdrew from the program, but came in with a high pedigree and an intriguing point-forward skillset.
  • Ruot Monyyong, out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will work out for the Hawks on Wednesday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The 6’10 big man was the 2019/20 All-Sun Defensive Player of the Year.

Draft Notes: Reddish, Pro Days, Early Entrants, Thybulle

Duke’s Cam Reddish made a strong impression at Wednesday’s pro day in Phoenix, writes Mike Schmitz of ESPN. With more than 35 prospects on hand, Reddish put on a shooting display that caught the attention of an estimated 100 scouts and several general managers.

Reddish was projected as a high lottery pick last fall, but his stock slipped during a disappointing freshman season. However, he was in top form at the workout, sinking shot after shot in a variety of situations before stopping his session because of a minor groin injury.

Jarrett CulverKeldon JohnsonMfiondu Kabengele and Luguentz Dort were other top prospects at the event, along with a large collection of potential second-rounders.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • In the same article, Jonathan Givony looks at how pro days sponsored by agencies are gradually replacing individual workouts. These events enable players to show off their strengths and hide their weaknesses, allowing someone like Georgios Papagiannis or Rashad Vaughn to rise dramatically. “We’ve completely lost control of the pre-draft process, and we have no one to blame but ourselves,” an unidentified GM said. “Instead of spending time getting to know the guys we are about to invest millions of dollars in, as well as our job security and having our coaching staffs put players through meaningful workouts, we are sitting in traffic on the 405, shuffling between airports and watching celebrity trainers put players through dog and pony shows, with highly scripted routines against cones that tell us absolutely nothing about how they might perform in an actual game.”
  • Givony also takes a look at players who might be on the fence about staying in the draft ahead of Wednesday’s deadline and unveils an updated top-100 list that hasn’t changed much at the top.
  • A few more players reached draft decisions this morning. Caleb Daniels, who is transferring from Tulane to Villanova (Twitter link), Al-Wajid Aminu of North Florida (Twitter link) and Troy Baxter Jr. of Florida Gulf Coast (Twitter link) will all pull out of the draft, while Charlie Brown of St. Joseph’s (Twitter link from Goodman) will keep his name in.
  • Matisse Thybulle of Washington may have a draft promise from the Celtics, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The small forward is slotted at No. 28 on the new ESPN list, and Boston holds picks No. 14, 20 and 22.

Draft Notes: Lawson, M. Johnson, Baxter, Sibande

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson, who projects as a second-round pick, will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

Lawson averaged 19.4 points and 10.4 rebounds as a junior. He is ranked as the 46th prospect overall and the 14th-best power forward on ESPN’s big board.

There are more draft decisions to pass along:

  • North Carolina State’s Markell Johnson will also test the draft waters, according to a press release from the school. The junior guard averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.2 APG this season while shooting 42.2% from 3-point range. He is not listed in ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Troy Baxter Jr. of Florida Gulf Coast will declare for the draft, the school announced (Twitter link). The sophomore forward was a four-star high school recruit who began at UNLV before transferring. In his lone season at FGCU, Baxter averaged 7.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He is also not in ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Nike Sibande of Miami (Ohio) will enter the draft, the school announced in a news release. The sophomore guard was named MAC Freshman of the Year last season. He also falls outside the Top 100.