2. Obi Toppin
Sticking to optimism here, Obi Toppin has been a player worth getting excited about thus far. Following three seasons in New York, where he alternated between flashes of future star potential and wallowing on the bench, Indiana took a chance on the 25-year-old and traded two future second-round picks for the power forward out of Dayton.
In New York, Toppin had games where he scored over 30 points and made over four three-pointers and also had games where he did not play. You can call this necessity, or you can call it stupidity.
The bottom line is that Obi Toppin is a very talented player and has the tools to be a star-level guy if he puts his abilities to use. Luckily for him, he has the perfect chance to do that in Indiana.
It seems that the front office is behind him, with Rick Carlisle crowning him the starting power forward from Day 1, and the preseason brought some mouthwatering highlight plays to the table. Most notably, Toppin busted out one of his signature Eastbay dunks on the fast break against Cleveland, a play that had the Indiana Pacers all over national media, a rarity, to say the least.
Flashy highlights aside, Toppin has shown plenty to get excited about in the preseason. From the dunks to the offensive game to even the improved defense, it seems as if Toppin has drastically improved his game in anticipation of a career rejuvenation in Indiana. Toppin’s name has also been a popular pick to throw in Most Improved Player talks, as, given that he will be getting starter minutes going forward, there is no reason why a player of his talent level cannot have a breakout season at his age. Toppin certainly has the talent for it, and now he will be getting the opportunities he has longed for. The real question is, can he put it all together? We will see this upcoming season.