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Nikola Topic

Mega MIS

HT/WT/WS6' 7", 203lbs

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Community Scouting Reports (51)


CouchScout
u/CouchScout

#6

RANK


Players with high skill as a passer are some of the most valuable players in the NBA today. An offense can’t function properly guys who are orchestrating the plays the coach draws up. Look at the San Antonio Spurs this season as an example. They started off the season by playing Jeremy Sochan as the point guard, and while he is a decent passer, he isn’t at the level where he can run an offense efficiently. As soon as Tre Jones, a good playmaker, was put in the starting lineup, the Spurs offense ran more efficiently and Victor Wembanyama was able to take his game to another level. Now the Spurs are a bad team so they still have one of the worst records in the NBA, but the change from when Sochan was the starting PG to when Jones became the starting PG was significant. Teams who have a guy or a couple of guys who can efficiently run an offense play better and win more games. So what does this have to do with a Nikola Topic scouting report? Well, his best attributes come with his playmaking ability, and I believe he has the upside to be a gamechanger for NBA teams because of that. Some of you may not be super familiar with what professional basketball looks like in Europe, so let me sum it up for you really quickly. It is very competitive and focused on team basketball. Playing well as a unit is a priority for these teams. This is one reason why we often don’t see young players putting up super eye catching statistics in European leagues. They either are given less minutes because the team trusts their experienced players more or these young guys end up being in roles where they are more of a role player rather than the guy at the helm. It makes sense given that these teams are trying to win and would rather let guys who have more experience get big minutes and make things happen for these teams. So when a younger player puts up eye-catching statistics and is trusted as a guy who can run the offense and/or be a primary ball handler, I start to pay a lot more attention to that player because they clearly are doing something right in the eyes of those coaches. This has been the case for Nikola Topic this season. He was averaging around 16 points and 6 assists per game before he was called up to the EuroLeague and unfortunately suffered an injury. Those are really impressive numbers for an 18 year old to put up against this type of competition, but I want to focus on the assist numbers for a second. He is averaging 6 assists per game, but when you watch him play it feels like it should be more. It feels like he is making at least one good pass for every possession and play he runs, and while he isn’t super flashy with those passes, he has really impressive court vision and is excellent at executing on the passes he makes. I remember one of the very first times I watched Topic was a highlight reel I found on YouTube, and the first play that showed up was him running a pick and roll. The big who set the screen started running towards the rim, and it looked like an easy target for Topic. However, instead of making that pass, he launched the ball to his open teammates in the far corner and that led to the made 3-pointer. Topic’s ability to not only see that open man through the bodies of teammates and opponents, but to make and complete that pass is stellar for an 18 year old, and he makes these kinds of passes all the time. This is what I believe gives Topic a clear role in the NBA right away, and it is also the area that he has the most potential in. His court vision, manipulation, and pass execution are already really good. As long as he doesn’t end up on a team that wastes those talents, he could be a guy who can run the offense for whoever drafts him on day one. However, this isn’t the limit to Topic’s game as a playmaker. Topic has elite ball handling skills that pair perfectly with his passing, and this is a combo that could be deadly right away in the NBA. He is so good at manipulating and losing defenders with quick crossovers, step backs, and pass/shot fakes. Defenders simply don’t know what Topic is going to do when he has the ball in his hands. I don’t expect him to be a guy who makes highlight reels every week because of his ball handling, but his ability to manipulate defenders is absolutely stellar, especially for someone his age. It may take some time for him to get used to the faster paced, high level defense that’s played in the NBA. However, with time he could be one of the best ball handlers and playmakers in the NBA.

Scoring is where things start to get weird with Topic. He has a lot of skill as a shot creator and shot maker, but he uses those skills in ways you may not expect. It starts with his driving game, which is really good. He has a great first step, can reach top speed quickly, and is comfortable handling the ball at high speeds. There are times where he can be a little bit out of control, but for the most part he is good at driving to the rim. The finishing around the rim is… unique. He doesn’t possess elite jumping athleticism, so Topic relies a lot on his ability to finish under the rim using his touch and ball handling. To his credit, he has become quite good in this aspect. He can get the ball in the hoop, even over taller defenders. However, this is something that he won’t be able to rely on as much in the NBA. Defenders are bigger and faster, so while Topic still will have this skill, it’s going to be harder for him to score points in the paint. This is where his mid-range shooting will come into play, and I believe he has a ton of potential in this area. He is really good at creating space for himself, and he has already shown that he can and will take mid-range shots. His jumper can be inconsistent, but with time he could be a deadly mid-range scorer. While you don’t see those types of players in the NBA as much these days, guys who both can drive to the rim with ease and score from the mid-range are really difficult to guard. I think this is where we really start to see what Topic could be in the NBA; an elite playmaker and ball handler who can score inside the arch at a high, efficient rate. Shooting is going to be the swing factor in how good he can be offensively. He hasn’t been very efficient, albeit on a lower volume. However, he has been an efficient free throw shooter and has solid mechanics. Both of those things tend to be good signs for prospects' shooting potential. I don’t think we should expect Topic to become a good shooter in the league, but I also don’t think we should expect him to be a bad one. I think around league average or a little bit below is a reasonable expectation for now, and if he cleans some things up then maybe he gets better than that.

Defense is where a lot of the questions start to arise with Topic, mostly with his on-ball defense. He struggles with his balance and gets pushed around easily. Opposing teams love to attack him because they know they can get by him or push him around easily. Topic is smart, so he doesn’t make bad decisions on defense very often. However, he has some serious weaknesses with this on-ball defense. I actually think he is fine off the ball though. He is good at switching, pays attention to what's going on around him, and can put himself in good positions for steals. He still has some of the same struggles as he does with on-ball defense, but he is clearly much better off the ball and I don’t think he will be a liability in this aspect. However, his defense is going to be a big deciding factor into how good he is in the NBA. There are plenty of players in the league who aren’t good defenders but make it because of their talent on offense. The question is can Topic be one of them? I think his playmaking ability is a sure thing to translate to the league. If all else fails, he will have that to lean on. If he can tap into his scoring potential, then yes he absolutely will be a good NBA player. However, if he continues to struggle as a shooter and the mid-range scoring never comes into fruition, he is likely going to be a career backup. As I have stated previously, his playmaking will keep him in the league. Maybe he will have a Josh Giddey role for an NBA team where he is a pass first guard who can score around the rim. That type of player is probably a backup long term on a good team, or a starter on a bad team. At worst though, I think he may be like a team’s old Kyle Lowry on offense, a vocal leader and good playmaker but doesn’t give much scoring. All of this is a little bit scary to think about considering we are talking about a potential top five pick, but it’s his ceiling that keeps him there on a lot of boards. If the scoring develops into what we think it can be, Topic could be a guy who averages 25+ points per game and 10+ assists per game. A super talented player who can run the offense and be a top 2-3 scoring option on a good team. The defense will definitely still be a question mark, but he would be one of these players whose talent on offense would be good enough for teams to still want him desperately. So there are definitely a wide variety of outcomes when it comes to Topic, but I think a lot of them are good, and some of them are really exciting to think about.

NBA comparisons for european players can be tricky because of how different the style of play is in europe, so what I am going to do is talk about some of the most common comparisons for Topic and say what I think about them. By far the most common comparison for Topic is Shai Gilegous-Alexander, and I can definitely understand why people have given this comparison. Topic and Shai have similar play styles in that they both thrive as scorers inside the arch and in isolation. However, there are plenty of differences between the two players that lead me to say this isn’t the best comparison. Both are great ball handlers, but in different ways. Shai is super shifty and is excellent at changing directions while also keeping control of the ball. Topic does have some shiftiness to him, but he is much better at breaking down players with his dribble and blowing by them rather than being this super shifty player. Shai is also a much better defender than Topic is, while Topic has more upside as a passer. So yes, they do have similar playstyles. However, their actual skill sets aren’t all that similar in a lot of different areas. Another comparison I have seen a lot for Topic is LaMelo Ball, and I like this one quite a bit. LaMelo is definitely more flashy than Topic, but both of these guys have very similar skill sets. Both are great passers and drivers, while struggling with defense and inconsistency as a shooter. LaMelo is more athletic and Topic is a smarter player, but there are very few differences between the two players. I think they will start to look a lot more dissimilar once Topic reaches the NBA and hopefully starts to develop some more skills, but as of right now it may be the best modern comparison for Topic. One more that I will talk about quickly is Josh Giddey, which aside from off court issues is a solid comparison. Topic definitely has more upside as a scorer while Giddey has more positional versatility because of his size, but both of these guys' best and core skill is passing. I think it is reasonable to expect Topic to be similar to Giddey in one of his middle to lower end outcomes.

So with all of that being said, where should Topic be drafted, and where will he be drafted? He has the upside to be one of the best players in this draft class, but also has a floor that would likely not warrant him a top 10 selection in a redraft 5-10 years from now. I don’t think his defense will ever be more than below average unless he ends up on the Spurs and they work their development magic once again. That could defer some teams from selecting him with a top pick in the draft. However, his upside is super high and he could be one of the best guards in the league one day. There could be a team that is willing to bet on that and will take him with a top 3 pick. If you were to ask me, I think it is very situational for where Topic should be drafted. I wouldn’t select him with the first pick unless the Spurs or Wizards have it, and even then I think there are better options for both of those teams on the board. However, him falling outside of the top 5 could easily end up being a steal for whoever were to draft him because of his talent and upside on offense. I think a good range for him would be 3-5, maybe 3-6 depending on the draft order. There are enough concerns to keep him from being the top pick in the draft, but also too much upside for him to fall lower than 6 or 7 and not be a steal for the team that would draft him. Now for the fun part, because things look a lot different when you start to think about where he will be drafted. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the #1 overall pick, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he fell to that 7-10 range in the draft. If you look at the current projected lottery, and what it probably will look like at the end of the year, there aren’t a lot of teams that need guards, and only a couple that don’t already have a starting PG for the future or a ton of depth at that position. It is really just the Spurs and the Wizards that may actively look to draft a PG, and potentially the Pelicans if they want to find a future replacement for CJ McCollum. If he falls past both the Wizards and the Spurs, then he may fall quite a bit in the draft barring a trade or a team who doesn’t care and will just draft him because he is the BPA. So I am going to say his actual draft range is 1-10. It is unlikely that he falls all the way to 10, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened. I would expect him to be a top 5-7 pick, but don’t be completely surprised if he falls lower than that.

In conclusion, Topic is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. He has a lot of upside because of his elite playmaking and scoring potential, but also has a lower floor due to questions about his defense and inconsistency as a shooter. I think it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the NBA in his first season. The pace is a lot faster than anything he would have played against before, but I think it could end up helping him as a playmaker in the long run because he’d be surrounded by great athletes. His scoring is going to be the big x-factor into how good he actually ends up being. He needs to be more consistent as a shooter, but his potential as an inside the arch scorer is sky high. Defense is going to be a struggle for him, so he really will need to provide a lot of value on offense if he wants to live up to the top 5 pick hype he has been receiving. Regardless of how his career turns out, I know I will be rooting for him throughout all of it. He is a fun player to watch and seems like a good kid. I hope he has a lot of success in the NBA.


Upsides

• Really good ball handler, he isn’t flashy but has a deep bag he can go to

• Best playmaker in the draft, he has great court vision and is so good at executing on his passes. He is an especially good passer out of the pick and roll

• Really great driver, he has a good first step and is good at handling the ball at high speeds

• Good under the rim finisher, he has soft touch and is good at creating enough space for himself around the rim

• Good mid range shooter, he excels at creating space for himself and he can knock down mid range jumpers relatively consistently

• He has an understanding for the game that 18 year olds just don’t ever seem to have

• He has played well against professional competition, which almost always is a sign that a prospect is going to have a good NBA career


Downsides

• His on-ball defense is not good right now, he struggles to stay in front of players

• His 3-point shooting is inconsistent (though there are some positive signs for his shot to develop in the NBA)

• Not exactly a jump out of the gym athlete


Conclusion

• Nikola Topic is one of the hardest prospects to rank in this draft class. He has all the skills and tools needed to be an elite NBA player, but limitations in areas such as defense and potentially height make it difficult to evaluate him

• Topic’s floor is low, he could be reduced to a lesser TJ McConnell role if his scoring doesn’t translate and his on-ball defense doesn’t improve

• However, he has one of the highest ceilings out of any prospect in this draft class. His elite playmaking ability, scoring upside, and experience give him all the tools needed to be a star in the NBA

Shades of: Goran Dragic, LaMelo Ball, TJ McConnell




Analysis done by @CouchScout. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
jbb
u/jbb

#7

RANK


Topic is a great offensive player. He’s an incredible passer and transition ball handler, and this is where he thrives most. He’s a great ball handler in the half court as well, and I’ve seen him have some nasty crossovers to get to the rim. He has an incredibly quick first step, and that gets him to the rim at will, but his finishing is something to watch, because he hasn’t finished well when I’ve been watching. However, his incredible passing gives him a ceiling as an offensive quarterback and a floor as a connector? His shooting isn’t good, he’s about 30% on the season and his form is shaky, but that can improve with time. I could see him being a point guard or a wing in the nba, he’s a good enough passer to be a PG but might thrive as a slasher and connective passer. His floor is low, and he could struggle to get minutes without a jumper, finishing ability, or defense. His defense is fine, he’s a great athlete who’s in great shape, but he struggles with balance and body positioning and he picks up fouls because of that. They have him full court pressing the opposing teams PG though so that’s a good sign. Topic is an elite passer and has an elite first step and he can turn that skill set into a productive nba player, even without a jumper or great defense

Comp: Tyrese Halliburton without a jumper



Analysis done by @jbb. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
Wiseman
u/gentofxtc

#2

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Analysis done by @gentofxtc. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
UNCjockstrap
u/UNCjockstrap

#3

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Scouting Report: The clear best point guard in the class. A 6ft 7 guard with elite passing and the speed to run a great transition offense. As a passer he can do it all, he’s the best skip passer of any prospect in the last few years and he is great at operating out of the p&r. He drives and kicks to open shooters regularly. He’s very fast and with his quick first step has solid rim pressure. I think his rim pressure right now is slightly overrated he doesn’t attack the basket often but there’s high upside there for sure. As a shooter his 3pt percentage and mechanics aren’t great but there’s reason to believe he can be a good shooter in the future. His free throw percentages are good and he has solid touch around the rim. His on ball defense is his biggest flaw. He isn’t quick laterally and doesn’t recover fast. He is awful at defending change of direction and often is spun around trying to defend quick players. For this reason he isn’t a great matchup against guards but his skinny frame prevents him from being able to guard wings. Hes a solid off ball defender however, he has good screen navigation, doesn’t get caught ball watching, and doesn’t make many errors switching. I think his swing factors are his shooting and driving ability. I don’t believe he has the tools to be a great defender but he has upside to be an elite offensive player



Analysis done by @UNCjockstrap. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
Jack Anderson
u/jda7749

#4

RANK


Tier 1.5 Nikola Topic - Crvena Zvezda / Serbia (PG - HT: 6’6” - WING: 7’0” - WT: )

- Big PG with elite speed with the ball in his hands
- 7’ wingspan as a PG is just too insane to pass up on. Measurables and turnover rate put him ahead of Collier.
- Gets to the rim at will and makes every pass
- Efficient scorer despite a lack of a 3pt game
- Not a good shooter or defender yet, but his positional size and length off-ball can’t be a bad thing
- Shades of Josh Giddey, Tyrese Haliburton without the shooting
- Best fit: Washington, Chicago, Utah, San Antonio
- Worst fit: Detroit, Charlotte, Portland, Toronto

Range: 1-7



Analysis done by @jda7749. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
Dave Tippit
u/davetippit

#3

RANK


Tier 1 - Ceiling:

All-Star, NBA Assist Leader

Nationality

Serbian

Draft Day Age

18.86

Wingspan

7'0

Avg ranking (top 6 NBA draft sites) 3.3

My Jan Ranking 1

++I'm not saying Topic will become any of these players - BUT I do see certain aspects that have shades of these players game++

Josh Giddey

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Manu Ginobili

Encouraging areas that Topic has already shown progression in

Interesting facts about Topic

Stats:

16.4 PPG

60.4 TS% on 11.8 FGA

28.2 3PT% on 4.1 FGA

87.9 FT% on 3.9 FTA

7.2 TRB%

34.8 AST%

1.7 STL%

0.6 BLK%

16.5 TO%

24.5 USG%

120.5 ORTG

108.7 DRTG



Analysis done by @davetippit. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
PHILLY IN CHARGE 🟦
u/SixersinCharge

#5

RANK


Overview: Nikola Topic is a 6'6", 190-pound Serbian point guard/combo guard who's currently lighting up the EuroLeague with KK Crvena zvezda. He's considered a top-five prospect for the 2024 NBA Draft, drawing comparisons to Luka Doncic due to his playmaking ability, size, and scoring prowess. His recent mid-season transfer from KK Mega Basket to Crvena zvezda puts him on a bigger stage against tougher competition, raising his draft stock even further. Strengths:

  • Elite playmaking: Topic has a wizard-like handle and court vision, able to effortlessly dissect defenses and find open teammates. He can thread pinpoint passes off the dribble or from the post, making him a nightmare to contain.

  • Unconventional scoring: While not a pure scorer, Topic can put up points in creative ways. He uses his strong frame to finish through contact, shoots a decent mid-range jumper, and even shows flashes of a developing three-point shot.

  • Size and strength: At 6'6", Topic has good size for a guard, allowing him to see over the defense and rebound over smaller players. He's also deceptively strong, able to absorb contact and finish through bigger defenders.

  • Basketball IQ and leadership: Topic plays with a high basketball IQ and understands the game at a high level. He makes quick decisions, rarely turns the ball over, and often makes the right play before it develops. He can also lead by example on the court, bringing energy and focus to his teammates. Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism: While not slow, Topic doesn't possess the elite athleticism of some top prospects. He might struggle to blow by quicker point guards in the NBA and could rely more on his craftiness and skill to create offense.

  • Three-point consistency: As mentioned, Topic's three-point shot is still a work in progress. He can hit them in stretches, but needs to improve his range and shot selection to become a consistent threat from deep.

  • Experience: Though playing in the EuroLeague now, Topic is still only 18 years old and has limited experience against NBA-caliber talent. He'll need time to adjust to the physicality and pace of the league. Overall: Nikola Topic is a special talent with the potential to be a star in the NBA. He has all the tools to be a successful point guard: playmaking, scoring, size, and leadership. While he needs to work on his athleticism and three-point shooting, his overall skillset and basketball IQ are already impressive. The team that drafts him will be getting a future floor general who can elevate their offense and lead them to success. Additional Notes:

  • Topic was recently called back to Crvena zvezda, the team he grew up supporting, from KK Mega Basket. This move puts him in a higher-pressure environment with more national attention, potentially impacting his draft stock positively.

  • Some scouts consider Topic a better fit as a combo guard than a pure point guard due to his size and scoring ability. He could play alongside another lead guard or utilize his scoring skills off the ball. Overall, Nikola Topic is a must-watch player for the 2024 NBA Draft. He has the talent and potential to be a game-changer at the next level.



Analysis done by @SixersinCharge. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
John Pikiell
u/jpikiell7

#8

RANK


Great offensive feel with great vision and crafty going to the basket. don't love him as a shooter, serious question marks athletically and on the defensive end. Bit of a project. 6'8 Ricky Rubio. Low floor high ceiling.



Analysis done by @jpikiell7. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
Thomas Hielkema
u/sportfanthomas

#3

RANK


Nikola Topic is someone I'm still high on despite the consensus dropping a little bit. I think his playmaking ability is the best in this class, and at the very least will provide a team with a steady ball handler who can run the offense and get others going. Now that's not the ideal #3 player scouting report, but I think that's pretty much the floor for him. His ceiling may not be All NBA, but All Star is 100% doable. What it hinges on his his 3pt shooting. He has very good shot mechanics and is a great FT shooter, he just needs to translate it to the 3pt line.

Defensively he isn't terrific, but there is definitely much worse.At 6'7" he does provide some size at the PG position, and will be a capable defender.

Ceiling: Luka level playmaker and driver, without the step-back Floor: Taller Jones Brother

Ideal Fits:

  1. San Antonio Spurs

  2. Washington Wizards

  3. Utah Jazz



Analysis done by @sportfanthomas. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.
PaoloOwnsYou
u/PaoloOwnsYou

#2

RANK


Topic has been the leading prospect in EuroLeague. He's a strong combo guard with great vision. As one of the younger players in the class, his passing decisions are advanced for his age. He's a creative finisher who usually plays below the rim. He can finish with both hands. About half his shots come at the rim. He can change direction and pace well. A lot of what he does comes out of the PNR. He has good shooting mechanics but it isn't consistent. He has potential as a defender but there are still questions.



Analysis done by @PaoloOwnsYou. View their full  draft big board and scouting reports here.